It could be said that one of the main causes of all problems, individual and social, is actually non-acceptance.
By Roberto Assagioli, Transcription of a Live Talk Given August 15, 1972. Original Title: Meditazione con R. A. sulla Accettazione. Translated by Jan Kuniholm, From the Assagioli Archive in Florence[Moment of silence]
This evening we are going to do a meditation, or rather a meditative exercise, which will serve to balance any overstimulation you may have gotten from the reading on the strong will. On the other hand, this exercise is connected with the will, and in a sense it can be considered as an exercise of the will. It will follow the same pattern as the one on serenity, and is closely related to that. The attitude and quality to be evoked is acceptance.
It is good to realize that acceptance is the basic condition or starting point for the use of many other psychosynthetic techniques. As long as we resent, criticize, condemn, reject or refuse something, either in ourselves or in external circumstances, we cannot proceed to do the work necessary to change the condition itself. The road is blocked! Let us recall the answer given by Emerson. One of the members of the group of Transcendentalists gathered around him came to him excitedly and said, “Mr. Emerson, I accept the Universe.” He looked at her for a moment and replied, “You had better.” 
Well, this answer expresses a profound truth given in a humorous and concise form. It could be said that one of the main causes of all problems, individual and social, is actually non-acceptance. Let us realize the true meaning of acceptance. Acceptance is not passive acquiescence, or a sad submission. It is, first and foremost, realistic recognition of a de facto existing condition, without emotional reaction, without judging it, without feeling sorry for it, and without trying to evaluate possible actions to change it. It includes the elimination of all criticism, sense of inferiority and self-criticism, guilt, and so on.
Instead of all that, accept yourself as you are at that moment; and then of course take action, but first accept it. Every apology or bitter self-criticism is an obstacle, and this is the same if it is towards others. One of the problems in the psychosynthesis of the couple is that we do not accept the other as he or she is, and this creates a wall and an exchange of resentment and hostility, and on and on. And the same for every condition that exists in the world and the universe. Always remember the basic fact that we are in an imperfect universe, on an imperfect planet, in an imperfect humanity, including ourselves. If this were not so, there could be no growth, no evolution. This seems entirely simple, entirely rational, and I think we all accept it. But we do not behave accordingly! So it is a matter of recognizing it and being consistent with it. In a sense we are here precisely to change this. But we cannot change it by opposing it. So, sincere acceptance — but that means willingness-to-accept. Spontaneously, we don’t accept. So what we should visualize, what we should strive for, is to come to a will-acceptance, or more precisely to a will-to-accept. So this is an aspect of the will that is generally not recognized, but it is an act of will. And it takes a lot of will to accept oneself.
That was an introduction to the rationale for the purpose of this exercise. Now let’s do it!
Let’s use the same pattern as the serenity exercise, but I should better say that this is an integration of that one. They are closely related, because acceptance gives serenity and serenity helps acceptance. Therefore they can be done alternately, and remember to keep in mind their connection. They are actually two parts of one exercise.
a. We assume a physical attitude of acceptance. There is a physical attitude of acceptance: it means relaxation, elimination of all nervous tension, allowing oneself to breathe calmly and to put a smile on your face. It is an intentional acceptance. We can do it with a smile. One could say that a smile is a powerful weapon. It can break the ice. And you don’t need to explain it.
b. After this preparation, let’s think about acceptance, according to what I just said. Let us realize its value and use; appreciate acceptance, desire it, want it. (Appreciation is a most effective means of evoking and making things grow in ourselves and others. I think you could do a similar exercise for appreciation as well. I would suggest doing that as a third exercise. Serenity – Acceptance – Appreciation).
c. Now let’s evoke acceptance directly, trying to feel it with the help of the repetition of the word.
d. After that, let us imagine ourselves in circumstances that would tend to make us non-accepting, critical, oppositional, combative or irritated. Let us imagine a situation in which someone gets on our nerves, so to speak, or being in a very unpleasant situation that would justify criticism (or at least that we think would justify it), or in any other adverse condition. We assume an attitude of acceptance. This connects with the technique of indifference, of giving no weight to any critical opinion or judgment about ourselves.
Moreover, a great help for acceptance is to regard an obstacle, a so-called enemy, [and such a situation] as raw material that we can shape and mold, with which to create something positive, constructive and wonderful. And there is another image that clearly represents this — that of a sculptor in front of a block of clay, who does not criticize the clay for not being a statue! He is simply happy to have the clay that gives him the opportunity to shape it into a statue. But it is his work and his joy to mold the clay into the statue.
In the same way we can shape anything in us or around us, use it as raw material at our disposal. The word transformation means just that; transmuting clay into a statue, transforming an inharmonious situation into a harmonious one. It has countless applications that we can think of in our practice, and also at any time. It has been said in many ways that obstacles are opportunities. And the most extreme form is a Buddhist text, “An enemy is as useful as a Buddha,” because [confronting] an enemy is simply an opportunity to develop something that the Buddha does not give us. So our attitude is, “What constructive use can I make of this apparently negative or adverse condition in me, in others, in the world?” But this can be done only on the basis of its prior acceptance. Now let’s do it.[tape ends here].
 In William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience (ebooks.adelaide.edu.au page 34), he writes that “‘I accept the universe’ is reported to have been a favorite utterance of our New England transcendentalist, Margaret Fuller; and when some one repeated this phrase to Thomas Carlyle, his sardonic comment is said to have been: ‘Gad! she’d better!’” Carlyle and Emerson were friends, and Fuller was one of the group associated with Emerson, who may have reported her phrase on another occasion, but I find no direct connection or other source for this exchange. —Tr.
 See Psychosynthesis: A Manual of Principles and Techniques, Hobbs-Dorman & Co. Inc, 1965, 223, “Exercise for Evoking Serenity.” —Tr.