Free at last, free at last!

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chefchip
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Re: Free at last, free at last!

Post by chefchip » Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:36 am

Layne wrote:This would indicate that you are broken. Have you considered that the possibility that you are not broken, but merely the you that you are supposed to be. The question arises from the right fighter side of your personality.
avaneesh912 wrote:We could still state our opinion/experience and not be reactive.
leejosepho wrote:and that does ultimately amount to the "spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us." (12&12, Step Ten)
Which brings up something that I was unable to put into words until now. As the book points out, just because I ask for my shortcomings to be removed, just because I am ready for my character defects to be removed, doesn't mean that they will be, at least not on my timetable. For various reasons, certain defects/shortcomings may be necessary for me at any given time, I guess. Regardless, for me to just assume that they will be gone because I wish them gone is folly, even arrogance.

As pointed our above, it is probably not a bad thing that I feel a need to correct what I rightly perceive as wrong thinking, or wrong action. What can be a bad thing, however, is the manner in which I go about it. I don't need to apologize for my beliefs and opinions. But, when the manner in which I express those beliefs and opinions hurts, demeans or margianalizes another person, then I have crossed a line.

I am realizing that I haven't yet learned, or been taught, to just state my opinion and leave it at that. Once I get started, I'm a dog with a new bone -- I won't let go. This is especially pronounced when I can't see or hear the reactions of the other person. As is becoming more and more obvious, this is a bigger issue than the one I first posted on. There is a character defect here that, yes, is magnified by the "safe, online, quasi-anonymous" setting of Facebook. But, take away the FB vehicle and the only honest thing for me to say is that it would still be there.

In any case, I am disturbed. My brain is noisy, and I can't quiet it down. I am anxious, distracted and even at times angry. And I have not taken the time nor the effort to dig deep down and find the causes of all of this. Well, I haven't until a few days ago. All of this soul-searching keeps bringing me back to steps 6 & 7. For all I know, my shortcomings, my defects of character, may always be with me. Few, if any, may actuall "be removed." But in any case, I need a major shift in my attitude towards them. I need to learn how to live with them, to turn them to positives as much as possible, and not let them rule my life.

That's really no different than my attitude toward alcohol, now is it? "And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone -- even alcohol." Could I add "even our shortcomings, and defects of character?"
The only constant in life is change.

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Re: Free at last, free at last!

Post by avaneesh912 » Mon Oct 05, 2015 11:25 am

At certain point we need to transcend our mind. For some our own mind is the worst critic. I went through that crisis even after creating the inventory and running it by others.

I was listening to "Power of Now" - "Mind strategies for avoiding the Now" again:

Ordinary Unconsciousness And Deep Unconsciousness

What do you mean by different levels of unconsciousness?

As you probably know, in sleep you constantly move between the phases of dreamless sleep and the dream state. Similarly, in wakefulness most people only shift between ordinary unconsciousness and deep unconsciousness. What I call ordinary unconsciousness means being identified with your thought processes and emotions, your reactions, desires, and aversions. It is most people's normal state. In that state, you are run by the egoic mind, and you are unaware of Being. It is a state not of acute pain or unhappiness but of an almost continuous low level of unease, discontent, boredom, or nervousness - a kind of background static. You may not realize this because it is so much a part of "normal" living, just as you are not aware of a con- tinuous low background noise, such as the hum of an air conditioner, until it stops. When it suddenly does stop, there is a sense of relief. Many people use alcohol, drugs, sex, food, work, television, or even shopping as anesthetics in an unconscious attempt to remove the basic unease. When this happens, an activity that might be very enjoyable if used in moderation becomes imbued with a compulsive or addictive quality, and all that is ever achieved through it is extremely short-lived symptom relief.
The unease of ordinary unconsciousness turns into the pain of deep unconsciousness - a state of more acute and more obvious suffering or unhappiness - when things "go wrong," when the ego is threatened or there is a major challenge, threat, or loss, real or imagined, in your life situation or conflict in a relationship. It is an intensified version of ordinary unconsciousness, different from it not in kind but in degree.
In ordinary unconsciousness, habitual resistance to or denial of what is creates the unease and discontent that most people accept as normal living. When this resistance becomes intensified through some challenge or threat to the ego, it brings up intense negativity such as anger, acute fear, aggression, depression, and so on. Deep unconsciousness often means that the pain-body has been triggered and that you have become identified with it. Physical violence would be impossible without deep unconsciousness. It can also occur easily whenever and wherever a crowd of people or even an entire nation generates a negative collective energy field.

