These are some statements by Nisargadatta Maharaj on the topic of acceptance…piggy backing on the last post here on Radical Acceptance. These three passages come from I Am That. Nisargadatta led a very humble life in a poor part of Bombay. He wasn’t insulated from the vicissitudes and tests of everyday life — in other words, he spoke from experience.
1. Whatever may be the situation, if it is acceptable, it is pleasant. If it is not acceptable, it is painful. What makes it acceptable is not important; the cause may be physical, or psychological, or untraceable; acceptance is the decisive factor. Obversely, suffering is due to non-acceptance. Why [shouldn’t pain be acceptable]? Did you ever try? Do try and you will find in pain a joy which pleasure cannot yield, for the simple reason that acceptance of pain takes you much deeper than pleasure does. The more we are conscious, the deeper the joy. Acceptance of pain, non-resistance, courage and endurance – these open deep and perennial sources of real happiness, true bliss.
2. Pain is physical, suffering is mental. Beyond the mind there is no suffering. Pain is essential for the survival of the body, but none compels you to suffer. Suffering is due entirely to clinging or resisting; it is a sign of our unwillingness to move on, to flow with life. As a sane life is free of pain, so is a saintly life free from suffering. A saint does not want things to be different from what they are; he knows that, considering all factors, they are unavoidable. He is friendly with the inevitable and, therefore, does not suffer. Pain he may know, but it does not shatter him. If he can, he does the needful to restore the lost balance, or he lets things take their course.
3. Nature is neither pleasant nor painful. It is all intelligence and beauty. Pain and pleasure are in the mind. Change your scale of values and all will change. Pleasure and pain are mere disturbances of the senses; treat them equally and there will be only bliss. And the world is what you make it; by all means, make it happy. Only contentment can make you happy, desires fulfilled breed more desires. Keeping away from all desires and contentment in what comes by itself is a very fruitful state, a precondition to the state of fullness. Don’t distrust its apparent sterility and emptiness. Believe me, it is the satisfaction of desires that breeds misery. Freedom from desires is bliss.