11-10-19 Right Action

Right Action

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 major 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 (catering to ourselves). 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.” You stop at a red light, not bemoaning that the universe is NOT catering to your needs. You simply stop, that’s all.

“Intention is the pillar of worship and the foundation of actions,” as the Prophet Mohammad noted.Intention is a pillar, not the entire building. You must carry through with the right action.

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 feel fear 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, we will act by avoiding something, such as speaking up or acting when we should. If 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 are not respecting ourselves, and will continue to act in ways that distance us from our true self and from others. If we do not believe in ourselves, in our innate goodness, we will try to fill the hole of doubt with many temporary satisfactions that only bring more difficulty. That is where addiction and relapse begin.

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, imperfect humans on a wonderful journey. 

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 five Precepts in Buddhism are
1. To abstain from taking life. 2. To abstain from taking what is not given.
3. To abstain from sensuous misconduct. 4. To abstain from false speech.
5. To abstain from intoxicants that cloud the mind.

These in effect define Right non-action. Don’t do these things, AND implied in the precepts is the
necessity of taking Right Action.

1. We work to protect all living things and this planet that sustains life.
2. 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. 
3. In awareness of the pain caused by sexual misconduct, we honor commitments and also act when we can to protect others from sexual exploitation. A sexual union with someone should be consensual and a commitment, not another joy ride.
4. Loving speech and deep listening. This means avoiding language that causes hostility and discord. Through deep listening to others, we tear down the barriers that separate us.
5. 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. How much time do you spend on your phone or computer just goofing off? A bit is fine for relaxing, but we too often become addicted to frivolous useless pursuits and waste hours of our lives. Life is precious!

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. 

I am never closer to my Higher Power than when I am taking Right Action.

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 in the right direction.
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.
Heart Of Recovery web site  —  fcheartofrecovery.com