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.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Wings of desire: What it must be like to listen in to the thoughts of others

Wings of desire is a lovely film about 'Angels that walk the earth'. I am not saying it reflects reality in exactly the way I see it, but I like the insight into the private thoughts of passers-by in this film. I know that the longer I am sober and the more successfully I am able to communicate with others, that lots of things become apparent that were not apparent before. I feel I can read between the lines. I believe I can see where people are coming from much better than before. Even when they insist on chattering aimlessly about nothing in particular. I think we are very fortunate to get this ability to connect better with our fellow human beings as a by-product of recovery.
This film reminds me of how it feels to be around people who give the impression that they can see right through people. In a good way :) Another version of the same film is City of Angels. Both films have their moments. This film makes me wonder what my perception of humans would be if I could listen in to the thoughts and feelings of others. I like to think that I would feel nothing but compassion for the human condition if I could see that much. It would be a very humbling insight into our shared condition.

What's great about this film is that it is an intimate and vulnerable portrait of the inner landscape. Of the private thoughts people think nobody else knows about. In the course of various Step 11 experiences I have been lucky enough to be around people who made me feel completely transparent because they had such a high level of insight. At first I found it very embarrassing. It feels as though one has no mental or emotional privacy. These people gave me the impression that they can see right through me. So there was no point in trying to disguise anything I was thinking or feeling. (Whether they could or couldn't was by the by, the effect it had on me was what got my attention.)
This is part of the reason I recommend going on step 11 retreats so highly. Because it exposes you to people with a sufficiently high level of insight to completely see through your BS. And like I say, it first it seems uncomfortable, then very !!!! humbling. I suppose I really like it now. I prefer having no place to hide. But it's a very !! good way to get in touch with your humility. :)

I am much more aware of my petty internal responses to things than I was before. I didn't used to notice it nearly so much, but being around people who saw through my ? BS made me notice lots of slightly dodgy thoughts rumbling around in the background that I hadn't picked up on before. Plus lots of crazy rationalizations that I didn't even notice I had. Oh well. The unflattering thoughts don't go away, but I feel significantly more reconciled with my humanity. I feel very lucky to have had this experience.
It taught me a huge respect for logical questioning of what I am thinking. In the past I used to think that I needed to "understand". Now I just think I have to NOTICE things instead of letting them pass me by. I find that when I try to 'understand' things, my mind is invariably drawn towards the things I WANT to think about, (ie ego-massaging BS) as opposed to the things I SHOULD be looking at. (ie ego-puncturing observations)

The process started in AA. And continues because people always reflect something back to me that I hadn't seen before or hadn't noticed. Always some sort of new ? 'wake up call'. So I always end up coming face-to-face with something that reflected back that I wasn't expecting. It just seems to be more and more ego-puncturing experiences. Brings me face to face with the inner surges of the 'fight-to-the-death' ego. It would be so !!! lovely to have no ego. It encourages me to see some people manage to have made quite a bit of headway in that direction. Thank god it is not a lost cause :)
I find egolessness an incredibly beautiful characteristic in a person. I hope to be able to emulate some of the egoless people I have been lucky enough to meet sometime. There would be no 'self-will' left to break. Nothing between me and the ability to harmonize with others.


The Turning Point said...

Fearfully we hide behind the persona that hoards our true self, our humanness and our compassion for each other.

thanks for your post


An Irish Friend of Bill said...

lovely quote thanks jim.

Syd said...

I would like to be totally authentic at all times. More and more authenticity of my spirit is occurring but when I am around those who I don't know well, I am guarded. Being guarded makes it hard to be authentic. Perhaps there is a balance there somewhere and one of these days I will live in such balance.

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

Ah I see. What you call 'guarded' though..might be a healthy thing? When I say authentic I don't mean I like to be an open book. I think its very healthy to not want to let anyone and everyone into my innermost thoughts. For me I like to be ? 'real' but that doesn't mean I feel obliged to disclose information. Perhaps that's what you mean by guarded? I think it is very healthy to withhold information in certain circumstances. Some monks are very good at maintaing a striking personal presence, yet saying very little. Thats where I learnt (what I call authenticity) from I think..

steveroni said...

In all the world there are not more hiding places than in the human heart.

Wish I knew who said/wrote that.

johno said...

It's lovely to read how you surrender and have found people you are able to trust and turn towards. Gentleness is so often lacking yet greatly needed by many :)

gentleness in itself is a strength and a gift, it can soften the biggest ego, bring faith to the most fearful, when used skillfully.

I love how they show you the truth and grow you with inspirationl words and actions, and that you let them over and over :)

much love

much love

Silver said...

Ego.. tough demon to beat for sure. Sometimes circumstances and events that happen in our lives are good teachers on this subject.


Anonymous said...

the mind.. chattering away.. I remember listening to teacher Adyashanti in a talk about what it would be like if we all had the caption bubbles above our heads, like in cartoons. Can you imagine!?? I sometimes make the error of thinking 'I bet I'm the only one who thinks this!'.. But you can tell by the look on people's faces really - as Eckhart will say 'lost in thought'.. when in REALITY, all is well, all is well. Recently, too, after seeing the picture of the inside of a brain and seeing there really isn't anything actually there.. you can't hold a thought nor see it - it literally has no weight - can't touch it - it's air no? bursts of energy maybe. I've heard 'no thought is true' - especially in the absolute sense :)

I've heard Byron Katie say that all thoughts are recycled - that there are no new stressful thoughts. That we THINK they are 'mine' but they are not and they are not personal. They can sure FEEL personal sometimes though for sure!!

Ah well, my 2 cents for what it is worth on this lovely day. Still love visiting ya here and I read often and always appreciate the writing here.

Thought of you last night (speaking of 'thoughts') as I was listening to an Ajahn Amaro talk :)

Much love,
Lana :) (molly)

Marty Byrne said...

Hi I just found your blog tonight, via Sober In 100 Days. It's quite interesting to read this quote from you, "I think we are very fortunate to get this ability to connect better with our fellow human beings as a by-product of recovery."

This is something I have wrote about a bit recently a couple of times and in my most recent update!!

It is very interesting when I think about what that means and then the fact that I have been saying to myself recently, that I would like to find more people to read my blog. In a way, they've found me.

Anyway, I am enjoying reading some of your entries. Thanks.


Anonymous said...