2-24-19 Action

Action

“If asked what the two most important things in recovery are, I would have to say willingness and action. When I am willing to do the right thing, I am rewarded with an inner peace no amount of liquor could ever provide. When I am unwilling to do the right thing, I become restless, irritable and discontent. It is always my choice. I am no longer at the mercy of a disease that tells me the only answer is to drink. If willingness is the key to unlock the gates of hell, it is action that opens those doors so that we may walk freely among the living.” My Chance to live, Alcoholics       Anonymous

If I put forth negative or needy energies, I will affect others in a negative or needy manner and be attracted to the same energies. If I put forth positive, gentle, life-affirming energies, I will bring that energy to the world and attract and be attracted to the same energies. I am responsible! I may have a ways to go, so I keep going.

In any addiction or obsession, actions are guided by selfishly getting whatI want, for me. We feel isolated, afraid, angry and confused. When we realize we must stop those harmful actions, we can’t just stop doing harm and then everything is great. We feel a hole, a loss of something we’re familiar and even comfortable with, which is nonetheless harmful and perhaps deadly. We have to find a new outlook, a new way to grow and connect with life and others. 

We can begin by taking right action in small things. We pick it up instead of walking past it, again, brush our teeth, make our beds, open the door for others. We can clean the bathroom before we HAVE to. Let someone into line in front of you, do the laundry and look for things to do that are helpful, and that are the right thing to do, instead of “getting away with as much as we can.” 

The small things are where we start. But righteous action must be accompanied by good intention in order for it to be accepted and properly rewarded. Most sacred actions can be spoiled because of the wrong intention, while the simplest actions can get heavily rewarded because of the purely good intentions behind them. “Intention is the pillar of worship and the foundation of actions,” as the Prophet Mohammad noted.

First, pay attention. If we do not have a sense or feeling of what we’re doing, or are going to do, we will act from old, destructive behaviors. If we can feelfear or anger come up before we act, we will know that this is what we’re feeling and we’ll have a choice of how to act. If we react from fear, for example, we will act by avoiding something, such as speaking up or acting when we should. If, on the other hand, we react through anger, we may try to force our way on others. Or, we may act off-handedly, like a smart ass. How easy it is to be cute and subtly demeaning about others! But both actions keep us from making any true connection with ourselves and others. If we cannot respect other people, we cannot respect ourselves, and will continue to act in ways that distance us from our true self and from others. If I do not believe in myself, in my innate goodness, I will try to fill the hole of my doubt with many temporary satisfactions that only bring more difficulty.

Everyone’s happiness counts the same. Prejudice and discrimination have no place here, because each individual counts the same when calculating the happiness produced by our actions. Remember YOU also count as much as anyone else. Do not discriminate against yourself. Do not   demean or bad-mouth yourself. Believe in yourself and forgive yourself when you goof up. That is the right action. When I focus on the (healthy) possibilities of what I now want and how to make that happen, I don’t get sucked into the fear of what I don’t want. I forgive and feel compassion when others fail and when I fail, because we’re all trying.  We need help and patience sometimes.

The Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh said, “The basis of Right Action is to do everything in mindfulness.”  (This means being awareof what we are considering doing, and then acting from our hearts, and knowingexactly what it is we are doing, and why.) 

The first training involvesrespecting life. We work to protect all living things and this planet that sustains life.

The second training involves generosity. We give freely of our time and resources where they are needed, without hoarding things we don’t need. We do not exploit other people or resources. 

The third training involves sexuality and avoiding sexual misconduct. In awareness of the pain caused by sexual misconduct, we honor commitments and also act when we can to protect others from sexual exploitation.

The fourth training involves loving speech and deep listening. This means avoiding language that causes enmity and discord. Through deep listening to others, we tear down the barriers that separate us.

The fifth training involves what we consume. This includes nourishing ourselves and others with healthful food and avoiding intoxicants. It also involves what books we read or what television programs we watch. Entertainments that are addictive or cause agitation are best avoided.

My innate basic goodness, my spiritual center is always present and available. I come from that center many times every day without thinking about it, which is the only way to touch into the Sunlight of the Spirit. Not with thought, but from our heart center which we have learned to access  through meditation, prayer, and an awareness of reality beyond our small self. Believe in yourself, feel completely worthy of a good life that is difficult sometimes, and try to help others. 

What would it feel like to fully believe in yourself? Try it on; it will become a good fit.

The True Joy in life comes from a gentle but firm discipline, that results in Right Action.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.

Heart Of Recovery web site  —  fcheartofrecovery.com


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