Radical Acceptance

Radical Acceptance is this week’s DBT concept/practice/homework. Radical acceptance is the skill of accepting the things you can’t change, á la the Serenity Prayer. The radical part indicates that it is complete and total. The acceptance part is seeing reality for what it is, even if you don’t like it.

Radical Acceptance = “It is what it is.”

I’m coming to understand radical acceptance as a choice, a practice even. Whenever I see myself getting tangled up in non-acceptance (anger, denial, bitterness, self-pity), I acknowledge it and let it go, opening myself up to accepting reality as it is. Over and over again. This is called “turning the mind” in DBT-speak.

It feels like I have found a Zen practice group, except that they call it DBT and it is focused on borderline folks. There is other stuff in DBT that is not based in Zen, but cognitive therapy. But it really gets my notice that the chapter on dialectics in our workbook is entitled “Walking the Middle Path.”

Radical acceptance involves trust—trusting that the universe is indeed perfect and complete, just as it is. That I am perfect and complete: Jun (pure, immaculate, undefiled, perfect) and en (the enso—complete, total, encompassing everything). It’s right there in my name: Jun’en, perfect and complete.

Here’s to realizing that, over and over again, in the present moment. I could say I’m not there yet, but I am here and right now, here is sufficient. Even that is too much, even that includes judgment.

I am here. In that is everything.

2 thoughts on “Radical Acceptance

  1. stumbled upon your site while searching for the name of the Big Comfy Couch episode about Winter Solstice and went to check some of your more recent posts . A friend of mine is in DBT I think (dialectic behavior therapy, or something like that, right?) and was raving about it… wonder if there is a couple’s course locally, hubby and I have been having trouble getting on the same wavelength and he’s just been so darn grumpy lately (mostly from sleep deprivation he says, given that he’s been picking up the slack because I have been unwell). We have two boys (3.5 yrs and 5.5mo) and family near Toronto (we’re in Cleveland, Ohio), and my hubby’s grandmothers were Buddhist (he’s Chinese) but he wasn’t raised as such since his parents converted to Christianity in their youth. We’re Unitarian Universalists, he’s been casually exploring Taoism off-and-on (more off than on) for a few years.

    For some more ways to share your faith with your child, look for “Dharma Family Traditions” by Sandy Eastoak

    can’t type more, baby trying to “help”

  2. I know the episode of Big Comfy Couch that you’re talking about! It’s called “Comfy and Joy” (http://www.tv.com/the-big-comfy-couch/comfy-and-joy/episode/307945/summary.html?tag=ep_list;title;51) I love the way they stay up all night just so they can see the sunrise together.

    It reminds me of the Morning Star Vigil that we recently held at Rohatsu session. We stay up all night meditating and celebrating the coming of the morning star (dawn) and Buddha’s enlightenment.

    DBT is an amazing therapy. One of the leaders of our group said the first day that she thought *everybody* could benefit from DBT, as it teaches skills for living.

    Thanks for the book suggestion–I will track it down. Happy solstice to you and yours!

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