The best indicator of your level of consciousness is how you deal with life's challenges when they come. Through those challenges, an already unconscious person tends to become more deeply unconscions, and a conscious person more intensely conscious. You can use a challenge to awaken you, or you can allow it to pull you into even deeper sleep. The dream of ordinary unconsciousness then turns into a nightmare.
If you cannot be present even in normal circumstances, such as when you are sitting alone in a room, walking in the woods, or listening to someone, then you certainly won't be able to stay conscious when something "goes wrong" or you are faced with difficult people or situations, with loss or the threat of loss. You will be taken over by a reaction, which ultimately is always some form of fear, and pulled into deep unconsciousness. Those challenges are your tests. Only the way in which you deal with them will show you and others where you are at as far as your state of consciousness is concerned, not how long you can sit with your eyes closed or what visions you see.

So it is essential to bring more consciousness into your life in ordinary situations when everything is going relatively smoothly. In this way, you grow in presence power. It generates an energy field in you and around you of a high vibrational frequency. No unconsciousness, no negativity, no discord or violence can enter that field and survive, just as darkness cannot survive in the presence of light.
When you learn to be the witness of your thoughts and emotions, which is an essential part of being present, you may be surprised when you first become aware of the background "static" of ordinary unconsciousness and realize how rarely, if ever, you are truly at ease within yourself. On the level of your thinking, you will find a great deal of resistance in the form of judgment, discontent, and mental projection away from the Now. On the emotional level, there will be an undercurrent of unease, tension, boredom, or nervousness. Both are aspects of the mind in its habitual resistance mode.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: Free at last, free at last!

Post by leejosepho » Mon Oct 05, 2015 3:43 pm

chefchip wrote:...just because I ask for my shortcomings to be removed, just because I am ready for my character defects to be removed, doesn't mean that they will be, at least not on my timetable...

...it is probably not a bad thing that I feel a need to correct what I rightly perceive as wrong thinking, or wrong action...

I am realizing that I haven't yet learned, or been taught, to just state my opinion and leave it at that.
Dogs do not cling to bones because of defects or shortcomings any more than we humans do not share toothbrushes because there is something wrong with us. So, the problems only come from ourselves when the will of the person who does not want to brush is threatened...and then at times we must discern whether to continue sharing with others in his or her presence anyway.

"That the man who is making the approach has had the same difficulty...knows what he is talking about...a real answer...no attitude...nothing whatever except the sincere desire to be helpful..." (page 19)
"We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show...burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves." (pages 87-88)

I first watch for people asking questions, then I watch for people with questions they have yet to ask for one reason or another. One-on-one is almost always best, but some swamps do have alligators!
chefchip wrote:In any case, I am disturbed. My brain is noisy, and I can't quiet it down. I am anxious, distracted and even at times angry.
If anyone might ever figure out how to sell anger as a commodity, I will become an extremely wealthy man. As few as three years ago my wife used to say (at least to herself) "Oh-oh, there he goes again" from across the room whenever the sound level of my keyboard increased. Today I *never* let 'Mr. Feelings' do any typing, then look for whatever defect or shortcoming might be blocking me from returning to my assigned duty: answering questions.
avaneesh912 wrote:At certain point we need to transcend our mind.
Please keep posting your stuff about that! I have long been aware of the unconscious mind at work, and now I am at least no longer afraid of it.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: Free at last, free at last!

Post by avaneesh912 » Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:51 pm

How do we stop negativity from arising, and how do we get rid of it once it is there?

As I said, you stop it from arising by being fully present. But don't become discouraged. There are as yet few people on the planet who can sustain a state of continuous presence, although some are getting close to it. Soon, I believe, there will be many more.

Whenever you notice that some form of negativity has arisen within you, look on it not as a failure, but as a helpful signal that is telling you: "Wake up. Get out of your mind. Be present."
There is a novel by Aldous Huxley called Island, written in his later years when he became very interested in spiritual teachings. It tells the story of a man shipwrecked on a remote island cut off from the rest of the world. This island contains a unique civilization. The unusual thing about it is that its inhabitants, unlike those of the rest of the world, are actually sane. The first thing that the man notices are the colorful parrots perched in the trees, and they seem to be constantly croaking the words "Attention. Here and Now. Attention. Here and Now." We later learn that the islanders taught them these words in order to be reminded continuously to stay present.

So whenever you feel negativity arising within you, whether caused by an external factor, a thought, or even nothing in particular that you are aware of, look on it as a voice saying `Attention. Here and Now. Wake up." Even the slightest irritation is significant and needs to be acknowledged and looked at; otherwise, there will be a cumulative build-up of unobserved reactions. As I said before, you may be able to just drop it once you realize that you don't want to have this energy field inside you and that it serves no purpose. But then make sure that you drop it completely. If you cannot drop it, just accept that it is there and take your attention into the feeling, as I pointed out earlier.

