BELOVED MASTER, WHAT IS TOTAL ACCEPTANCE?
Q: WHAT IS TOTAL ACCEPTANCE?
Milarepa, the very word total acceptance has somewhere in it the shadow of non-acceptance. Total acceptance has been preached because people are living in total rejection; whatever happens to them, they are bound to find something wrong in it.
It is something very important to understand that all our so-called religious qualities are reactions.
People are violent – we create a reaction, and a philosophy of teaching nonviolence comes out of it.
A man who has been violent may become intellectually convinced that it is not right. He may even strive to become nonviolent, but his nonviolence will also carry the same violent attitude.
And this is not only true about ordinary people; even people like Mahatma Gandhi, who became the apostle of nonviolence, carried a deep-rooted violence all his life. I will give you few examples so that you can understand….
Mahatma Gandhi was against everything that has been developed by technology, science, and man’s intelligence, after the spinning wheel. With the spinning wheel, history stops for him. Now, nobody can see directly why this should be violent. But if man stops with the spinning wheel, almost one tenth of the population of the world will die. Certainly Gandhi is not proposing the death of one
tenth of humanity, but that is the implication. And those who remain will be undernourished, hungry, starving, without enough shelter. And all this is covered with a beautiful word – “nonviolence.”
In his own life, Mahatma Gandhi was as violent a man as you can find. His eldest son, Haridas, wanted to be educated and Gandhi was against anything that has come from the West. Now this very attitude is antagonistic; it is not the attitude of a compassionate man. The compassionate man, the man of love, knows only one world. And the measure he took against Haridas was this: he said, “If you want to be educated, you will never see my face again.” Do you see any nonviolence in it?
He closed the doors to Haridas. In India, it is the tradition that when the father dies, the eldest son gives the fire to his funeral pyre. Haridas was not allowed. Gandhi had made it clear: “Either living or dead, I have nothing to do with Haridas.” And what was his crime? – just that he wanted to be educated!
Gandhi had very fanatic ideas, and fanatic ideas don’t go together with nonviolence. Everybody had to clean the toilet… and when I say clean the toilet you should not understand the Western toilet – the Indian toilet is the ugliest, the dirtiest. He forced his wife to share the cleaning of his ashram’s toilets. She could not understand it. She refused. But Gandhi said, “If you refuse, then this is not your house and I am not your husband.” This is suitable to a dictatorial, unloving, violent person, but not to a loving person.
Once, at a train station, Haridas was hiding in the crowd; Gandhi was passing by on the train and Haridas just wanted to see his father’s face from far away, his mother’s face – he won’t allow himself to come close. But Gandhi was informed by his followers that Haridas was waiting at the coming station. All the windows, all the doors of the compartment were closed, and Gandhi told his weeping wife, “You stop your tears, because they show that you are not with me but with Haridas.”
And what crime had Haridas done? He simply became educated in a contemporary way. And there are so many instances in Gandhi’s life in which he is utterly violent, but the umbrella of “nonviolence”
You are asking, Milarepa, “What is total acceptance?” The first thing to remember: either acceptance is total or it is not acceptance. “Total acceptance” shows that you have repressed something deep into your unconscious and to keep it repressed, you are using your total force.
Acceptance should be simple.
It should be spontaneous; it should not be out of a certain ideology. It should be out of your understanding. Then there is no question of total or untotal acceptance.
A clarity of vision will show you either acceptance or non-acceptance. But “total acceptance” has never been looked into deeply – why the emphasis on “total”? The emphasis is because it is a repressive measure; you have not understood it. Hence the same things exist in many dimensions:
total abstinence, total celibacy, total surrender. I hate the word total! Look into your ordinary way of life … do you say to some woman, “I love you totally”? Just to love is enough, more than total. The moment you insist, “I love you totally,” it creates suspicion. You are trying to hide something behind the great word “total.”
