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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, October 07, 2009

Motive: It's not what you say. It's where you're coming from.

Hello there. Thanks for your kind comments and well wishes re study grief :) I feel a LOT !! less stressed about my crazy ol study schedule as I think I have FINALLY stumbled across a method of processing the workflow that matches the content and requirements. Phew. A method that seems to work :)
Takes me a while but I figure it out in the end. Now all I need to do is apply the strategy to all the work I have bumbled around doing so far.. Oh well. Better late than never. I had a nice little routine worked out last year which matched the requirements very nicely, but this material is much more scattered and hard to keep track of. I use my computer a LOT when I study so nearly all my work is done reading on the puter. Very little actual reading of Books. But hey. There you go. There is some catching up to do which is a bit scary, but I hope I can catch up fairly easily.

Anyway. About the heading. "It's not what you say. It's where you're coming from"

I really think that it doesn't really matter what you say, but it matters MUCH more WHY you are saying it.
Ie. What is your MOTIVE for saying that?
Ie. What is your MOTIVE for doing that?
I have found that IF YOU MEAN WELL AND YOU HAVE NOTHING BUT A SINCERE DESIRE TO HELP,

"he has no attitude of Holier Than Thou, nothing whatever except the sincere desire to be helpful"
(p18, AA Big Book)

as opposed to being CHRONICALLY SELF OBSESSED about 'what's in it for me?' when you are engaging with others, that life is INFINITELY simpler. You can make stupid errors of judgment and get it wrong, and others sense that its 'ok' because your heart is in the right place.
That's not a license to be kack-handed and heedless BTW. No. what I mean is your inevitable errors will not be taken badly by the other. But if you are just too lazy to pay attention to what you are saying, then I'm not sure this will get you off the hook :)

Btw when I say " your heart is in the right place." I mean there is NO ATTACHMENT TO ANY OUTCOME. Or as the buddhists would say .'No clinging'
Ie
you are not being a control freak
you are not trying to score points
you are not trying to wangle a friendship
you are not trying to be 'a better aa member'
you are not trying to become enlightened
you are not trying to 'do good'
you are not trying to 'get rid of your anger'

No. you are just doing what you do (being kind or nice to people) BECAUSE THAT S WHAT YOU DO. Because experience has shown you that it fosters wholesome mind states which make it easier to approach the problems life throws at you with equanimity. Or as the aa's call it 'acceptance'.

So you see. Theres no self centred/ self obsessed motive for being NICE
You just do it because the book tells you you should, and experience suggests that this approach helps you practice the principles in all your affairs.

So. Next time you hate someone
Are pissed off with someone
Are jealous of someone
Are really irritated by someone
Feel contempt for someone
Secretly hate that persons mannerisms. Or their laugh.
Hate the way they speak
Feel repulsed by them
Feel outraged by how un-spiritual' they are
Get hugely irritated by how drippy and overly-spiritual they are
Hate them because of the WRONG way they are working their programme..

Stop trying to be nice, because it doesn't work. They can tell you hate them. Really.
So go away and really ask yourself
WHAT IS MY MOTIVE FOR TALKING TO THIS PERSON?
AM I TRYING TO HELP?
WHAT EXACTLY AM I TRYING TO ACHIEVE BY TALKING TO THEM?

BE HONEST
You cant bullshit a bullshitter.

Don't think they don't know you hate em. They do.
So you would do more good if you go away and try to speak to them later WHEN YOU HAVE CALMED DOWN AND YOU ARE COMING FROM A BETTER PLACE.
Don't just say nice stuff through gritted teeth. Trust me, they KNOW how you feel.

Al I know is that my life turns to CRAP if my motive is OFF
So I check my motive if I think I am on thin ice, or coming up to a difficult bend in the road.
My motive is my protection. Provided I am willing to pay attention and go to any lengths to practice these principles in all my affairs.

