It IS dependent on THE WAY WE RELATE to our thoughts and emotions.
Ie: do we ACCEPT them?, without forming an 'opinion' (which is essentially a JUDGEMENT) about them either being 'good' or 'bad'?
OR, do we GET ALARMED AND SCARED by them,as if they were 'bogeymen' and 'run for the (deeply unconscious) hills' straight into the nearest tub of Hagen daz, or whichever avoidant activity we happen to prefer! You might be a Ben and jerry's person for all I know! or a tv addict. Whatever. Anything to avoid 'unpleasant' feelings! Some people call these 'fixes'. I call them ways of staying NUMB, and avoiding having to FEEL. I told you recovery is not for sissies! It REALLY isn't!
The Buddhists call it 'monkey mind' with good reason. The mind (and everything else come to think of it) has A LIFE OF ITS OWN.
The problem isn't WHAT COMES INTO OUR HEADS. The problem is HOW WE DEAL WITH IT. Step 1 means you are powerless over 'people ,places and things'. And what are thoughts but 'things'? Therefore YOU ARE POWERLESS OVER THEM.
And that's why they say 'You are NOT responsible for what comes INTO your head. But you ARE responsible for how you DEAL with it.'
"Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm."
When you meet 'spiritual giants' you will learn that enlightenment isn't numbness, its a CALM, STEADY CONTAINMENT of EVERY shade of emotion. Good bad and indifferent.
If you have loads of acceptance, you have peace of mind NOMATTER WHAT THOUGHTS OR EMOTIONS you are experiencing.
Its all about acceptance in the end. Not an IDEALISZED SET OF MENTAL OR EMOTIONAL CONDITIONS. Dependence on a set of 'pleasant' thought forms or emotions in order to have peace of mind would be 'dependence on people places and things'. But like it says in the big book "Some of us have taken VERY hard knocks to learn this truth: Job or no job, wife or no wife, we simply do NOT stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people (places and things) ahead of dependence on God" p98
If you do a GOOD step 11 practice you will get to observe your thoughts and feelings in a cooler, more impartial way, and this BENEVOLENT relationship with ALL your emotions, good and bad, will become easier.
So what I'm saying is that this 'sinks in' when you get to step 11. Not before usually.
I've seen people who've been sober a LONG time who are still effectively 'at war' with (what they see as) 'bad' thoughts or emotions.
Personally I MUCH prefer the AA ideology of:
'we have ceased fighting anything or anyone' p84
And if we are 'to practice these principles in ALL our affairs.' p60 (ie including our EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL affairs) It follows that 'NOT fighting' would AUTOMATICALLY EXTEND TO THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS.
So it would be AGAINST AA policy (so to speak), to have a 'warring relationship' with ANYTHING. Including our negative mind states.
So the 'enemy' is NOT the thoughts and emotions, and that is why we are no longer fighting them, along with everything else.
I LOVE the Great Spirit Prayer (on a previous post listed under the Topic of prayer) as I think it contains a HUGE amount of wisdom, but I will repeat some bits that can be used to relate to this issue..
'Help me to remain calm and strong in the face of all that comes towards me.' (including negative mind states)
'Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.' (including negative mind states, because they are FULL of VERY valuable lessons about ourselves)
'I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy
Myself.' (not my thoughts or emotions, or negative mind states)
Anyway, sorry if that's a bit rambly, as its a bit late, but hopefully you get the jist.
- An Irish Friend of Bill
- I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Peace of mind is NOT dependent on having PLEASANT thought forms or emotions
Posted by An Irish Friend of Bill
Labels: Acceptance, Big Book Study, Character Defects, Dealing with difficult emotions, Peace of mind, Step 11
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It is certainly inspirational to be calm amidst the storm , though there are exceptions to the rule , my thoughts emotions & negative mind states are to be thought of in a methodical manner if any sense is to be derived from this conondrum of alcoholism
I think a good place to start looking at the tangled web of negative emotions is in step 4 with a sponsor. We call them ‘resentments’ in aa. What I’m describing is more something that people experience AFTER step 9. It’s sort of a ‘postcard from sanity’ showing you what your mind could be like later.
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