Love is the highest form of acceptance

By: Stephen Levine
Posted: August 7, 2013

Love is the highest form of acceptance. Judgment is the mechanics of non-acceptance. Some may say that without “good judgment” there would be no “discriminating wisdom” but discriminating wisdom is the process of weeding out the causes of suffering and choosing love, “the greatest good”.

The mind likes and dislikes all day long, judges and complains, even in its sleep. It complains about where we’ve been and where we’re going. It judges those we meet along the way, family and neighbors, coworkers and bosses, friends and lovers, spouses and ex-spouses and all it feels have not given us our due.

We lament not being loved.

We complain about how we feel, about how we look, too cold, too hot. The porridge is never quite right.

We complain all day about being alive. We complain all night about death.

We complain from want and alternately brandish and are embarrassed and embossed with remorse by desire. One moment the mind says, “ Have a hot fudge sundae!” and fifteen moments later, as you wipe your mouth says, “ I wouldn’t have done that if I were you!” Conflicting desires, it’s the story of our lives.

We seldom notice the outreach of desire until we find ourselves leaning into the refrigerator or, closer to our sorrow, being someone we don’t even like in order to get what we want.

But desire is not, as rumor would have it, “bad” it is just painful. It engenders a feeling of not having until we get what we want and then complains about having it too briefly or not quite as advertised in the catalogue of our desires. It is the ache of wanting and impermanence in the gut and at the center of the chest.

Everyone has a desire system which leads the mind ever forward. Even Jesus, even the Dalai Lama, even Gandhi had desire. At the very least for the welfare of others, at the most to continue to live and perhaps at times to evade pain.

Ironically the greater the satisfaction the greater the potential for dissatisfaction, the deeper the rope burns and scars as what we hold to is pulled beyond our grasp by impermanence. Desire out lives memory.

Which is not to say we must stop desire no matter how strong our desire to do so may be on occasion, instead that we meet it with compassion and a satisfaction in momentary beauty.

Of course the problem is not just desire but our attachment to its continual satisfaction which turns desire from an object of awareness to an engorgement of consciousness. We are addicted to satisfaction.

One of the great ironies of desire is that quality we call satisfaction only arises in the momentary absence of desire. The desire that so often keeps us superficial and unable to experience what some acknowledge as the deepest satisfaction is a glimpse of the luminosity exposed when the clouds of desire momentarily part. The “great satisfaction”. This is not philosophy this is just the design of our very human architecture. When we watch it for ourselves we see how it is the momentary absence of desire that gives rise to the state of satisfaction.