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Addictions/health

Hello,

A few people have mentioned addictions in the last week and I was going to tag this to the 'Rehabilitating Hurt' thread following Trimpi's comments there, but my comments grew into a 5-headed Hydra so I thought best to start a new one lol.

I have a few months of looking under my belt and last night experienced for the first time a sense of seeing 'me'. It was actually rather startling. Momentarily I was disoriented by the sameness of the experience of me as a 6 year-old and me as a 47 year-old. I did occur to me that it was very odd to have kids of my own that I was supposed to be responsible for when I was no different to them. But that is a digression...

I have a long-standing addiction that I have worked through the 12-Step programmes and latterly on my own for the last 3 years, with abstinence for a long while now and substantial physical recovery. Since starting to look at myself though, it is really kicking me. You mentioned this Trimpi and it rang bells. I wonder if, up to now, the mechanisms for maintaining abstinence/health (for me, I don't wish to speak for others) were part of the psychological structures that John talks about, that, when the looking does its work, are either redundant or just shown to be fear-beliefs that kept me from indulging in my addiction. That is, the control mechanisms that managed the abstinence were part of the fear of life? They seemed to be effective and desirable mechanisms, but now they are collapsing. I hope this makes some kind of sense. John, if you are reading this, I would really find it helpful if you have time to address the issue of addiction if you feel moved to. In the meantime, any shared experience would be great to hear. I should add, I write this not in panic or desperation, but it certainly is quite a shift!

I am also noticing other areas of my life where I am addicted and it is not a pleasant revelation. These are areas where I 'put myself to sleep' or just fill up time, for it to be over with, like spending hours distracted on the PC when I am working...

With thanks for the space to get this stuff down.

Best wishes,

Emma ~

Emma, are you saying that you have returned to a previous addiction?

John

Dear Emma,

I would second John's question. I have some personal experience in this arena that might be helpful, after the fact.

Much Love

Mike

Hello John,

I apologise for being oblique! To be specific, I have an eating disorder. I was 350lbs and morbidly obese. I dropped 168lbs through the 12-Step programmes and then outside the programmes. I mainained that for the last 4 or so years but currently I am finding it hard to keep up my abstinence (though by no means eating at the previous level). Perhaps the scale of the change I had made is making me panic a little at any change now. I am doing the looking and it seems like some of the structures I used to keep my life running smoothly are being challenged. Keeping up with teen twins, my food, my animals, a relationship, running a business etc seems to be a little challenging when it feels as if all the structures relating to these things aren't holding - as if I don't have firm footing any more. I wonder if fear of life put lots of the structures in place and they are seeming redundant or faulty now? BUT, it all kind of feels ok too at the same time. I kind of trust the disintegration in a way I haven't before because the 'me' when I look is undeniably there. Does that make any sense? Sorry, I have a tendency to use lots of words lol!

Best wishes and thanks to you, and to all,

Emma ~

Emma, I look on it like a passing phase. As such its power is benign. It is, like you say, kicking you instead of you kicking it. Experience, even thoughts and feelings and emotions, pass through us. The struggle to get rid of the things we don't like about what we experience signals suffering. Those control mechanisms you mention aren't the problem and are not part of the solution, and I wouldn't be too concerned about the whys and wherefores of their appearance in your life. They were here; now they're gone, except for their shadows (trails if you prefer).

It never hurts to see who you have become, pleasant or not. I just don't put much stock in the findings, because they too come and go. Nothing is stable except you. For once in our lives we can look for that which is stable. What a relief and a blessing to be able to come back to that which doesn't change! Even if the looking doesn't produce the miraculous change promised (the end or diminishment of misery and suffering), it's something we can do without feeling like we've failed or can't do it right. And if those feelings do arise, we'll know they come and go like everything else and look when we're ready again. In the meanwhile, we'll do the best we can with our addictions. Soon the decisions as to how to deal with them will become easier, whether or not the mechanisms you mention collapse. We'll hold on to the ones that seem to work best for us and dump the ones that don't. The difference after practicing the looking is not that the choices we make will be right but that they will be more self-evident and easier to make. trimpi

Hello,

I feel that I may be swamping this link with stuff lol, this must be my own personal glut of confusion working itself out. Anyway, thank you all for your patience.

