Radical Acceptance Part 3

Part Three: Everything has a Cause


Everything Has a Cause
The second part to accepting is accepting that every event and every situation has a cause. Accepting that every event has a cause is the opposite of saying 'why me'. 

Now there's another opposite for thinking events have causes and that opposite is when you say things should not be the way they are.  Now 'should not be the way they are' in non-acceptance. We never say that about things we're accepting or we like or we want. We say 'should not' about things that we think aren't caused - they should not be this way.

So the opposite of should not is should. And once you think that everything has a cause, then you think reality should be the way it is. Acceptance from this point of view is when you say 'everything should be as it is'.

So I'm going to give you an example. Imagine that there's a child on a bicycle. And the child is on a hill, and the child is racing down the hill, really fast on his bicycle. And he goes into an intersection and coming the other direction is a car. And that car is driving, let's say at the speed limit - that car's not speeding.   But the intersection's unmarked. There's not a stop sign, there's not a stop light and there's not a yield sign. 

So we're going to imagine the kid is racing down the hill. The car's coming the other way and they meet up right in the middle of the intersection. The car hits the kid and the kid dies. 

If you say it should not have happened, I would say 'well, it should have'.  There wasn't a stop sign.  There wasn't a stop light. There wasn't a yield sign. The kid was going fast.  The car was going the speed limit. Something blocked the driver's view. The child was a child. Children go fast. 

If you wanted to say that should not have happened, you would have to create causes for it not to happen.  You'd have to do something about all those causes. 

That's an example of accepting reality as it is and accepting that reality has causes.  Now, do you think I approve of this?  Do you think you think I think it's good?  Is acceptance saying it's good that the child got hit by the car? No.  Is that what I want?  No. I were the child's mother am I going to go on a campaign, get stops signs put there or make the speed limit lower? Yes. Will I teach my child not to race down hills?  I will certainly try.

But, until the causes are different, that event should happen. It was caused.

So think of a situation in your life.  Can you think of one?  Can you think of one where you've been saying 'why me' or 'it shouldn't have happened'?  See if you can think of one. 

What's acceptance? Radical acceptance? Radical acceptance is not necessarily knowing what the causes are. Like in the example with the car.  Well, alright, I don't if the problem was that there wasn't a stop sign or if the speed limit was too fast.  I don't really know.  But I accept that there was a cause, even if I don't know it.

So think of a situation in your life.  See if you can radically accept that even though it's not clear what the cause is, there is some cause.  


Think back in your life, something either about yourself that you found hard to accept or something in someone else that you found hard to accept but it's not really a catastrophe.  Alright.  You got it?  Now think through.  What caused that event to happen?  So what you want to go through in your mind is just be thinking, 'now why did that happen? What caused it?' 'Cause often when we don't accept something, you know you say 'it shouldn't have happened.' 

Like somehow the rules in the universe should be different. So the first thing you want to say when you're trying to accept is to say 'wait a second, the rules of the universe are the rules of the universe.' Then you try to figure out what caused it. 

Now you know, most times when people don't accept things, they start saying things shouldn't be the way they are.  Have you ever noticed that?  You say that?  'This shouldn't be that way.' We all do it. So if what you are trying to practice is acceptance, you're going to try to go the other way. You're going to try to say everything is as it should be. 

That's the way you practice. First you think what caused it.  And as you notice what caused it, you're going to notice that what happened, should have happened, given those causes. 

Sort of sounds like I'm saying if you can change your thinking everything will be alright. Right? Does sound that way but it's not true. Now acceptance is a lot easier if you can change your thinking.  But that's not all there is to it, especially not with radical acceptance.

The whole idea in radical acceptance is you've got to accept all the way.  You accept with your mind, accept with your heart, you accept with your body.  Now how would you do that? Well, the short answer is you practice.  What do you practice?  Well, what you want to practice is 'letting go'. 

You're going to let go of tension, tightness, let go of your muscles. You know how when you are not accepting how you get all chunks:  your face gets tense, your arms get tense, your hands get tense. Have you ever noticed that?  People get sick to their stomach when they're not accepting. I mean, it's all around - your whole body just tightens up.

So, if you want to accept, start with just letting go.  You can start letting go of your forehead, letting go of your eyes, letting go of your cheeks, letting go of your jaw, let go of your shoulders, let go of your arms, let go of your stomach, your legs, your calves, your feet. Just start letting go. 

Sometimes when people start letting go they say 'No!  I don't want to!' You tighten back up. It's alright.  Don't worry about it.  That happens, start over. Just start relaxing again.  Just keep letting go. 

You know acceptance, it's all about the word 'yes'.  It's yes to reality; it's yes to the moment; it's yes to just what is. 

So another way to practice it is you could just walk outside, maybe late a night, look up at the stars and you could just say the word 'yes'. It's yes to the universe.  You could go out and practice every night. You could say yes two times a night. So there are lots of ways to practice. You might think of other ways you could practice them.  Lets go back to the program.

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