8-28-22 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. 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. We need to have a sense or feeling of what we’re doing, or are going to do, or we may 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, we will act by avoiding speaking up or acting when we should. If we react with anger, we try to force our way on others. Or, we may act off-handedly, like a smart ass. How easy it is to be judgemental, cute and subtly demeaning about others! These actions keep us from making any true connection with ourselves and others.

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 you focus on the (healthy) possibilities of what you now want and how to make that happen, you don’t get sucked into the fear of what you don’t want. Forgive and feel compassion when others fail and when you fail, because we’re all imperfect humans on a wonderful journey.

If you feel you are being held back, have a barrier that is bringing difficulty to you, look dispassionately at what is happening. Just the facts. Are you feeling unworthy, misunderstood, perhaps you are feeling isolated. Ok what can you DO about it? Feel what is lacking and feel what action from you will be helpful. Replaying the same scernio or conversation over and over in your mind only reinforces the problem. What can you DO about it? Perhaps you will not succeed on a first try, so re-group and keep trying. You need to be able to step into your fear of failure and keep going in the right direction. Continuous right action, not continuous fear and acceptance of defeat.

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.) 

Right action will not bring an emotionally charged reaction that we may have experienced in an addiction, and that we may still subconsciously look for. Right action is continuing to build a strong foundation that will weather well, and bring an appreciation for whatever comes.

When we take right action, it simply feels right. No brass band, no fireworks, a simple feeling of knowing it is right. This is where a sense of contentment grows and gently erases our old behaviors that bring tension and confusion. As we sometimes revert to harmful behaviors, we become aware of doing so. We don’t demean ourselves nor continue misbehaving. We see our error and move to correct it. We begin being aware of our actions, being willing to see our errors as messages, lessons we learn from. We want to behave well because we finally see that is the only way we will lessen our suffering and discord.

The five Precepts in Buddhism are.

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 a cheap 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, we learn and grow.

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. 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 joyful and difficult sometimes, and try to help others.

You are your best teacher, pay attention 

I am never closer to my Higher Power than when I am taking 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
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.

Heart Of Recovery web site  — fcheartofrecovery.com