Being vs Reacting

Hola Everybody,
Though I have known it at an intellectual level, the past election cycle has made me actually integrate the fact that there is no Left — no progressive movement — in the US.

I was looking at the calendar and I realized I have just a couple of days and I will completed my commitment to post at least one blog per day for the whole year of 2016. I don’t know if I will continue into 2017 at the same pace…

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Don’t say such changes cannot happen. A vast freedom could live inside you. A loaf of bread wrapped in a cloth for the table is just an object, but inside the human body, it becomes gladness for being alive!
— Rumi

 

I guess that if you wanted to get somewhere, an accurate map is a good place to start. It can make the difference between arriving at your destination with ease and becoming hopelessly lost. However, imagine, for a moment, that when you ask a friend who has just raved about a restaurant where it is, she says, “Just visualize the restaurant clearly. Post a sign on your refrigerator door that says, ‘I can easily and joyfully find any restaurant I want!’ That’s all you need to do.”

I’m sure most people would think such a statement silly — and they would be correct. But what if my destination is “self-acceptance”? What if all I wanted was to reach a state of inner wholeness that I have never experienced before? As in the directions to the restaurant in the above example, I may have heard wonderful things about it, but I had never been there and don’t know how to get there. Perhaps many of us can relate having been told to, “Just do it. Just accept yourself.” That’s a lot like being told to “Just go to the restaurant,” without being given any directions.

Today, I am grateful for having that direction in my life, for the luxury of experiencing self-acceptance.

Better yet, what if you ask how to get to a restaurant and you’re told that before you can even begin to try to find this restaurant you need to spend several months, or even years, thinking about how bad your own cooking is. That before you can experience this restaurant you will need to explore the reasons why you aren’t happy with your own cooking and why you have this need to go to the restaurant in the first place. In addition, before you can go to this restaurant, you also have to understand how you became such a bad cook. I would say this is sillier than the previous example.

A common belief is that if we understand a problem well enough, it will simply disappear. Yet in my life I could have, at any given moment, articulated the intricate psycho-dynamics of, let’s say, a $300-a-day heroin habit and still not change.

Today I am grateful for the freedom from the tyranny of thinking and the over analyzing that was the prison of my life — literally and figuratively — before I became free.

My life is not about affirmations or positive thinking. Shit, I have tried many times to overcome my limitations by sheer will power or trying to act or feel different, telling myself repeatedly that I would be different. But I discovered that this approaching the issue from the outside in. It is tantamount to trying to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. It’s a lot like taking pain medication for a broken bone: you might feel better for a little while, but if the bone isn’t set right, the pain will persist.

Today I am grateful for the many people who have helped me do the “inside job” of creating a lasting transformation.

Most of all, I am grateful for having an underlying sense of wholeness and well-being whether or not things are going well in my life in the moment. Even when things seem to be falling apart, I feel resourceful. I have had this experience numerous times and, little by little, it has become my default way of being. I am grateful for developing and maintaining an inner sense of self, well-being, and wholeness and perhaps a connection with something beyond myself, that sustains me in difficulty as well as in good times. I am grateful for the awareness that this inner sense of fullness and integrity, and a strong resourceful self is available to each of us, and is our own birthright.

Now, mind you, I ain’t all that well, and have times of when I become attached to sadness, frustration, despair, anger, and irritability — that’s part of being human. But I am equally grateful that even in those times I can still have an underlying sense of joy as my ground of being. I possess an inner knowing that I have the resources to weather the storms, an unbeatable sense of pragmatic optimism that I will come out on the other side of my difficulties not only intact, but also wiser and stronger.

What more could I ask of my life?

All of us have personal limitations we have struggled to overcome. With some of these challenges, it seems that no matter what we do, they won’t go away. Most of us turn away from those parts of ourselves we don’t like. We try to repress feelings we don’t want to have. We try to “think positively” and push away negative thoughts. These approaches will never work — they never seem to create natural, lasting change. Besides, at least half of life ain’t all that pretty and how can you expect good results if you’re busy denying a good chunk of reality?

I am here to say today that I am most grateful to be able to carry the message that the way to happiness is through our limitations.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, please consider helping me out by sharing it, liking me on Facebook, following me on Twitter, or even throwing me some money on GoFundMe HERE or via PayPal HERE so I can keep calling it like I see it.

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One thought on “Being vs Reacting

  1. I just can’t get into the restaurant analogy. I have tried, but it would take a spoken dialog. Here is what I say about the need to spend years in a healing situation: there are people whose parent(s) do not wish to see them happy. There are parents who are happy when their children are sad. In fact they set up situations which are designed to make the child sad, to have the child hate him/herself or feel unworthy. If this starts in babyhood and continues through early adulthood, the perceived limitations are false, and there is no way to happiness through them.

    Some lucky people meet someone who does not wish them to be sad or self-loathing. (Rarely, if ever, is this person a friend or spouse. I am talking knowledgable psychotherapist.) With skill, the patient/client can come to understand that most people want them happy. They start by trusting that their therapist wants them to be happy. And they start to see the game was always rigged but, amazingly, there is a way out. This requires a phase shift. It is impossible at first to believe. It is hard for people who had nice parents, or good enough parents, to understand the depths of cruelty some parents. But it is there.

    The way out is to trust one person. Then to understand our true selves. It takes awhile. Our true limitations might be different from what we were taught. But love changes a person. It physically changes the brain. It heals.

    So much of what you said is true. But without having been loved, it is very hard. I was lucky, I was loved. But it took awhile.

    Like

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