I confess, regardless of the surge of local hubs that roast and brew some off-the-hook decaf espresso, I continue to frequent Starbucks and have a special appreciation for the Seattle based coffee behemoth. Countless hours I have spent studying and working over my computer at the Bux, or sinking into one of their over-sized chairs with a massive ginger cookie and my books. Part of its early appeal was the free Wifi, a huge draw. I have a warm place in my heart for my virtual Starbucks’ access. Signing onto their network I have come to anticipate the warm welcome on their browser page by what I like to call my Starbucks’ mantra:
Being a student of the Chopra Center I have immersed myself in the teachings of the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. One that has always deeply resonated with me is the Law of Least Effort. There are three components to this principle of “do less and accomplish more.” The first is Acceptance.
Maybe it is the looming federal election, or the past weeks I have been solo with my kids, or it could be the newest evidence of aging I’ve noticed on my face… Each has triggered me in some way. My instinct now when I feel inner conflict brewing is to look to the Seven Spiritual Laws for insight. So here I am with Acceptance, letting it percolate.
The premise of Acceptance is to make a commitment each day, to decide: “today I will accept people, situations, circumstances, and events as they occur.” In short, Acceptance is a commitment to say “yes.” The Law of Least Effort teaches us that committing to Acceptance means we release resistance to whatever is showing up for us at the moment believing that this moment is precisely as it should be because the entire Universe is as it should be.
Stop right now and take stock: this very moment is the culmination of every moment, every choice, leading up to it. To struggle against it, as so many of us do, is pointless and yet can consume an inordinate amount of our energy. So, what happens when we let go of the struggle and instead commit to Acceptance? We release our inner resistance and without resistance we can access the creative genius otherwise available to us in every moment. Sip on that one. This tastes inspired, doesn’t it? But, there is more…
Acceptance, as I understand it, asks us to show up. There is nothing passive about it. Acceptance is an active choice to take responsibility for what is going down in our lives. First, we make a decision to look at what is in front of us. This means that we do not shy away from or deny what is staring us in the face – whether we are acknowledging what is before us on the political stage of our country, or whether we are looking at what is taking place inside our own homes and hearts. Sometimes it’s rosy and sometimes it’s grey.
Acceptance begins by seeing it all. Seeing it all and acknowledging - owning - that the reaction rising within us is not a response to the person or circumstance we are facing, but to our feelings and conceptions about the person or situation. Through first Accepting we can then begin to take responsibility for what we are seeing and experiencing. Taking responsibility implies our ability to have an appropriate response. We can accept the present as it is and still choose for things to be different in the future.
Every challenge in our lives urges us to revisit our vision for our future. Every stumbling block and every unforeseen turn in the road has inherent within it an opportunity to exercise our ability to respond in new and inspired ways. Life calls us to get tuned in, tapped in, and turned on to every holy moment presented to us – and they’re all holy. All that is required is the tiniest shift in perception - one that through Acceptance,opens us up to fresh interpretations of reality and ways of Connecting.
In my own life this means that I accept the Canadian political system as it is today and I am taking responsibility, choosing to respond, by voting on Monday. It means that I stop judging myself and my kids and my spouse and instead accept our differences, honing my ability to respond by finding the value in our distinct personalities. It means that when my body starts sending me cues I welcome these with an attitude of gratitude and respond by honouring it – fewer hours in the sun and more hours of sun salutations.
This is the practice. In each moment life invites us to wake up and smell the coffee.