Acceptance is beautiful, but “total acceptance” is not. Acceptance means it is arising out of your own awareness, not out of the teachings, scriptures and so-called masters roaming all around the world.
It is your own understanding. In fact, when it is your own understanding, even the word ‘acceptance’ becomes futile.
This moment – this silence, the birds in the trees, the sunrays reaching to you – is there any question of acceptance? It is simply happening. It is not a theoretical mind discipline. You are not sitting here with a forced discipline. You are sitting here in this enormous silence without any effort. It is so beautiful that any effort will destroy it.
Let me repeat it in another way:
Do you love with effort? Are you compassionate with effort? Are you living with effort, breathing with effort? Is there any effort in your heartbeats?
Just the same way, the whole of life becomes a spontaneous flow. Your perceptivity, your clarity decides which direction to move. But there is no effort, because effort implies you are divided – one part of you is trying to take you in one direction, another part is trying to take you in another direction. Then comes the effort. Only schizophrenic humanity lives with effort.
I don’t know any effort in my life. And I cannot conceive that a man of effort can ever be in tune with existence. With whom are you fighting? Effort is a fight.
I don’t give you any discipline, I don’t give you any commandments. I don’t want you to be anyone else than you are. It is perfectly beautiful the way you are. The day you understand it…
No trees are making any effort. Small bushes are perfectly happy with being small. Tall cedars of Lebanon are perfectly happy with their tallness, but there is no comparison; they don’t look at the small bushes as inferior – that is their spontaneity, that is how they are. In this relaxedness comes a shadow, silently, without even making any sound of footsteps – acceptance.
But I don’t like the word, because “acceptance” means that something in you is not accepting – maybe it is a minority part. To repress that minority part, you bring total acceptance.
A young man came to me some twenty years ago and said, “I want to totally surrender to you.” I said, “Then you have knocked on the wrong door – go back. The day there is no idea of total and there is no idea of surrender, my doors are open to you. I will rejoice in you as you are – not pruning your branches, molding you into a certain ideal.” But all the so-called religions of the world have been doing the same. They are asking of you only one thing: “Don’t be yourself, be somebody else.”
Just the other day, I was talking to Deva Amrito. I told him, “These should be the last words in your pilgrimage, in your seeking for the truth…” His book is going to be called YEARS OF PREPARATION. That gives a dangerous meaning: it means you are moving to achieve something, to become something. There is a certain ideal, far away – you would like to be a Gautam Buddha, a Bodhidharma, a Chuang Tzu or a Jesus Christ. The figure may not be very clear, but there is some faraway star that you are striving to reach. I told him, “These are my words, and should be put in quotation marks: All these years of preparation were futile. You are exactly the same as you have always been.”
But there are types… people like me are very lazy. I know that this is my place; I don’t go running around and then come to this seat. YEARS OF PREPARATION – and to achieve something you have always been? And you cannot achieve anything that you have not always been.
He told me – he is a very nice heart, very childish and very loving – “I am disillusioned with money, with power, with love, with relationships…”
I said, “You have to be disillusioned about one thing more.”
He looked at me – “What else is there to be disillusioned about?”
I said to him, “This is the last disillusionment, this striving to become someone. You are it. Now be disillusioned that all your pilgrimage has been an exercise in utter futility. You have been standing in the same place and only dreaming of preparations. And if your years of preparation have not brought you to this disillusionment, they have been in vain.”
Everybody enters the world searching, seeking; it is in a way natural. But maturity comes when you realize, “My God, I am the one whom I have been seeking!” So the title of his book will look a little strange to the person when he comes to my conclusion in the end. Years of preparation for what?
To know that there was no need of any preparation.
Milarepa, I also told Amrito about a tremendously beautiful pack of cards that existed in China, in the days of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu. It has ten cards describing the search, the pilgrimage. Those ten cards are called The Ten Bulls of Zen. In the first picture, the bull is lost. And naturally, the owner is looking all around, thick forest, and he cannot see his lost bull.
