Thursday, July 22, 2010
In the 12 Steps, the 3rd step refers to "turning our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him."
I have been thinking about this phrase for several days. I do relate to a Higher Power (as is spoken of in these meetings) as being the wisdom of Buddha--known collectively as the Dharma.
This is not the traditional way of engaging in this step, but I find that I cannot do this thing of letting go of mindless or emotionally-triggered eating on my own and I must turn to my Higher Power in earnest for assistance.
But as I thought about it this morning, I focused on how the "turning over" part sounds like a passive activity. That's easy--just decide to "turn it over" and I'll have it made. But for years that idea of letting something else in the universe "fix" me (or fix the results of my poor choices) has not worked. I am starting to understand that the "turning over" part is not passive--not if I hope for it to work in my life.
Turning Over forces me to recognize that the choices I make, when not in a mindful and aware place, are often poor ones. That there is a higher power that has the wisdom I lack, but aligning myself with that power is an enormous undertaking. At least for me, in the way that I am thinking about this.
The Dharma instructs us that for us to have a life that will lead to happiness (for ourselves and others) it is necessary to faithfully and constantly move through our day in a manner that is aware of all that we do--and not be distracted by thoughts that invite us to do careless things that will end badly. It is all about making wise and useful decisions at the time--rather than trying to fix things later.
And its not just about reading the books, listening to others talk about how to do it--all of which is fascinating to me; its really about my decision to live in that way. Otherwise, all of my interest in hearing and learning about it is just a little distraction for a while until I am called away to do something else.
It is dawning on me slowly, that this is not meant to be something interesting to learn about--but a matter of life and death almost, in terms of the quality of life choices one will henceforth make on this path.
Does that sound too dramatic? Well, every time I can't say no to eating something I hadn't planned on, or especially when I turn to food for comfort--and eat till I just can't eat anymore--that's a life & death decision. I know that--my doctors tell me that my extra weight is cutting years off my life. Which doesn't mean a lot until I am in the solitude of my own space--then I feel so very sad that I struggle, alone, every day with a habit that will keep me from living some of the precious years of my life.
Unless I "turn it over" to a higher power as I understand it. What I understand through the Dharma, are the Precepts that guide us not to do actions that will hurt ourselves or others. They are very specific--but they are not so easy to stick with. They cover things such as not gossiping, not taking intoxicants, not doing harm to any living creature, and so forth.
How does one go through a day without mindlessly doing things like that sometimes? Swat at a bug? That's a living creature who needs its space and life just as I do. Speak gossip about someone? That person will be injured by my carelessness, just as if I had done it to them directly. Do not take intoxicants? Well, for me, a binge at night (that starts out as just a simple and healthy snack) can be very intoxicating.
This turning it over is a complicated commitment, and I am realizing more and more that it may be the hardest of the 12 steps to achieve. However, I am grateful for the Precepts to guide me, and I am going to focus on realizing them (that is, making them REAL) in my actions, not just in theory.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Mindlessness is such a common behavior. We live in a world that seems to value multi-tasking more than a life filled with simple focused actions. Yet, the brain can only concentrate on one thing at a time (when multi-tasking, it seems as though the brain is handling many things, but in fact, the brain is rapidly oscillating its focus back and forth between different objects).
How have we created such a lifestyle? It does not serve us well. A life filled with distractions, and then guilt for not doing more!
Today, I will again work to focus on one thing at a time--whether it is allowing my eyes to see something fully, my ears to hear, my tastes to savor a food quality or even a thought to be present in my mind. And then, avoid trying to hold on to the experience (which is the root of addictions). That is the key--be present to the touch, sound, taste, idea...and let it go so that life may move on. To do otherwise, is the equivalent of mental hoarding. I will work on Letting Go.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Reading that comment by Ronna Kabatznick struck me. I have been pondering it for two days now. It is the simple truth of our existence. Mindlessness is the habit of not paying attention to what kind of wanting is taking place (usually covertly) for most of the things we do.
It is important to practice paying attention to what is underneath even the slightest of actions, as a means to finding an inner awareness that can make life more meaningful and help avoid rash and impulsive behaviors and decisions.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Today, thoughts of remembering to become or remain aware are my focus. It can be so easy to simply act mindlessly, carelessly, thoughtlessly, impulsively, even recklessly--and I cannot say that I generally feel happy with the results. Yet, we are all conditioned to do so many things without consideration of what is happening, that one must learn a new skill in order to notice the myriad overt and covert triggers of automatic behaviors. Focus on breathing is one way to slow down, notice, turn away from reactions that are not thoughtful and then act from a mindful place.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Yesterday I made a commitment to a very dear friend--and to myself--that I would begin anew with eating mindfully.
While I do not feel that I have fully gotten away from it, events in my life have been unusually stressful in the past year--as they have for many around the globe. I have all-too-frequently turned to food for comfort.
Today, I need to do the simple task of re-aligning myself with healthier eating, and that will be a lot of thinking about how to use food as a support to living, rather than just comforting myself with it.
I think it may also help with the growing depression I've been feeling over all the things that have occurred in past months. Finding something constructive and spiritual is exactly what I let go of as I turned, in a self-absorbed way, too far into myself--seeking soothing more than solutions.
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