Friday, May 3, 2013

Faith Versus Fear

The topic for the meeting was “faith versus fear” and I commented that my brain usually generates thoughts based on fear and that my heart usually generated feelings based on love/faith.  I also commented that, over the time in recovery, I have learned to have my brain serve my heart rather than the other way around, which is what I was taught.  Put another way, I strive to begin with love/faith and attempt to act and think accordingly, a simple but not easy concept.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Love & Respect Versus Fear & Judgement

I was reminded today of the very different feelings and outcomes due to personal interactions based on love/respect/understanding versus interactions based on fear/judgment/ shame.  This is something I have much personal experience with, both toward myself and others.  It is also something I have witnessed many times.  Generally speaking, interactions based on fear/judgment/shame result in feelings like hurt, defensiveness and anger, with no or limited growth.  There may also be compliance, but at a cost.  The same sort of interaction, based on love/respect/understanding could also result in compliance, but through willingness, a win-win situation, frequently coupled with growth.
Two examples come to mind.  In the case of a child who has broken something in the act of being a child, meaning exploring his/her world.  It is possible to yell at the child, tell him/her they were bad and punish them in some way.  It is also possible to understand that part of the role of a child is to, sometimes clumsily, explore different ways of doing things, point out what happened and offer to help the child fix what he/she broke.
In the case of adults, when an adult takes some sort of action which has an undesirable result, it is possible to tell the person that he/she was foolish or stupid and then tell them to do it over again differently, sometimes resulting in a more desirable outcome.  On the other hand, it is also possible to believe they were doing the best they could, given their cultural or personal history and then to make a suggestion as to how they could do it differently.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Today, I was struck by extreme feelings of gratitude.  It is certainly true that I lead a life which is based largely on being of service to others.  My life is based on love and being of service just comes naturally.  It is also true that I have pretty extreme physical challenges which limit my activities.  As a result of my limited physical abilities, I require a great deal of support.  Combining these two approaches to life means that I give a lot and receive a lot, meaning I am very deeply connected to other people and the process of life in general.  There is a great deal of inter-dependence in my life, including my wife, Maria, and numerous friends.  It is a wonderful way to live.

Monday, April 29, 2013

My Puppy Brain

Like I said yesterday, I spend much of my life living in the present.  Today I spent several hours fretting about future events and possibilities, a waste of time, energy and a good example of being silly and human!  The contrast between yesterday and today was very useful.  What I did to remedy the situation was to sit and meditate about my fear and, finally, realized that “the universe is unfolding as it should” (Ehrmann), moving back to the present.  As Jack Kornfield suggested, I treated my brain like a warm, stupid puppy, and simply guided it back to the present in a loving, gentle way.  It’s nice to be back after a brief reminder of my humanity.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Living in the Present

During the lodge last night I said “I don’t understand what is going on, I am confused and I’m good with that”.  The fact is that much of my life is quite uncertain and up in the air, so I live very much in the present.  I get fairly clear guidance about what the next right action is and then take that action, frequently without knowing why.  My actions are based firmly on faith and love.  This way of life requires a lot of non-attachment and the absence of ego.  Attachment, along with the associated emotions, or ego involvement make it impossible for me to stay in the present.  This way of life has also required a good deal of training and discipline, but it is exciting and the outcome is usually very good for all involved.