As an alternative to dropping a negative reaction, you can make it disappear by imagining yourself becoming transparent to the external cause of the reaction. I recommend that you practice it with little, even trivial, things first. Let's say that you are sitting quietly at home. Suddenly, there is the penetrating sound of a car alarm from across the street. Irritation arises. What is the purpose of the irritation? None whatsoever. Why did you create it? You didn't. The mind did. It was totally automatic, totally unconscious. Why did the mind create it? Because it holds the unconscious belief that its resistance, which you experience as negativity or unhappiness in some form, will somehow dissolve the undesirable condition. This, of course, is a delusion. The resistance that it creates, the irritation or anger in this case, is far more disturbing than the original cause that it is attempting to dissolve.

All this can be transformed into spiritual practice. Feel yourself becoming transparent, as it were, without the solidity of a material body. Now allow the noise, or whatever causes a negative reaction, to pass right through you. It is no longer hitting a solid "wall" inside you. As I said, practice with little things first. The car alarm, the dog barking, the children screaming, the traffic jam. Instead of having a wall of resistance inside you that gets constantly and painfully hit by things that "should not be happening," let everything pass through you.
Somebody says something to you that is rude or designed to hurt. Instead of going into unconscious reaction and negativity, such as attack, defense, or withdrawal, you let it pass right through you. Offer no resistance. It is as if there is nobody there to get hurt anymore. That is forgiveness. In this way, you become invulnerable. You can still tell that person that his or her behavior is unacceptable, if that is what you choose to do. But that person no longer has the power to control your inner state. You are then in your power - not in someone else's, nor are you run by your mind. Whether it is a car alarm, a rude person, a flood, an earthquake, or the loss of all your posses- sions, the resistance mechanism is the same.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: Free at last, free at last!

Post by leejosepho » Mon Oct 05, 2015 6:39 pm

avaneesh912 wrote:...a voice saying `Attention. Here and Now. Wake up." Even the slightest irritation is significant and needs to be acknowledged and looked at; otherwise, there will be a cumulative build-up of unobserved reactions.
Nightmares used to be a horrible problem for me, and the above is the essence of how I have learned to at least reduce the anxiety of dreams even without always having to literally wake up completely.
As an alternative to dropping a negative reaction, you can make it disappear by imagining yourself becoming transparent to the external cause of the reaction.
Separating the natural from the spiritual...the same as principles over personalities.
Why did the mind create [the irritation]? Because it holds the unconscious belief that its resistance, which you experience as negativity or unhappiness in some form, will somehow dissolve the undesirable condition. This, of course, is a delusion. The resistance that it creates, the irritation or anger in this case, is far more disturbing than the original cause that it is attempting to dissolve.
Good stuff there for review of the ego and its desire to try to get one's own instincts met or satisfied.
All this can be transformed into spiritual practice. Feel yourself becoming transparent, as it were, without the solidity of a material body. Now allow the noise, or whatever causes a negative reaction, to pass right through you. It is no longer hitting a solid "wall" inside you.
Exactly: "destruction of self-centeredness" (page 14)
Instead of having a wall of resistance inside you that gets constantly and painfully hit by things that "should not be happening," let everything pass through you.
Somebody says something to you that is rude or designed to hurt. Instead of going into unconscious reaction and negativity, such as attack, defense, or withdrawal, you let it pass right through you. Offer no resistance. It is as if there is nobody there to get hurt anymore. That is forgiveness. In this way, you become invulnerable...that person no longer has the power to control your inner state.
The key to the future. (page 66)
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: Free at last, free at last!

Post by Layne » Mon Oct 05, 2015 7:15 pm

I believe that my higher power removes my character defects when I humbly ask, but I also believe that since he gave me free will, I am free to take the defects back at any time. (sigh) I seem to do this all to often (sigh).

I don't know if you play golf, but at any rate, a sand wedge is a useful and valuable club in my bag when used at the appropriate time and place. Off the tee, not so much. The club is not defective, my choice to use it off the tee is a poor one.

Traits of my personality that I view as defects might actually be sand wedges in my bag, so asking for them to be removed might be a poorly phrased request that I ask of my higher power.

FWIW, know the dog with a bone attribute well, all too well. Could be good, could be bad, don't know. Definitely a double edged sword, or possibly a sand wedge.

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Re: Free at last, free at last!

Post by leejosepho » Mon Oct 05, 2015 7:25 pm

Layne wrote:FWIW, know the dog with a bone attribute well, all too well. Could be good, could be bad, don't know. Definitely a double edged sword, or possibly a sand wedge.
I know nothing about golf, but I would guess that depends upon the target of the swing!
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: Free at last, free at last!

Post by avaneesh912 » Tue Oct 06, 2015 1:10 pm

Eckhart talks about being here physically and mentally. I always think of the time I am in shower or while eating or even driving. Its all mechanical. Turning the shower on, applying shampoo/soap. But the mind is elsewhere. Perhaps the dress I am going to wear, or the document I am mentally writing in the shower. Never feeling the water splashing on the body, smelling the soap. Never there mentally. That he says is being un-conscious, being identified with the mind.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: Free at last, free at last!