In the second picture he finds footprints; now he has some clue. In the third picture he sees the bull – not completely, but just his tail – by the side of a huge tree. But now things are becoming more certain. In the fourth picture he sees half of the bull.
In the fifth picture he has found the bull in its completeness. In the sixth picture he holds the bull by the horns. In the seventh picture he is riding home on the bull. In the eighth picture the bull is put in his place, and in the ninth picture the man is sitting outside his house, playing a flute.
When these ten pictures were transferred to Japan, they cut out the last picture. They accepted only nine pictures. What more is there? You have come home, you are playing the flute, everything is beautiful. That which was lost has been found.
But when I looked at the tenth picture I said, “These people got stuck at the ninth. The tenth is the most important.” But it went against their ideological, religious, moral training. The tenth picture is:
the man is going towards the marketplace with a bottle of wine. The buddha has now really come home.
Unless a buddha becomes absolutely ordinary, it is still an ego trip. To be as ordinary as the trees, as the birds, as the animals, as the mountains – no bragging about any spirituality, because even the bragging about spirituality is nothing but a very subtle ego trip…
It hurts me to say to you that Gautam Buddha declared, “I am the only enlightened man in the whole history of man. My enlightenment will never be superseded” – this is the ninth picture. The same was the situation with J. Krishnamurti; he could never get out of the ninth picture. He could not become what he has always been.
Mind’s ways are very cunning. It will become the richest man, it will become the most powerful man, it will become the “most” of anything. But it has to be on the top. It will be difficult for you if you find a Buddha in a pub, but that is the right place. He has come home, he has accepted his natural spontaneity.
Don’t ask, Milarepa, about total acceptance – ask rather about more clarity, more spontaneity, more naturalness, and acceptance will come just like a shadow. You don’t have to bother about it.
Paddy is a private in the British army during World War II. One day, the general calls him to his tent and says, “Private Murphy, you have been chosen for a very special mission. You will be parachuted at night behind the enemy lines, where you will be met by a jeep. And the driver will give you your orders.”
So that night, Paddy goes up in the plane. They are approaching the enemy lines when Paddy turns to his officer and says, “But sir, I have never parachuted. What should I do?”
“Don’t worry,” replies the officer. “All you do is jump. Then three seconds later look up and you will see your parachute open. If it does not, just pull your emergency cord and your second parachute will open. When you land, the jeep will be there to meet you.”
“Okay,” says Paddy, and jumps out of the plane. Three seconds later he looks up, but nothing happens. So he pulls the emergency cord and still nothing happens. “My God,” says Paddy as he rushes towards the ground. “And I bet that bloody jeep won’t be there either!”
Life is, intrinsically, a tremendous acceptance without your knowing. Have you accepted your eyes totally? Have you accepted your body totally? Have you accepted your situation in life totally? This idea of total acceptance imposed on you makes you miserable, because it continuously creates comparison. Somebody has more beautiful eyes and somebody has a stronger body. Somebody is more knowledgeable. And you are always feeling inferior and this inferiority goes on eating your heart. You become more and more miserable, but the reason is that you have unnecessarily created it. There is no need to compare, because there is nobody you can be compared with.
You are a unique individual. And whatever you are, that’s the way existence wants you to be. Enjoy it.
Change the word ‘acceptance’, because that is not very blissful. Acceptance is something that you have to do, what else to do. There are more beautiful people, there are richer people, there are stronger people, what to do? Accept.
I don’t teach you acceptance in that way. My idea of acceptance is totally different from all religions.
I declare your uniqueness.
You are just yourself and there is not a single person – either in the present or in the past or in the future – who is exactly like you.
Existence gives you such a unique individuality – rejoice in it. And out of that rejoicing, acceptance will come; that is not to be bothered about. I have never felt that I have to become somebody. If existence wants me to be nobody, I am immensely happy.
