By cyclistmike On February 19, 2016
The perfect world is rich. Rich in lessons, challenges, dares, hopes, optimism and pitfalls. As human beings we have a unique opportunity to interact and immerse ourselves in it’s depth. This challenge is one of bravery. Complete gratitude involves exposing ourselves completely and fully to the environment. Such appreciation is the kind of an open heart. Maintaining such an open heart is difficult, for with an open heart one can be stung. This is why we must train ourselves in the art of gratitude.
We can look around our world and miss the little lessons. We could compare ourselves to others and try and appreciate what we have relative to someone else. This is a sort of gratitude, but it falls short of absolute appreciation. Sadly this type of gratitude is what we commonly think of as appreciation. Speaking to westerners, one might visit a third world country and feel gratitude for having a better quality of life. That’s a little one dimensional. It’s completely dependent on bad things existing. Feeling better in this sense is needing someone who feels worse. Kind of pathetic. This is not to say we should sequester ourselves to discover appreciation. We could learn about the human aspect of appreciation. How is it that people in a third world country are appreciative of what they have? We could wonder, if they are happy because they see animals worse off then themselves? Of perhaps they know the terribleness of life and are content with what they have. We could really benefit from learning how people manifest gratitude in even destitute situations. The human spirit and human dignity are not limited to shiny clean situations, interestingly enough in completely sanitized situations the human spirit finds it much harder to manifest. When a person is isolated from personal hardship, there is no need of spirit to be present. Gratitude as a tool to connect with the environment is seemingly unnecessary, at least for the moment. So briefly, and this can happen quite quickly, a person forgets to be grateful, and becomes consumed with accumulation and preservation – often in a rather aggressive way.
Complete gratitude is so much more simple. With gratitude at it’s completed stage we don’t need to work at changing our world, we don’t even need to manipulate good situations our way, or steer bad things away. When gratitude is complete i is absolute contentment! We could be so grateful, that we form an intimate connection with the world through appreciation and awareness. We could even let challenge encourage our practice of gratitude. It’s possible that we don’t need to struggle to be appreciative.
Accommodation comes a close second to gratitude in the natural hierarchy. Gratitude comes first and encourages us to open up the world for grace. When we’re grateful, we want to keep the space open, so we can continue to be joyful. So gratitude is like seeing something and liking it. Accommodation is like creating the space for this thing we like to flourish. This is space, it’s going to be different for all of us. With gratitude as the precursor, we gently maintain the space. This is accommodation, which is a slightly more active part of grace. Grace which starts as gratitude, comes from the human heart and mind. It’s powerful but it isn’t an active thing out in the world. Gratitude, just like grace needs space. This is where accommodation plays in quite importantly. Accommodation is the passive aspect of maintaining an environment for gratitude to flourish. It’s like an open grassy field, an invitation to children to be themselves and frolic within a meadow. Accommodation in it’s purest sense is freedom. It’s not a fenced in yard with a lawyer standing in the front of a line of children than want to frolic. Although that’s something that happens too in the name of accommodation. Just the name mind you, it’s not really accommodating. Such things happen out of nervousness and fear, rather than joy or gratitude. Matter of factly we have grown very comfortable lining our children up in front of ‘release of liability forms.’ We ourselves have grown comfortable with the world lacking gratitude, and we often take shelter in the ‘things’ of the world, rather than take refuge in grace. For some reason we’ve stopped trusting God, and that name has become a justification rather than a reality. Though I am more comfortable talking about grace it must be said that, if we are reliant on ‘human’ security measures, to protect our material valuables, we not actually exercising much trust in grace, we’re not really honoring god either. Sadly it’s almost like living in fear of both! Imagine someone telling you you had to get on a plane without it being searched for terrorists! Allah akbar! (God is great!) If God is real there is nothing to fear. Because gratitude is real, it is possible that we might not fear. It’s possible to triumph over terror!
Accommodation is like the interlude between the two, it provides the framework for us to be without fear and more trusting of spirit, rather than trapped in a fear of the unknown. The unknown is spirit. As we provide ourselves and loved one’s accommodation. We both grow, as accommodation is like fertilizer for a garden, honoring or appreciating the gratitude that is growing. It’s a very personal experience, letting our judgements rest in gratitude. We have all sorts of thoughts about things needing to be this way or that way. If we decide to embody grace, grace doesn’t judge! It’s just there, accommodating, nurturing, loving. The first stages of accommodation naturally happen after the experience of living gratitude. In it’s conception it’s a purely personal experience, it’s really hard having accommodation for others when we’re busy judging and condemning ourselves. So we start personally. Just sitting with your own thoughts, not judging them. Abiding peacefully, practicing appreciation of the simplicity of self love. It’s the most powerful thing we can do. So many people chase to find happiness, but it’s not there, like a shadow, one cannot grasp happiness. So we abide instead in the accommodation of grace, or if we want to get really crazy we could abide in grace itself! First however we must concentrate on the basics. With the state of the world so wrapped up in it’s polarities, we have to make accommodation a practice.
Accommodation is the creation of unconditioned space. The accommodation we are speaking of today is that of the mind. Quite often we speed up, one thing happens right after another. However when the mind is completely absorbed in the actions of the situation and taken immediately from one situation into another, there will likely be a failure in continuity of accommodation. It’s quite difficult for appreciation to flourish at 100mph, unless we’re trained racer drivers it’s much easier to worry (if we’re normal people).
