Last week, I shared a starting list of my favorite teachings from ten of the world’s most followed religions. Soon, I’ll write at length as to why I felt impelled to put together this list. For now I will say that stating this list in no way lays claim to having mastered it. In fact, the list is more of an earnest approach to the messages contained therein.
According to the impartial laws of alphabetical order, Buddhism comes first. It is hard to pick just one lesson from this faith as a favorite. Finally, I selected “acceptance” because the way Buddhism undertakes it is genius.
A podcast I like called “Secular Buddhism” explains Buddhist acceptance by comparing it to a game of Tetris. Sometimes the game throws a helpful column, other times a maddening zig-zag. But, what’s the point of yelling at the game? Plant the pain-in-the-ass shape where it will cause the least harm and focus on what’s next. Eventually, a cube will drop.
Acceptance is not giving up; it is not submission. Rather, it is non-reaction to adverse situations so that energy can be fixated on the fixing, and not on the vexing.
Acceptance is not defeat; it is a distancing from hyperbolic emotionality. Acceptance, of the Buddhist variety, is extremely hard-earned, almost impossible to master.
Buddhism doesn’t preach fulfillment via vicar, temple or alms, but via transformation of the self, a process that is choked if the self is too busy yelling at the game.