This also seems an important thing to say (or maybe it is just more melodrama raising its head). I come from a period of deep commitment to spiritual belief and reading, of which the last 2 years have been spent largely in seclusion (well, as much as you can be with kids and a life to attend to). I read and read and read fanatically and trawled the 'net for as much as I could digest on Advaita etc. I rarely socialised and lost some contact with friends. I spent my days in thought about One-ness and so forth, twisting my brain round concepts, working with teachers who took me through 'gates' etc. I would say I also had an addiction to abstraction and concepts. They turned me on as much as anything could! Finding John's work feels like being a fish washed up on shore. The seeking after 'the Truth' just stopped. It does feel like going cold turkey. I can't see any point in picking up a book again or walking that path. It has been a shock to the system, let alone doing the looking. I had declared that I dedicated my whole life to 'finding out the truth'. Well, that didn't work. It feels as if the absorption in concepts is in itself life-denying - shut away and safe from life. I am not sure if I am correct and this is a degree of sanity and clarity or it is just another belief...I am confused (lol...did you notice?!). What a switch-back ride this is!!

Best wishes,

Emma ~

EmmaD

Hello,

I feel that I may be swamping this link with stuff lol, this must be my own personal glut of confusion working itself out. Anyway, thank you all for your patience.

This also seems an important thing to say (or maybe it is just more melodrama raising its head). I come from a period of deep commitment to spiritual belief and reading, of which the last 2 years have been spent largely in seclusion (well, as much as you can be with kids and a life to attend to). I read and read and read fanatically and trawled the 'net for as much as I could digest on Advaita etc. I rarely socialised and lost some contact with friends. I spent my days in thought about One-ness and so forth, twisting my brain round concepts, working with teachers who took me through 'gates' etc. I would say I also had an addiction to abstraction and concepts. They turned me on as much as anything could! Finding John's work feels like being a fish washed up on shore. The seeking after 'the Truth' just stopped. It does feel like going cold turkey. I can't see any point in picking up a book again or walking that path. It has been a shock to the system, let alone doing the looking. I had declared that I dedicated my whole life to 'finding out the truth'. Well, that didn't work. It feels as if the absorption in concepts is in itself life-denying - shut away and safe from life. I am not sure if I am correct and this is a degree of sanity and clarity or it is just another belief...I am confused (lol...did you notice?!). What a switch-back ride this is!!

Best wishes,

Emma ~

Dear Emma,

This is the first time I've posted so I hope I'm doing it all right (lom).

I can't help but feel great tenderness reading this last post of yours. I certainly have been in the state that you are reporting today. All I can say is that you are not alone, you are fine just the way things are going, and all will be well. So relax if you can. I have been feeling a need to be patient.

George

EmmaD

it feels as if all the structures relating to these things aren't holding - as if I don't have firm footing any more. I wonder if fear of life put lots of the structures in place and they are seeming redundant or faulty now? BUT, it all kind of feels ok too at the same time. I kind of trust the disintegration in a way I haven't before because the 'me' when I look is undeniably there.

Dear Emma,

No, the structures aren't holding - and I think those changing structures are helping allow you to see that you are unchanging through it all. You get the chance to see that the you-ness of you doesn't go anywhere or change at all. You get the chance to see that you can trust your you-ness (what it feels like to be you). So as the walls of conditioning come crashing down, you know that you are you and still feel like you, and you see that what you feels like is not a concept. The looking is doing its work, and will take care of everything. All is well,

Jenny

Hang in there Emma!

Circumstances didn't always feel better for me, but they certainly felt different. I appreciate your honesty. It is helping me to understand, and to see much more clearly how all of the safety structures that I clung to for so long, were no longer necessary. It was quite a shock for me too, in my own way. Felt like (and still does, sometimes) the earth's gravity stopped working for a little while. Jenny and Trimpi pretty much summed up anything else I could think to say.

Thanks to you all for your being here.