This is not such a big problem immediately, and is not much of a problem at all for a person who has mastered the art of accommodating situations. However for us, such errors add up. The errors add up and take more and more space from the situation. This is where we get in trouble speeding. An individual not educated in the way of accommodation has been socially conditioned to speed up. This vary’s in person to person, but the cycle remains the same. This lack of (self) accommodation creates a spiral, or cycle, where the continual and habitual speed keeps dragging the individual back into a claustrophobic situation.
We want to look into the ground, the basis of the situation, and create openness. This openness is ultimate kindness, it’s appreciation! It’s the kindness of unconditional confidence. Nothing needs to be changed for gratitude. Such grace happens naturally, as individuals practice accommodation.
Confidence comes in as we become personally committed to grace. If accommodation were the feminine aspect of grace, confidence is the masculine aspect. Both are born out of gratitude. This is a very important point. We’re not talking about turning ourselves into soldiers fighting demons, or building armies of ‘light.’ This is more personal, much more personal. Through the practice of gratitude, real heartfelt gratitude we become the gentle accommodating field. We become the human existence of the earth mother and we want very much that our children play within the beautiful field of our existence. Such gratitude has no need for a lawyer at the gate, and even less need for requirements to participate. Accommodation just happens! There’s no rules, just kindness, and it is the same with gratitude. They may need certain provisions to happen, but they naturally happen regardless if the words they are spelt with have their i’s dotted or not. Personally we all could be the loving field of compassion for our children (all of them!) to play within. We could even be so brave to provide a loving field for our peers, parents and loved ones. Here’s where it gets really interesting.
It’s the most loving thing we could do for anyone. To be grateful and take curiosity for someone else’s existence is incredibly powerful. Learning about someone and simply accommodating the person they are is acting as an instrument of grace, quite close to the godhead. It’s what fancy people do. More commonly in our world we run into conditioned behaviors. This could be anything! It’s basically confusion that’s tied a correlation to a cause and is hanging onto that relationship for dear life. We run into people that think we should have a fence up around our beautiful field. A lot of people think about the world like this. Such people have a fence up around their field, and live in a treehouse fortress in the middle. Naturally they let people in, and out, but they do so with a pretense of control. Nothing bad happens inside the yard, under their watch! But they will tell you it could, and would happen if they took their fence down. Perhaps there’s some justification for their behavior, but it’s so dull and lifeless! It is so much more joyful to invite friends in, to come and go and watch the children play. For those of us that dare uncage grace and watch the beautiful play, we run into people that we will make uncomfortable.
We might even really unsettle a person like that. It’s possible to be a ‘good’ person with a fenced in yard. We can recognize that. Such a good person probably goes to church, believes in god, keeps his or her affairs in order, pays his bills on time and keeps a clean house. Those are excellent things and should not be put down at all. However it could all be done in the name of the spirit, rather than the body. We’re trying to connect here with the body of life, and that can be very unsettling to discover missing.
This is why all we are is a gentle field of joy. Sometimes fanatics try and crusade, tearing down peoples fences, like the good little no-thinking soldiers they are. Such individual actions are merely a reflection of an internal state. Walled off and at war! We don’t want war. We are very confident that we don’t want war. We might even fall in love with our freedom. When we truly fall in love with our gratitude and accommodation then we become truly brave. Interestingly the provision of accommodation happens naturally in the presence of bravery. Here we are not talking about the bravery of a firefighter running into a burning house, or a soldier on the battlefield. The confidence we are talking about is much more plain, yet all the more brilliant for it’s achievement. The confidence of grace is complete reliance on the internal human factors. This is absolute bravery, something we are all capable of. It’s amazing that we have the possibility of unconditioning our confidence.
With such confidence, one is able to relate to our neighbors behind their sharp fences. We delight in their silliness, and only flinch mildly when they tell us sharply, we should build fences too! Brave grace is the best reaction one could have to such conditioned fear. With such confidence one does not attack fear, but a crazy person might tease it. There is no need to attack, because the foundation gratitude and acommodation been built and has been found reliable. Unlike life, it cannot be taken away! Fear may try to creep in but there is nothing except gratitude for it to grasp! The foundation stands, the ground exists with and without fear, and the fear of fear has no space to reside. This is the essential accommodation and appreciation of all things. Fear exists, death exists, bad things exist, that’s okay. We will never change that, however we could be brave enough to accommodate these factors as conditions of our existence. This requires tremendous bravery, which as we practice, we bring the essence of fear (things not happening the way we want(losing ‘happiness’)) more and more into our perspective. Eventually we begin to see the fear clearly as it is. This is a tremendously powerful moment psychologically.
This wonderful occurrence can be found at all levels. We are familiar with adrenaline junkies, basically people that hunt their fear, by finding incredibly difficult situations and participating in them. This is a gross example, as we spiritually mature, we may keep jumping out of planes, but the point is that as we spiritually mature the driving force of fear becomes more and more subtle, until it vanishes completely.
We’re not going to stop our car and throw fear out the window. Not unlike jumping out of a plane, fear keeps us from doing unreasonable things. It is a specific mechanism, and has done miracles in preserving us to reach where we are today. How are we alive and can communicate? It’s wonderful. We are not trying to kill it today, we are learning about it with a clear mind. As we study such psychological occurrences we can see similarities to skydiving. For instance fear and nervousness often keep us conservative, starting a new business and following dreams are prevented by fear and rightly so – maybe we’re not ready to jump! It could be like jumping out of the plane without the parachute on… However one familiar with the situation knows that proper preparation, building a foundation like any good skydiver would, at ground school, allows amazing circumstances, and the ability to confront our fear in a very healthy way.
This is the dawn of unconditional confidence.