Acceptance in Our Relationships: An Act of Reciprocity
Part I - Intro
This is an intro for upcoming classes that focus on Acceptance, but it can be edited to introduce classes that focus on Trust, Forgiveness, Gratitude, or other Acts of Reciprocity.
Do We Want Acceptance
Acceptance. I think that everybody who’s reading this would like to bring more acceptance into their world, and why wouldn’t you? Maybe you’re interested in developing self-acceptance or maybe you’re more interested in gaining acceptance from others. I think most of us feel pretty accepting of others but we would love to have others be more accepting of us. And sometimes we would like for them to be more accepting of our ideas, especially when we’re trying to tell them something that we think is going to help them, and our relationship with them. Regardless of why you are interested in generating more acceptance in your life, having more acceptance will help you in many ways. Thank you for reading on.
Acceptance is a powerful force. Acceptance is like the gas that fuels all relationships, or like the oil that lubricates all relationships. Nothing happens in a relationship if there’s no acceptance. Ultimately people just split if there’s no acceptance.
Or, if it’s a situation where people do have to stay together, without acceptance there’s a lot of friction and maybe a lot of pain. Acceptance, whether in a relationship or in life in general, helps us live a happier life with less pain.
So how do we bring acceptance into a relationship, whether it’s in relationships with others, or just with ourselves? Where do we start? (A: It doesn’t matter)
Acceptance is one of these things that I call an act of reciprocity. I’m going to diverge a little bit from our title (meditation) into this topic, just for a moment because I think it’s pretty interesting and I think it may be key into what is going on.
Who Started It
When I was a kid – and maybe this is the same for many of you– but when I was a kid, I grew up with a bunch of sisters and we were always squabbling and fighting Invariably someone would end up at my mother trying to point the finger at somebody else saying “Anna did this,” or “Anna did that,” and –except that I don’t think my mother said this to any of my other sisters because I was always to blame– but my mother would say, “Doesn’t matter who started it,” which would infuriate me. It took me years to realize that she’s probably right: It’s like the chicken or the egg thing. These strifes, it’s not that one just starts it. It’s an issue of acceptance, or lack of acceptance. And where does the start of acceptance, or where does the lack of acceptance, begin? Where can we insert or reinsert acceptance into our relationships? Well, it doesn’t matter where acceptance ended or non-acceptance started… That point can be as far back in our history as the dawn of time. I mean, who knows. But you can insert, or start to insert, acceptance at any point and, when you do, something magical happens. And the reason why, I think, something magical happens, is because acceptance is an act of reciprocity.
Now I always thought I knew what reciprocity meant. I always had thought that an act of reciprocity was a phenomenon that could be illustrated as my giving you an apple today and then, on another day when I may need an apple, you’d give me an apple. Right? Or maybe I give you an apple today, because you want an apple, and you give me an orange because you knew that I would like an orange better than an apple. But, whatever. It’s this kind of ‘give and take’ this idea of reciprocity that I think most of us have. And maybe that is one of the main definitions of reciprocity in the dictionary, that there’s this give and take. But I always thought that it had to occur on this linear time frame, and that there always had to be this space between this exchange. So I checked on the term, a while ago when I had a talk on the subject tot give. I read somewhere that ‘reciprocity’ is an act of exchange. But the rource I was reading but had no support for the notion that an act of reciprocity needed the context of space and time. That got me thinking, got me wondering, “Does reciprocity really need space and time?” Something in the definition shifted my idea of what the definition of reciprocity could be. Something in the definition made me realize that reciprocity doesn’t have to exist on this Newtonian physics time-line, and that it could actually transcend it. An act of reciprocity is a magical thing and could affect it’s whole environment kind of like dropping a few grains of salt into a glass of water, changing the chemical make up of all of the water, changing the electrical charge…. Actually I don’t know how accurate what I just said is, but I think it’s valuable because it gives us a new understanding of how one small act can change it’s environment.
So just by inserting an act of reciprocity, like acceptance, or trust, or any other act of reciprocity, can change the whole history of a relationship. This is pretty interesting to me. And now, let’s turn our attention to what’s going on in the brain.
Body = Brain
In the brain there are electrical impulses, electrical communication happenings. One part of our brain sends signals to another part. One part of our self communicates with another part of ourselves, and results in thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions. This communication happens via electrical signals, from one neuron to the next. How the signal gets to the next neuron, how it crosses over gulfs, spaces between the neurons, is via chemicals, neurotransmitters, hormones. These little chemicals transfer messages that keep us alive, feeling, acting, thinking.
Here’s something interesting, an aside: It’s not just happening up here, in our brain. This same method of communication, these same methods of communication, happen between your heart and your brain. There’s neurotransmitters and neuro-translations, same as in your brain, happening between your heart and your lungs, and between your lungs and your brain, and between your gut and your brain and your heart and your lungs. We have more than one neuro-center, our “mind” is bigger than just between your ears. So you might hear people referencing a “second brain” and talking about their stomach, or gut, or the heart-lung-brain connection. That’s how we communicate with ourselves and, of course, with whatever is around us, by these processes
Okay, here’s the other thing that I think is very interesting about all that –actually, this is huge: those communications that happen, some of them are so small, maybe the size of an atom, and some of them, some of these communications, I’ve read, actually happen on a level that uses particles that are smaller than atoms. So some of these communications happen at a level that is subatomic, at the subatomic level. Now just think about it. That’s a game changer.
The interesting thing about this kind of communication is that, if we’re having interior communication that happens at not only the molecular and atomic level, but at the subatomic level, that means, to me, that these phenomena are not just proceeding and being governed by Newtonian, linear, physics, but also they could be proceeding and governed by Quantum physics. In Quantum physics, if you change a subatomic-something here, then over there a similar subatomic-thing changes, too. And it’s not governed by space, or even by time. That’s something that may be a way to understand why these acts of reciprocity happen and have effects that seem to go beyond just the here-now, and not play by the rules of space and time as we understand them.
Think of the Possibilities
It’s my belief that acts of reciprocity are acts of communication, and capable of powerful affects, in yourself, and in your relationships. That’s not only my believe, but my experience. And I’ve heard that it’s the experience of others. I hope you enjoyed my introductory explanation of Acts of Reciprocity, above, and that you’re interested in trying for meditation techniques that use reciprocity.
Coming up, we’ll practice some of these techniques. I hope you practice them in different situations, in your life and see how they can help you change a relationship with a person .
These meditation are a lot of fun. I love teaching these classes and workshops because it’s neat stuff. I hope you find it useful, too.
In the next section, I’ll talk a little about how meditation works, and how it helps us, by practicing 1) “Fake it ‘til you make it”, 2) You can control your nervous system, and 3) You can control your thoughts and stress.
We’ll go over the basics, and practice a basic meditation just so you can experience the benefits from it.
In the section following the next, we’ll actually go through an Acceptance meditation. Maybe you’ve done something similar before, but maybe this explanation has helped you understand, think, and appreciate it in a new way.
I hope that in all these exercises you actually do it so that it can be more than theory and a real experience for you. And each time you do it, taking more time or less, even just a few moments, each time you will develop your ability to experience it more strongly. It’s like a muscle: you can develop strength in these abilities. These techniques will get stronger and more powerful for you each time you practice them. You can do these mediation exercises anywhere, and for any reason. You can have the benefits work in your life however you need or want.