Best

Mike

Addictions/health

EmmaD

I would say I also had an addiction to abstraction and concepts... It feels as if the absorption in concepts is in itself life-denying - shut away and safe from life.

Emma ~

Dear Emma,

I too am in recovery from an addiction to abstraction and concepts. It is the main way I have separated myself from my life.

Once during a meditation, I asked, What is my next step? After some time passed in quiet mind, I heard the answer in a thought: Don't believe any thought...not even this one! Looking is the way I reconnect to my life. Life is so much richer and satisfying when the concept filter is missing. Lera Jane

Hello dear friends,

Thank you all for your kind and insightful feedback. Each one of you said something that helps me.

So, in essence, this is all a passing show of events and experiences, and the wonder of life is that we get to be here for all of it? And without the fear of life none of what is passing by is seen to be 'attached' to me but rather just another phenomenon? That the show is 'it', life, and none of it actually impinges on me? There is nothing to get and nowhere to go? Does this also imply that no theories, concepts or ideas I have about life actually matter, though they might be a fun way to pass some time? That is quite a leap of perspective, I think they call it a paradigm shift.

The only way I can describe what I feel now is like the control mechanisms have dropped out and a kind of beautiful chaos reigns. I don't mean my life has fallen apart (the kids got fed, the work got done), but without scrambling to hold together all the 'correct' ideas that govern my world and the micro-planning that I believed kept me safe, it feels unnerving. And richer.

Thanks for your kind thoughts everyone. It is brilliant stuff!

Best wishes,

Emma ~

finding the truth

@Emma - I definitely think that the mental structures you were using to fight addiction or any other unwanted thing were probably themselves largely corrupted by the Fear of Life, as you suggest, so that as the conditioning comes crashing down, as Jenny says, those heretofore "helpful" structures that kept the bad at bay may be failing to avail you now. This is somewhat my experience too.

In terms of what you said about "finding the truth"....well, you certainly are justified in abandoning that search....but I would suggest that you already found the truth. YOU. Isn't that the end of the line? After all, if there were any truth to be found, it would have to be YOU that found it. In other words, obviously, YOU must inarguably be higher and more fundamental than any other truth that could possibly be found. You can see for yourself that all other things (consciousness, presence, being, love, manifestation, duality & non-duality, inward vs outward, etc.) are happening within and coming out of YOU, so that YOU are the...the...well, the end of the line...the definition of Truth.

But yes, as I know well, your previous desire for "truth" was almost certainly a secret desire to escape from life. So that, what John promises (complete loving immersion in life) is the best gift we could imagine, right?

@Jenny - Although it hasn't worked for me yet, I'll work on trusting my me-ness as you say. Certainly it's constant. That's what I've been hoping to do, but somehow it hasn't seemed to offer much comfort when the scheisse hits the fan.

@trimpi - Absolutely. What a great summary.

Hello friends,

@George - hello - so nice to meet you here and thank you for your words. Relaxation and patience are words that keep coming to me here, and I will take them to heart. I keep doing the looking, not knowing if it is 'right' or not, but I sense that it is doing its work.

@Gerrit - thank you for such lucid words. Your first sentence managed to sum up what I was trying to say exactly. 'Complete loving immersion in life' - Yes! That appears to be showing up, albeit alongside the slight panic I feel as the structures give way. It manifests as being able to speak with and enjoy being with others with far less fear than previously, with less 'at stake'. Rather than being in an ivory tower of seclusion in judgement ('I am seeing after the Truth, don't you know' lol) I am getting stuck in with actually interacting with people.

With best wishes to all,

Emma ~

without angst

The way I see it, everything, even cancer and tragedy, would be all right--just part of the raw adventure of life--so long at there wasn't the angst that made everything bitter and damaging; "angst" is the word I use for the kind of fear that causes suffering. Life without angst: that's what I'm hoping will come out of this looking.

@Emma - You're extremely welcome, and I'm glad to hear you sound positive and that your life hasn't "fallen apart." Unfortunately, I was one of those people whose lives did fall apart, so for me the road of recovery is also almost like trying to survive. That's why I have so much stake in it.

