Saturday, July 20, 2013

Spiritual Growtth

I have been told and it is certainly my personal experience that one of the impediments to enlightenment or any serious spiritual growth, is the desire for that growth.  Any sort of pride at having achieved a certain level of growth, sometimes called “spiritual materialism”, is also an impediment.  What apparently works in the pursuit of spiritual growth is attempting to become a “clear vessel” by removing all pride, desires and attachments.  The closest analogy I can think of is that of a mirror which becomes increasingly clear and reflective as a person removes the attitudes, attachments and desires that cause clouding.  It has been my experience that the capability of spiritual growth, becoming that clear vessel, is in each of us, waiting for us to remove the impediments.  In my case, it is difficult to continually remove the impediments, but it also feels right and very fulfilling to do so.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Control Issues

The central topic at my recovery meeting today was the desire to control life and outcomes, basic control issues.  As I mentioned then, I used to be very controlling and my efforts caused a great deal of stress in my life (various addictive behaviors, an ulcer, poor sleep and a constant driven feeling).  During my recovery I have had my control “wrenched” from my grasp, meaning it has been made quite clear to me that I am in control of virtually nothing.  As Kornfield points out “To love fully and live well requires us to recognize finally that we do not possess or own anything---our homes, our cars, our loved ones, not even our own body.  Spiritual joy and wisdom do not come through possession but rather through our capacity to open, to love more fully, and to move and be free in life.”  I now take actions (participate fully in life) but also ask for support and guidance, as in my previous day’s entry, together with allowing the outcome to unfold as it will.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Magical Day

Once again, life just feels like a magical experience.  The big event for the day was the first sweat lodge that we have had for a couple of months, due to the burn restrictions, which have now been lifted.  I knew that I was not physically capable of directing the lodge preparation, dealing with eleven newly recovering young addicts and then leading the lodge.  As a result, I repeatedly asked for help, guidance and support.  I got all three and felt very strongly connected to God and the lodge.  Not surprisingly, the guys responded to my connection very positively.  They clearly realized that what was happening was not a “normal” experience.  One of them even commented “It’s like we are programmed to have a religious experience!”.  Very gratifying to be a part of the experience.
Earlier in the day, at a staff meeting an event took place which could have upset me, but did not.  Two people apologized to me about the event and I had to be reminded of the event they were talking about, since it meant little to me.  I am pleased that the event in the staff meeting meant so little to me, while I was very passionate about the lodge and the events of the afternoon.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Going With The Flow

My wife, Maria, and I are talking, once again, about selling our house and moving into a smaller place closer to town, or even in town.  I like the idea of simplifying our life a bit more, removing distractions and focusing on spiritual growth.  The idea of moving feels more positive than it has before.  There is also a feeling of fluidity, flowing movement, this time.  We have been talking about the possibility of moving for years, including the possibility of moving back east, to Maryland.  The various possibilities have always felt flat to me, as if nothing would happen.  This is the first time it feels positive.  Perhaps it is time.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I practice what I call “extreme recovery” (no TV, radio limited to human interest on NPR, no caffeinated beverages, limited sugar, healing meditation, begin each day with extended prayer and meditation, lots of service work, weekly sweat lodges, daily contact with other recovering addicts/alcoholics) primarily because it works for me.  I walk around each day feeling love for everything and everybody and I am doing very well, physically, in spite of some, potentially, major problems.  I have a very strong spiritual connection and I love my life.  My life is a model for other recovering people, but I hesitate to recommend the rigors of my life to others.
During the meeting tonight, several people talked about the negative behavioral consequences if they drift away from the recovery path, true for me as well.  In addition, I just learned of four friends who have returned to shooting heroin.  Maybe my method of recovery is not so extreme after all!  I think I will continue with my approach.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Power of Love

  Many years ago, while studying for my degree in animal behavior, one of my professors said “treasure your exceptions”, meaning to pay attention to the outliers since they contain valuable information.  Then, when I became disabled in 1987-88, I attended a workshop for people living with AIDS using the techniques of attitudinal healing (unconditional love, meditation, visualization).  One person at that workshop had been sent home from the hospital to die of his AIDS and, when I met him, he was vibrant, apparently healthy and HIV negative.  He was an outlier.  He also inspired me to try using the power of love and self-healing.  I am now an outlier as well.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Another very busy and long day with lots of connection with others in various different arenas.  The day began as I set up and then participated in a recovery meeting.  As usual, I had numerous brief but intense connections with other recovery friends.  After the meeting I had a period of about an hour of connecting with a variety of different plants around the meeting house.  The plants were feeling and smelling particularly vibrant since this is our rainy period, which they enjoy.  After that I went through several hours of interactions with individuals and families.  During all of the interactions, including those with plants, I made use of deep listening, intuition and guidance, which created a strong feeling of involvement.  The day was exhausting, in addition to being very fulfilling.
Along with the intensity I describe above there was also an underlying knowing that everything was, in addition to very intense and compelling, only a “game” to be enjoyed and participated in, but not taken to seriously.  Just like a very involving and long lasting game of Monopoly, it would last a while and then be over, until next time.  There was much talk and tears for life, death, general experiences and miracles, of various sorts, a wonderful set of experiences, but also transient.