Saturday, April 21, 2012


The great thing about mindfulness is this---it makes acceptance the foundation of all that happens and presents itself as one’s consciousness and moment-to-moment experience. Choiceless awareness of what is---that is just another form of acceptance.

I am sick-and-tired of hearing people say, ‘I need closure, and I can’t have closure unless or until …’ I hear someone say this almost every day. Closure, closure, closure. Where did this silly idea come from? Pop psychology? It is certainly not rooted in sound spirituality---nor in sound psychology for that matter. One of the sad things about the loss of traditional religion is that pop psychology---often of a very silly and even dangerous kind---has rushed in to fill the void. Some of what we are told to do is absolute crap---more silly than some of the pastoral 'advice' dispensed by old-time preachers. (I am not one of the latter. I am too much of a heretic to qualify as one.)

A husband and wife lose their daughter. Let’s say she is brutally murdered. A man is apprehended and charged with the murder of the daughter. He is tried, convicted and sentenced to several years imprisonment. The parents say, ‘Now that we finally have closure, we can move on.’ Rubbish! Dishonest! They will never move on. What they really wanted was 'justice,' vengeance and retribution. It had always been possible for them to move on, right from day one---if they had wanted to, but they have handed over their power to others. Yes, some things take time, but acceptance---true acceptance---is always unconditional. It is a willing acceptance of things as they are---even in a hopelessly broken state. Listen to these wonderful words from the ‘Big Book’ of Alcoholics Anonymous:

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation---some fact of my life---unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

Note those words---‘unless I could accept life completely on life’s terms.’ That means accepting life as is---warts and all. Note also the words, ‘I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.’ Again, that means accepting life as is.

What is ‘closure’? I will tell you. It is ‘acceptance’ subject to conditions (eg vengeance, retribution, change). When things change---hopefully for the better---then I will be able to accept what has happened, and move on. Rubbish? Accept things as they are now. At the risk of repeating myself, acceptance---true acceptance---is unconditional. You accept things as they are now. Period. You don't wait until things change.

Life is hard---bloody hard, at times. I know that to be true---personally. I am not one to dispense cheap optimism. Acceptance is never easy. I think acceptance involves a strong element of forgiveness---that is, we forgive ourselves, other people, life itself, even God, for things being bad and lousy. Then, we let go---absolutely and unconditionally.

Those who want, or are otherwise waiting, for so-called closure find it hard to let go and forgive---especially the latter. The want acceptance, after a fashion, but they also want to hold on to their pain, their anger, their resentment, and their bitterness. Like Lot’s wife, they are constantly looking back at the dreadful thing that happened to them. Like Lot’s wife, they will be turned into a pillar of salt---unless they 'wake up.' Yes, these people will have absolutely no serenity whatsoever until they accept, forgive and let go---absolutely and unconditionally. These people will never truly get the ‘closure’ they are seeking---because there is no such thing as closure, at least not in the sense they are using the term.

You see, closure is not something that happens to you---if you wait long enough, and are 'lucky.' That's the problem with the 'conventional wisdom' with respect to closure. It shifts the responsibility for getting better from oneself to others or to circumstances outside oneself ('conditions' or 'situations'). No, you alone are responsible for effecting due and proper closure---that is, unconditional acceptance---and it happens instantaneously and immediately when you accept things as they are. But first you must be willing for that to happen. Ah, there's the rub! You must want your freedom more than you want to hold on to your pain, anger, resentment and bitterness. It's a choice, and an act of the will---although no so-called 'will power' is involved or required. You make a decision that enough is enough---that it's time to let go and move on. Your whole life depends upon it. It's crunch time.

So, forget all about so-called 'closure.' You don’t need it. It is bad psychology and even worse spirituality. Just accept life completely on life's terms, draw a line in the sand---and move on!




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