Unimprovable reality

gerrit

The way I see it, everything, even cancer and tragedy, would be all right--just part of the raw adventure of life--so long at there wasn't the angst that made everything bitter and damaging; "angst" is the word I use for the kind of fear that causes suffering. Life without angst: that's what I'm hoping will come out of this looking.

I can't help but of think of Hamlet and the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." But not in the "oh my god this means something and I need to understand it and tell everybody" kind of way that was so common for so long. These days it's as if my perspective is becoming more and more involuted.

Hamlets amazingly twisted and tragic story is summed up in his dying words: "... the rest is silence."

The love of pure genius is so much more penetrating now that "life without angst" is starting to slowly settle in. This thread is helping me to see clearly that some of the writings and practices that I used to desperately believe in, are actually a thousand times more therapeutic now, without any effort on my part.

I used to neurotically repeat the mantra, "out of the shit grows flowers" to myself for years and try with all my heart to desperately believe it. Now, when I hear the phrase I think, "oh yeah, that's true!"

I'm also starting to see that everything I've ever hoped to come out of the looking has been dwarfed by the unimprovable reality of the way life unfolds in front of me.

So much gratitude for this simple act of inward looking, and for being in this adventure with you all!

Best

Mike

gerrit

@Jenny - Although it hasn't worked for me yet, I'll work on trusting my me-ness as you say. Certainly it's constant. That's what I've been hoping to do, but somehow it hasn't seemed to offer much comfort when the scheisse hits the fan.

Hey Gerrit,

You could say YOU are experiencing the desire for comfort. There YOU are, and there's the perceived desire for comfort. When the scheisse hits the fan, there YOU are, and there's the perception of the scheisse hitting the fan. You are untouched by comfort or scheisse. One is perceived to feel good, and one is perceived to feel bad. There is the perceived movement from the bad to the good. Without the opposites, there is no movement and no life. Only YOU remain. But as John says, it's the perceived "desire to go to sleep" that fuels the search for permanent comfort. Life is not about permanent comfort - it wouldn't be life if it were. The point of the looking is to know that you are always you, and not helped or hurt by comfort or scheisse or life. All is well, in the midst of comfort and scheisse!

Jenny

Disagree

Jenny

There YOU are, and there's the perceived desire for comfort. When the scheisse hits the fan, there YOU are, and there's the perception of the scheisse hitting the fan. You are untouched by comfort or scheisse ... The point of the looking is to know that you are always you, and not helped or hurt by comfort or scheisse or life. All is well, in the midst of comfort and scheisse!

Jenny

Dear Jenny - I really don't want to tear away your hopes or anything, and I really do very much appreciate your efforts at consolation and guidance here, but I simply disagree with you in two respects: 1) These understandings do not reliably help, and 2) knowing that I am always me may not be the point of the looking.

I understand what you are trying to say. Five months ago or so I could have uttered your own words back to you verbatim. And at that time I was convinced that this deep insight and understanding and abiding truth would help. But it just doesn't seem to work that way. It can help for a time, but the craziness is more powerful and this is why: because the truth-understanding is coming only from a conscious level, but the craziness is coming from a subconscious level that is prior to conscious thought.

John himself has made very clear that there is no "knowing" that comes out of the looking, and even if there is, knowing is not what actually makes you sane and is totally irrelevant.

Knowing that I am constant and fundamentally invulnerable to life doesn't take away the feeling that life sucks. And that's all there is to it.

I'm glad that these new perspectives are helping you, and I hope they always will. Thanks for your kind intentions.

Gerrit

discernment of the fundamentally invulunerable

gerrit

Knowing that I am constant and fundamentally invulnerable to life doesn't take away the feeling that life sucks. And that's all there is to it.

Gerrit

Hazza!

I knew that 25 years ago when I did an in-depth study of the Edgar Cayce readings, which are even more amazing to me now. And critical discernment seems much more flawed than is used to, but it is also much more fun and interesting.

much Love

Mike

PS. Imagine Dori the fish in Finding Nemo altering her lines a little: "Just keep looking, just keep looking, just keep looking"...smily

 

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