About Me

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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.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Peace on earth. Good will to all men

As a belated Christmas present to you I include a poem that I think is really ! beautiful to share with you, and a very short youTube link I particularly like.
Be Happy by H.E. Situ Rinpoche

The best scholar is the one who realises the meaning of non-self
The best practitioner is one who has tamed their own mind
The best quality is a great desire to benefit others
The best instruction is to always watch the mind
The best remedy is to know that nothing has any inherent reality
The best way of life is one that does not fit with worldly ways
The best accomplishment is a steady lessening of negative emotions
The best sign is a steady decrease of desires
The best generosity is non-attachment
The best discipline is a peaceful mind
The best patience is to take the lowest place
The best diligence is to give up activities
The best concentration is to not alter the mind
The best wisdom is not to grasp at anything at all

Atisha: 982–1054ce
The Indian scholar from the university of Vikramashila who spent the last ten years of his life in Tibet, where his teachings emphasized the basic practices of taking refuge and training the mind in love & compassion.

We are lucky. There are some ! beautiful souls on the planet to help show us how to live well. Their gentleness, kindness and skilfulness is a blessing to the world. I am grateful for them and the work they are doing on our behalf.

Anyway..Hello there :), I have had !! waaaaay too may things to do so just haven't dared distract myself by posting.. This was the first thing that sprung to mind about the christmas ? 'whatever it is'..‘

Very often I just want to be alone because I find other people's presence needy and draining. Christmas can be a very difficult period for a lot of people, they have high expectations, they feel ambivalent or conflicted about having to spend time with family members they haven't seen for some time, there are lots of social pressures to conform to, financial pressures of one sort or another due to the expectation that people are supposed to buy gifts for one another. Generally I find that people are not at their best at Christmas, it is a time when people feel ‘not that great’. So by and large unless I have a very good reason to be anywhere around christmas, I prefer to avoid it. I would rather be around people when they are feeling a little bit more positive. There is a lot of loneliness and old grief floating around at Christmas. A lot of people who have to go without. Old people who don't get to see relatives. The old wounds come back to haunt people at Christmas and New Year. That's probably where the xmas tradition of getting drunk comes from. If we weren't all such idealists and accepted life on life’s terms, then there would be no emotional wounds to attend to. Unfortunately most people aren't that self-aware, so habitually and unconsciously fall into idealism and wishful thinking and its consequent misery, or drunkenness and heedlessness. So avoiding unnecessary social gatherings becomes more appealing during Christmas and New Year for that particular reason.

The most popular time for people to go on retreat is Christmas and New Year, and I can see why that is the case. They sell out the fastest and are almost impossible to get places on. Rampant commercialism, overeating, frenzied social ritual, and the obligation to spend time with people they don't really like, or who get drunk and are antisocial, it's a lot of palaver. But if you have kids, well that's another thing. You have obligations that cannot be avoided.

AA is full of people who want to drink over Christmas, so the obligation to take care of people in need is much higher than at other times of the year. Quite a demanding service obligation but yes, very satisfying. There are some very nice Buddhist rituals of the New Year. One consists of an evening of chanting ending at midnight on New Year's Eve blessing all in attendance. I have been to those in the past and found them incredibly satisfying. Parties have their place too, but I can only do them in moderation, because if I do them too much I find them wearisome and sad. To be honest the only time I feel truly comfortable in the company I am keeping, is when I am around people who are utterly reconciled to the cracks in their psyche, the contradictions, irrationality and unreasonable drives that compel them to act in ways that utterly oppose their deepest wishes. Basically people who are by and large accepting of theirs and others humanity. There are people who fit that description who are members of AA and other 12 step organisations, but I also meet people who fit that description in Buddhist communities and similar mind body spirit groups, so they are a welcome refuge also. People like this are my true refuge. Perhaps not them as such, but what they are doing. It shows me the way out, so to speak. The Buddhists would call it the way out of samsara. AA's would call it the way out of "restless irritable and discontent".

So yes, the upshot is that I had a very peaceful and unencumbered Christmas which even by my standards was quiet. I feel better for it, and that's what's important. I suppose what I was having was a retreat at home, instead of at a retreat centre. I have for a good few months been in close proximity to a small group of students who by and large are stressed, irritable, anxious, frightened, socially awkward, and this has taken its toll, so avoiding social obligations has been valuable recharging time.

I have also rediscovered the joys of having a personal trainer. My old personal trainer nonetheless. So I'm very happy to be back at the gym doing a 'proper' workout to increase muscle mass. I'm no good at organising my workouts so I need someone else to give me workout schedules. I tend to be a bit adrift left to my own devices in the gym, so I am very lucky to have such a good trainer close by. It's so much easier to maintain gym attendance when somebody is monitoring your progress. I'm very comfortable with a personal trainer-type relationship. I ! love being pushed to do uncomfortable demanding routines. I love it. I don't want people to go easy on me. I find it condescending and irritating. Plus I love people who KNOW what they are talking about telling me what to do. I love being the student instead of the teacher for a change. It's like a holiday.

Anyway, I hope you find the courage to practice “to thine own self be true" over the period of Christmas and the New Year, in ? whatever form that takes, ..rather than get swept along by the tide of habit and social pressure.
(By the way that's not an excuse to be defiant just for the sake of it :) What I am talking about here, is a very skilful application of the principle "to thine own self be true". Not a blank cheque to retaliate or punish by being defiant.) Right well, I'd better be off :)

Peace on earth. Good will to all men ..as they say.

3 comments:

Syd said...

Irish, it is good to hear from you. I actually had a Christmas of low expectations and it worked out. Having those in recovery, who are the people that I want to spend time with, over for Christmas buffet was great. The house was filled with conversation and music. I like that. Anyway, I see that expectations can become too much for people, as they have for me in the past. I am grateful to have lowered mine and just enjoyed the day and the festivities before and after Christmas. Happy New Year to you.

Richard Carroll Sheehan said...

Thank you.
I'm glad you exist.
I've not drunk since 1980.
It took me to 1985 to discover that when I was not numb I was in pain.
In 1986 I began to know and wok the 12 Steps in ACA.

I've aged, but continue to grow and heal.

I've just been recalling that the words of Vitvan and the people of the School of the Natural Order and the people at Home Farm have been an ongoing help too.

Maybe I will live long enough to br a bit more responsive to your words.

Tammy said...

My christmas this year was so low key, almost sedate but with love and glow of the meaning. It was in fact, my best christmas. I too find that too much of a good thing can be too over stimulating. i prefer moderation in all things. Christmas does not lend itself to such thinking though does it? I made sure this year would be worry free, stress free and full of goodness right here in our small cottage home.

Thanks for having me and good to meet ya!
Tammy