Sunday, July 27, 2014


Everything is best. Yes, every thing. Now, that’s a strange spiritual truth if ever there was one. Yet, I have found it to be so.

There’s a Zen kōan that goes like this. When Banzan was walking through a market he overheard a conversation between a butcher and his customer. ‘Give me the best piece of meat you have,’ said the customer. ‘Everything in my shop is the best,’ replied the butcher. ‘You cannot find here any piece of meat that is not the best.’ At these words Banzan became enlightened---that is, he 'woke up' and saw things as they really are ... for the very first time.

The great spiritual philosopher J. Krishnamurti, pictured, had this to say about acceptance. 'In the acknowledgement of what is, there is the cessation of all conflict.' It took me years to understand what he was saying. I mean, years. Actually, decades. Yes, decades---and decades of unnecessary suffering, both to myself and others. Yes, whatever is, is best. Why is that so? It’s simple (but not easy). Because whatever is, is what is. And what is is reality, is now. When we resist what is, we suffer---every time. Yes, every goddam time. Resistance is non-acceptance. Resistance is suffering ... and conflict (be it physical, psychological, or whatever). And resistance is living in the past … or in the future. It is anything and everything other than living fully in the present.

Of course, acceptance is never easy---if only we could buy it at a supermarket---but we make the task of acceptance so much harder than we need to. Acceptance is letting go---that is, letting go of all resistance, especially all opinions that stand in the way of a full acceptance of what is. However, before we can let go we must first let be. That's right, we must let be whatever is our present reality. That's not fatalism. Not at all. Before we can change what can be changed we must first ... let be. 

Acceptance is surrender---to what is. And acceptance is faith. Now, by faith I do not mean creedal belief but living with hope, courage and confidence despite appearances to the contrary. Faith is embracing what is, even though we might have hoped for something altogether different. 

And what is hope? Well, hope is not the same thing as having expectations. Indeed, we must get rid of all expectations if we don't want to be constantly disappointed in life. No, hope is a certain mindset that knows---yes, knows---that whatever is, is best. It is a state of mind that is prepared to accept whatever be the outcome in any given fact-situation of life.

‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.’


  1. Thanks again, Ian. This post speaks deeply to me. Found out yesterday that I didn't pass the exam. Family very supportive. At this moment, I want to just let what is 'be' and leave it at that. Have a clear of my next steps, will.start on that in next day or two. But for right now, just be.

  2. I am very sorry to hear this. Cherish what you have and don't make any career decisions until the dust settles. It is okay to feel disappointment and sorrow. It's okay to grieve. Things will be well because you are on a spiritual path. If you are supporting the family, and there is food on the table, etc, then all is well. We can communicate some more privately if you wish. (My email address is shown toward the bottom of this blog.) Take care. You matter.