In my childhood, my teachers used to say, “You will end up being nobody.” And they were right! I have ended up as nobody. But I am immensely happy, and all those teachers who have been trying to be somebody are all miserable.
Once in a while I used to go to my village and ask them how things were going…”because I am feeling so good being nobody, and you always look miserable.”
Once you start rejoicing whatever you are, life takes such psychedelic colors, your each moment becomes so juicy… your whole life becomes a celebration.
Milarepa, drop those ideas of total acceptance. Why should you accept? It is a very depressing idea that “I accept myself.” Rejoice! dance! sing! let the whole world know that you are alone and unique and nobody can replace you. To me, this is the way of an authentic search of oneself. There is no comparison – there is no need.
You may be surprised to know that even the so-called great men of your history were all suffering from inferiority. Napoleon Bonaparte was not tall enough, he was only five feet five. And that tortured him all his life. His guards were taller than him. One day he was fixing a picture in his bedroom but he could not reach it. A bodyguard said, “Wait, I am higher than you, I can fix it.” Napoleon Bonaparte was very angry. He said, “Change your word ‘higher’. Simply say you are taller!” What is the difference? The difference is, “higher” hits hard; you are inferior, lower. Say “taller” – that takes much of the pain away.
But I have always wondered: I am exactly five-five, and I have never felt any inferiority. You may be seven feet tall – that does not mean that my feet do not reach to the earth. And as far as the sky is concerned, neither you reach nor I reach! So the only decisive factor is: if your feet can reach to the earth, it is perfectly good.
But it is not only about one man…. Abraham Lincoln was not a very beautiful man; moreover, he stuttered and he was very much conscious of it because a presidential candidate stuttering, not looking beautiful, has not much chance in America. Just a small girl suggested to him, “Uncle, if you grow a little beard that will give a more beautiful shape to your face.” According to that small girl’s suggestion, he grew the beard. Abraham Lincoln did not succeed in being the president, the beard succeeded! But his whole life he was harassed, haunted by the idea – “What to do with stuttering?”
He felt inferior to ordinary people.
You will find, as a great psychological insight, that all politicians are born out of an inferiority complex.
Because that inferiority is such a wound, they want to prove to the world that they are not inferior: “I am the president, I am the prime minister.” Any man who is happy with himself will be the last to join the line of politicians in the gutter.
The day humanity is rejoicing in itself politicians will disappear, religions will disappear, saints will disappear, so-called moralists will disappear. These are ugly people who are trying to hide their inferiority by becoming something – at least pretending something. They are all hypocrites. And a world without saints, without politicians, without priests, without the so-called learned people, will be such a peaceful world – as peaceful as a garden full of flowers, as peaceful as this morning. There is no need for any war, there is no need for any nations. There is no need for anybody to pretend to be higher, there is no need for anybody to suffer a wound of inferiority.
My whole approach is to make each individual as authentic as he is intended by nature to be, and all the problems of the world will disappear. There is no other way; these problems are created by schizophrenics, neurotics, psychotics… all kinds of madmen are posing as the richest, as the most powerful.
Just see a simple thing: in America, there are thirty million people dying on the streets because they don’t have food, they don’t have clothes, they don’t have shelter. And exactly the same number – thirty million people – are dying in hospitals because they eat too much, and they cannot stop stuffing themselves continually. They have been forced to be hospitalized, because in their homes it is impossible to control them.
It is a strange situation. Exactly thirty million people are dying because of starvation and thirty million people are dying because of overeating. Just a small understanding, and sixty million people can be saved. Both are suffering. A hospital is not the place to live nor is the street a place to live. And I take this example from America because America pretends to be the richest country, but I don’t see that it has yet become even psychologically normal. The same is being repeated in other countries on a vaster scale. It seems we are dominated by a certain madness.
All that is needed is to drop this madness.
