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 24, 2006

My (all learned as opposed to original) ideas of what constitutes a balanced attitude to difficult emotions

The 'rule' I learned from a senior monk that I use is: 'Neither repression nor indulgence'. stated by the monk as 'We walk a fine line between repression and indulgence'.
Another guiding principle I use is contained in the poem by Thich Nhat Hanh called 'Call Me By My True Names', where he says,

'My joy is like Spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth. My pain is like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans.'

I think this is pretty accurate as (in my opinion) we all share the 'collective unconscious' which contains ALL emotions. Besides, we are all hopelessly interconnected anyway, so we cannot help but experience the limitless collective emotional experience, good bad and ugly.

But even if you choose to view it from a purely personal historical perspective, we can all still access limitless sources of pain and joy if we so choose by selective focus on different glass half full/ half empty perspectives.

I suppose my favorite summary of the incredible 'flexibility' of the mind is in the slogan 'You MOVE TOWARDS, and BECOME LIKE, THAT WHICH YOU THINK ABOUT, whether it is good for you, or bad for you'.

This seems to be true on EVERY level for me. Both in a very worldly practical sense, and in an utterly inexplicable 'other' worldly sense.
I have Sponsees with pretty disturbed pasts, and they are able to feel real joy in their hearts 'provided they remain willing to follow a few simple rules'. So you CAN have peace of mind, no matter what your history. Thank god this programme goes FAR beyond logic in it's application..

Basically, you can feel your feelings without letting them 'run the show' or be 'in charge'. It takes a bit of practice though, as we tend to clumsily veer toward imbalanced viewpoints. Like any skill, it gets better with practice!


twodogsblogging said...

So if I experience what Thich Nhat Hanh calls "True Names," I'm not necessarily manic depressive? I swing on the pendulum, it seems, between despair and vast joy, so great that it often fills my breast and leaks out my eyes. Glad I'm not alone in this universe. Thanks for this post!

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

Well thanks 2dogs! Hmm. Well I don't know if what he is describing is a 'swinging' mood, rather than a coexisting one? Thats my interpretation anyway. Having seen him in person on various retreats he certainly does not appear on the surface to show any 'mood' as such other than benevolence. I think all senior monks and some lay practicioners develop a very strong 'constitution' for holding very powerful (good and bad) mindstates in conciousness, which would drive the likes of you and me a bit (!!!) mad. it takes many years, sometimes many lifetimes to build up that kind of relisence and steadiness of the mind. The more they develop their practice, the more they can withstand HUGE emotional pressure. Its a bit like weightlifitng, but with powerful or complling emotions instead of weights. in that the more you practice, the bigger the weights you can lift with ease. From what I've been told anyway..!! They are VERY peculiar animals indeed, those monks.