12-20-20 Waking Up

Waking Up

When I was still using, I used to wake up not feeling well—sometimes really, really crappy, in fact—and was consumed with guilt and confusion. I was not always glad that I had woken up AGAIN. I then concentrated on how I could maintain my addiction, which involved being consumed with ME and how to manipulate others. I was absent and numb to any sense of the real world and others. I was in a nightmare.

Today when I wake up, I’m excited to see what the day will bring. I have learned to look compassionately on my past, to recognize my old harmful behaviors and let them prompt me to continue moving in a healthy direction to help others using what I’ve learned from my experiences. Remembering what it used to be like is helpful in recognizing how far I have come. Having an enormous sense of gratitude for that, and know that I can keep letting go of the past and not projecting the future which allows me to progress even further, right now.

Today, I’m sometimes still absent, numb, confused, in pain and fear. BUT—I am not consumed with these difficulties. I am so much more present, available to others, able to make plans and progress in life. The difficulties I do and will encounter I am present for; I don’t avoid them. I look honestly at them and use the tools of being aware and of feeling kindness towards myself to deal with them. I have found freedom from the shackles of my addiction of old as I move forward with a curiosity and sense of appreciation for whatever life brings.

Why do we still sometimes feel unhappy with our lot in life, with who we are? Basically it is because we are consumed with thinking about ourselves. What happens when we are not thinking about ourselves? How often does this sense of presence that is not consumed with self occur?

First, we have to be aware of what’s going on in our heads and hearts. Then, if we have the tools, we can make a choice about how we relate to what is actually happening, not just our version of reality. This is where Mindfulness and Awareness are essential. If I choose to go through life mindlessly, not being aware of what is affecting me or how I am acting, I am creating suffering.

My awareness is a discipline, or self-control, in that I KNOW what I am feeling and what direction I am heading before I act. I feel, I consider, and then I take action. If I mindlessly lash out with anger, or withdraw in fear, or refuse to even acknowledge what’s really going on, I will always cause harm. Sometimes it’s harm I cannot make amends for, and I may then feel frustrated and keep trying even harder to hide or get what I want. My mindfulness is my awareness of taking an action after consideration. If I have the awareness of where I am mindlessly headed, and the courage to drop my ego and fear and act in a peaceful and compassionate manner, I ‘wake up’ and may accomplish all things to the better. Slow down, relax, feel the world and wake up.

We say yes to simply feeling what is occurring, but not to engaging mindlessly in an emotion. When we can feel our world, accept it, give space to the feelings and have kindness for ourselves, we honestly acknowledge what is taking place. We permit our newfound wisdom concerning our past and the openness of NOW to inform us as to what the right action is. We are informed from within and from without. We are not only using our intellect, or rationalizing and justifying our actions. Reacting or rationalizing always comes from our small, selfish self. What we want to do is to permit our awakened nature, our kindness for ourselves and others, to come forth. This is waking up.

Once this level of self-love occurs, a door opens to the understanding of why the pain is there. As we befriend ourselves, we want to be loving as well as honest. Awareness reveals the cause/effect dynamic that created our wounds in the first place. We may have formulated negative beliefs about ourselves based on a set of circumstances we’ve experienced—often in childhood. We may feel less-than because we were too often corrected or put-down by a parent that had problems we could not understand. We can have compassion for those that were harsh with us, knowing they did the best they could and were suffering. 

Kindness, loving kindness, is always necessary when we honestly recognize our old wounds. With a tender heart, we’re able to embrace and accept ourselves so we quit hiding and acting out. This permits an innate aspect of wisdom and compassion to become part of our active senses.

Practically, what can we do? Engage in our spiritual path. The spiritual life is quite practical; it isn’t some lofty ideal that will never be reached. We can live and engage in both a spiritual and an earthly life. They mesh very nicely, and inform each other. With diligence, this balance comes, with many blessings. Even as our addiction was progressive, so is our recovery—as long as we make the right effort, informed with compassion.

When something is ill-affecting us, we take the time to stop and honestly look at what it is. We take five or ten minutes to just sit, look honestly at, and feel the little demon that is gnawing away at us. It is a darkness that cannot exist in the sunlight of awareness and kindness. We will see that it is something we’re creating and promoting, and that we can stop doing that. What was my part, what am I in resentment about, and what do I need to do, or how how can I just let it go?  Why wouldn’t we want to look at what is causing us to suffer? If we had a pebble in our shoe, we would stop and take it out.

We can begin letting it go, just like we do with thoughts during meditation. We can practice using the breath to bring us back to the stillness that informs and calms us. When we let the big “IT” go, we can open up to a vaster awareness that accommodates our problem but is not overwhelmed with it. It may well fade away, while we wonder why we were so consumed with it. Look at the amazing world that is available when we open our eyes, heart, and mind.

We appreciate life when we are PRESENT for it, not lost in our heads with schedules, resentments, fears or just feeling a little uneasy all the time. We still feel pain, and joy, and engage with the feelings, but are not overcome with them. It is all a part of living fully awake.

We need stillness and a spacious mind and heart to wake up, engage well with the world and to be at peace. Breathe deeply often and relax.  

“Wisdom comes with the ability to be still. No more is needed. Being still, looking, and listening activates the non-conceptual intelligence within you. Let stillness direct your words and actions Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found” Eckhart Tolle

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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