Post by leejosepho » Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:28 pm

Whether in the shower or wherever and no matter what I might actually be thinking about at any moment, what amazes me is when a given thought, answer or solution to something previously on my mind just suddenly appears "out of nowhere", it seems. Logic suggests that comes from the brain rolling things around in the background, but sometimes I can only conclude the actual source had to be completely external since no part of the output had been within my brain beforehand. So, maybe 'tapped a source of power much greater than yourself" (page 163) indicates some kind of spiritual internetwork?
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: Free at last, free at last!

Post by avaneesh912 » Tue Oct 06, 2015 6:00 pm

All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness. The mind then gives form to the creative impulse or insight. Even the great scientists have reported that their creative breakthroughs came at a time of mental quietude. The surprising result of a nation-wide inquiry among America's most eminent mathematicians, including Einstein, to find out their working methods, was that thinking "plays only a subordinate part in the brief, decisive phase of the creative act itself." So I would say that the simple reason why the majority of scientists are not creative is not because they don't know how to think but because they don't know how to stop thinking!
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: Free at last, free at last!

Post by leejosepho » Tue Oct 06, 2015 6:51 pm

avaneesh912 wrote:...a place of no-mind...inner stillness...impulse or insight...mental quietude...thinking "plays only a subordinate part in the brief, decisive phase..."
I reserve the word "create" exclusively for our Creator, but all of that is in our book and that is the essence of how I remain sane and try to operate today. In my days prior to A.A., those "out of nowhere" thoughts would/could only lead to destruction...and so, I can now only surmise the difference is here:

"...willingness to believe..Spammer to get results...impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend..." (page 46)
avaneesh912 wrote:So I would say...they don't know how to stop thinking!
Definitely a big belly-laugh at our human selfs there, eh?!

My first sponsor used to say normal people only had to be told *once* to think, but here in A.A. the sign on the wall says "Think! Think! Think!" for a reason!

Viewing myself as a creature needing to be taught *how* to think when I should and then to *stop* when I should not -- constant thought of self had been killing me -- has since proved to be a great part of saving my very life.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: Free at last, free at last!

Post by leejosepho » Wed Oct 07, 2015 6:16 am

Still working on my project that happens to be taking me through the book once again, and I just ran across this on page 125:

"A man may criticize or laugh at himself and it will affect others favorably, but criticism or ridicule coming from another often produces the contrary effect. Members of a family (or 'We') should watch such matters carefully, for one careless, inconsiderate remark has been known to raise the very devil. We alcoholics are sensitive people. It takes some of us a long time to outgrow that serious handicap."

I happen to be someone who can at times be quite hypersensitive to things other people say or do, and even when there might actually be nothing wrong with what someone else had said or done. Keeping that in mind in relation to others also can at times definitely mean saying nothing at all, yet it is within the overall dynamic of A.A.'s "shared honesty of mutual vulnerability openly acknowledged" (Kurtz) and "the protection of human community" (altruism) that we can help each other along even when something must still be said.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: Free at last, free at last!

Post by avaneesh912 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:05 am

We alcoholics are sensitive people.
I have seen, its just not alcoholics most of the people are. The reason is "identification with the mind" we all derive who we are from what our mind as assinged who we are.Eckhart starts off his book with a chapter "We are not the Mind". All the problems out there is because of indefication with thoughts (idealogy-former thoughts).
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Re: Free at last, free at last!

Post by leejosepho » Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:52 am

avaneesh912 wrote:
We alcoholics are sensitive people.
I have seen, its just not alcoholics most of the people are. The reason is "identification with the mind" we all derive who we are from what our mind has assigned who we are... All the problems out there is because of identification with thoughts (idealogy-former thoughts).
Yes, the only thing unique about us is our inability to control our drinking while drinking. Other than that, our challenges in life are the same as for anyone even if or though some of do run to the extremes.

Here is something I set aside a long time ago but it now makes sense here on this side of the Steps:
In a healthy person, according to Freud, the ego is [to] satisfy the needs of the id, not upset the superego, and still take into consideration the reality of every situation. Not an easy job by any means, but if the id gets too strong, impulses and self gratification take over the person’s life. If the superego becomes to strong, the person would be driven by rigid morals, would be judgmental and unbending in his or her interactions with the world.
Since the mind is certainly involved there, I think I can see where "identification with the mind" could be at play there also. However, there is where I must drawn a line for myself and just focus upon the practice of A.A. principles lest I might distractedly lose touch with the ground and float myself right on out of A.A. I have seen that happen to people, and I like it too much here to ever take that kind of risk!
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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