That's why the first 100 members whisper in your ear on page 102..
“Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed.”
(p102, AA Big Book)

See? WILL, not might. There's a BIG difference.
Its never !!!! let me down yet. Nor other old timers I knew from waaaay back when I was new.
My fave old timer used to say (bless im)

"Feeling without action is sentimentality
Action without feeling is an empty gesture"

"Service is gratitude in Action"

So yeah. Get yourself a REALLY NICE motive, and let that motive 'abide' in you when you connect with those difficult people. REALLY hang on to the motive. Nomatter HOW much they annoy you. :)

And sit back and watch the miracles happen :) hehe
Trust me. ITS ALL ABOUT THE MOTIVE
A self centered motive turns your world to CRAP
A SELF FORGETTING motive makes the world a magical place, nomatter what is happening.

So yeah. That's my experience anyway. So go out there motive-shopping and find yourself a shiny new one to practice on your guinea-pig friends. :)

BTW this is a very PRIVATE exercise
NOBODY REALLY knows what your motive is except YOU
It is INVISIBLE to the naked eye
It will NOT be evidenced by certain words or actions
It is INSIDE
It is about WHERE YOU ARE COMING FROM
Its about WHAT YOU REALLY FEEL INSIDE. Do you wish them well? Do you want them to find their still centre while the world spins? Do you want them to understand that they are LOVED? That they are OK? Do you want their suffering to end? Can you empathise with their excuses and habitual negativity? Do you want them to die sober? ..thankful of the connections they made while they were alive?
THESE are the thoughts I cultivate when I want to engender a good motive.

And that's why it is such a PRIVATE and INTERIOR matter
You are looking at your INTERIOR LANDSCAPE. Nothing more.
Not really at the words
Not really at the actions. Although that doesn't mean 'be heedless'
Just keep the PRIMARY focus on WHERE YOU ARE INSIDE
Contempt? Bitterness? Tightness? Irritabilty? Jugement?
Or A SINCERE DESIRE TO HELP

"he has no attitude of Holier Than Thou, nothing whatever except the sincere desire to be helpful"
(p18, AA Big Book)

Focus just on the interior landscape. Do you mean well? Or are you trying to punish with indifference or in a passive aggressive way by sounding like you don't really care? 'yeh whatevea'

So go on. Give it a whirl and tell me what happens :)
The tricky bit is 'holding your centre' when buffeted by outward 'unpleasant' words or behaviors.
Another nice thing is that THE ONLY PERSON WHO KNOWS HOW PROFICIENT YOU ARE AT THIS IS !!! YOU
This is a much more PRIVATE and UNKNOWN aspect of service than making the tea' or 'setting up the meeting' (Not that there's anything wrong with making the tea..)
I like it because it is 'secret' and only I !!! know when I am doing it hehe
Plus I love watching the effect it has on people :)

So there you go. Try it. I love it. You will LOVE the effects :( its very cool. In my opinion. Plus the first 100 member seems to rate the idea too ;) and they have yet to give me a bum steer :)
Right well Im off to do some study prep. Have yourselves a fabulous Wednesday :)

4 comments:

Syd said...

I definitely give it a whirl every day. As you wrote, this is particularly hard when people are angry or act out around me. I don't even try much then because I would be faking it. Great post and something that I will savor to work on.

johno said...

some good reminders :)

its true, good motives come from honesty willingness and opendmindedness and humility

glad you have found a "cure" for study procrasatination, well done!

Prayer Girl said...

Irish Friend of Bill,
First of all, welcome. I was delighted to find you as a follower on my blog.

Some thoughts about your blog. Sometimes even I don't know what my motives are. Talking things out with someone else, getting quiet and allowing some time to pass, or writing in my journal usually helps clarify things for me. Then I am better able to know what to say or do - OR not.

Restraint of tongue and pen is my motto most days.

Again, welcome.
PG

Richard Carroll Sheehan said...

Getting a hamdle on motives or even recognizing a motive seems very difficult.