The richest man in the world is in Japan… he has twenty-one billion dollars. The richest man in America has only four and a half billion dollars. But can you understand a man having twenty-one billion dollars – what is he going to do with it? It is absurd. And millions of people are dying. Ethiopia is facing again another famine which will be greater than the past one. In the past famine one thousand people were dying every day. In the coming one perhaps two thousand, three thousand people will be dying. And in the European Common Market, every six months they go on drowning so much food in the ocean – mountains of butter – just the cost of drowning it comes to two billion dollars. It is not the cost of the foodstuff, it is the cost of carrying the food to the ocean. And just by the side, in Ethiopia people don’t have water to drink, people don’t have food to eat.
The situation has fallen so low that in Palestine the government was forced by the people to agree that they should be allowed to eat human bodies – of course of those who had died naturally. But this is the beginning… what is the problem if somebody has not died naturally, but has committed suicide, has hanged himself? The difference is not much. And what is the problem if you can get hold of some Israeli? It is a simple question, whether to eat the dead man first or to first make him dead and then eat. For the first time in history, a government has accepted that it is no longer a crime. And this is about human beings eating human beings. What about animals?
If you look around the world it seems to be a madhouse. But the mad people are in the majority, and the maddest of them are chosen to be the presidents, to be the prime ministers, naturally.
It happened in a madhouse. The old superintendent doctor was retiring and the new doctor was going to take charge. They celebrated the occasion in order to give a farewell to the retiring doctor and to give a welcome to the person who was coming in. When the old doctor was speaking, everybody was silent – no emotions, no expression, no clapping, no laughter, as if no one was there. But when the new doctor started speaking, a tremendous change happened. People were clapping, shouting, jumping, laughing. The new doctor could not understand – what is the matter?
He asked his assistant, “What is happening?”
He said, “I should not say it but I cannot hide it either. The mad people think you look more like them. You are the right person; the older one was a little too sane.”
If man accepts whatever he is and uses his capacities for creativity – and everybody is born with certain capacities, certain talents, a certain creativity – he will be immensely happy in being nobody.
You don’t have to be happy only if you become the richest man or the most powerful man. These are the childish ways of primitive man which we have carried up to now.
Milarepa, I would like to say to you: drop the words “total acceptance.” Instead, replace them with the simple words, rejoicing in yourself. And the moment you rejoice in yourself, the whole existence rejoices in you. You have fallen in tune with the harmonious dance that is going on all around.
Only man has fallen apart, and the reason he has fallen apart is because he wants to be somebody special. If you want to be special, you will have to accept some kind of madness.
A psychoanalyst was asked, “I have heard many times these words ‘neurotic’… ‘psychotic’… but I don’t see what is the difference?”
The psychoanalyst said, “The difference is very delicate. The psychotic thinks that two and two make five, and he is fanatically determined about it. Nobody can change his mind.”
The man asked, “What about the neurotic?”
He said, “The neurotic is one who knows that two and two are four, but is very uneasy about it.”
Delicate differences…. Unless you rejoice in whatever you are, wherever you are, whoever you are, you are not sane. According to me the definition of sanity is a man rejoicing in his nature.
Just not to leave you serious….
A Chinese laundryman living in San Francisco opens a savings account at the bank and goes regularly to deposit his profits.
After several months he has saved up a considerable sum. One day, he comes into the bank and says that he wants to withdraw all his money. The clerk is surprised, so the Chinaman explains that he is about to get married and go on his honeymoon. The manager is called and tries to persuade the man to just withdraw enough for his immediate requirements. He also explains that if he takes out all his money, he will lose the interest. But the Chinaman will not be persuaded and so eventually he walks out with all his money.
A few weeks later, the bank manager meets the Chinaman on the street and asks him about his honeymoon and married life. The Chinaman has only this to say:
“No good. Honeymoon and married life are just like banking – put in, take out, lose interest.”
Yes, Beloved Master.