Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters


Amor Fati: Deep Acceptance

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

From The Onion: “Life Unfair”

“EARTH–For the 50 billionth consecutive week since its inception, life was revealed to be unfair Monday. Death and suffering continued to be dispersed randomly among the planet’s life forms, with such potentially mitigating factors as solid community standing, genetic superiority, and previous good works in no way taken into account. Despite the efforts of the Code of Hamurabi, the U.S. Bill of Rights, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, life is expected to remain unfair far into the foreseeable future.

I found this pithy humor from The Onion on the  bulletin board of a staff member at Kripalu (Thanks Cody!). I wound up sharing it later in the day with my workshop participants. It embodies our invitation to acceptance and the wisdom captured in the First Noble Truth. Life is Dukkha. Shit happens. And if we can expect this, we’ll be OK. However, when we feel we deserve special treatment, deserve to be exempt from such viccisitudes, then we’ll be in trouble.

On a more serious note, Nietzsche declares in Ecco Homo that we should not only accept our fate, but we can come to love this fate. He says, “My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it — but love it.” To reach this greatness we must reach deep within ourselves to find this radical acceptance. Of course, on the front end it behooves us to engineer our lives in such a way that we can come to love that fate. However and often we don’t have the ability to engineer each aspect of our life. We have physical limitations; things happen that we cannot control. Volcanos explode. Accidents occur. Illness strikes. Beings we love die. In more subtle ways we fight against our faith when we can’t have what we want. This is where we need to look deeply into the nature of desire. Why do we want this? Is it reflective of our inmost values? (Do we know what those values are?) Will pursuing this desire result in harm to myself or others? Is this desire a reflection of the desire of others? Are we just being a good consumer and obeying, albeit unconsciously, the dictates of Madison Avenue to live the American dream?

Can we love our fate that includes being imperfect, confused, and uncertain? Things are often not clear and we are invited to breathe into a space of uncertainty. To embrace doubt and not knowing. If we can come to love the imperfection that is this moment then we provide ourselves with the space to find our way to solid ground. If we pressure ourselves too much to have an answer right NOW then we constrict that space and can’t feel our way into the answers that arise from deep within the body, our truth in this moment. 



  • Mary Overzet

    Love the accepting nature of this missive. It allows me to not be so hard on myself but to move forward in a productive way through acceptance.

  • hotcocoa

    I’m liking your blog, Arnie! Thank you for generously offering these opportunities to return to mindfulness in each day. Metta from Denver!

  • http://exquisitemind.com Dr. Arnie Kozak

    Thanks for reading my blog. I’m very excited to be here on Beliefnet and sharing the wisdom of mindfulness. Keep reading!

  • http://exquisitemind.com Dr. Arnie Kozak

    Hi Mary. Thanks for reading and posting your comment. We all seem to be too hard on ourselves and at some point I will write some entries on what I call the Strident Self (or what was also called the Tyrannical Self in my book). Acceptance can be a difficult path for us, so I encourage you to keep softening and keep reading!

  • http://louellabryant.com Ellie

    This post is the most meaningful for me so far, Doc K. Regarding “amor fati,” Nietzsche also said, “Some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.” For Nietzsche, as I understand him, there is no “Being” in the sense of fate as a definite; there is only “Becoming,” as if life and consciousness are in a constant state of movement, of transition from one awareness to the next. Let me follow Nietzsche in saying “yes” to things I don’t like as well as those experience that please me. Let me embrace “becoming” so that whatever painful events befall, I’ll know they are transient and will be followed by a wave of glee. Merci encore for an insightful post.

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