The Objective Seems Obvious

I find the writings of Thomas Merton a profound foretaste to what is painfully obvious to me in today’s media and political and cultural discourse.

“A message to Poets” Thomas Merton  February 1964

“COLLECTIVE LIFE is often organized on the basis of cunning, doubt, and guilt. True solidarity is destroyed by the political art of pitting one man against another and the commercial art of estimating all men at a price. On these illusory measurements, men build a world of arbitrary values without life and meaning, full of sterile agitation. To set one man against another, one life against another, one work against another, and to express the measurement in terms of cost or of economic privilege and moral honor is to infect everybody with the deepest metaphysical doubt. Divided and set up against one another for the purpose of evaluation, men immediately acquire the mentality of objects for sale in a slave market. They despair of themselves because they know they have been unfaithful to life and to being, and they no longer find anyone to forgive the infidelity.”

Anthony DeMello
To be unaffected by praise or blame

Hope is not lost!

I have been blessed with the gift of being a drug addict. In being led as a byproduct of despair of epic proportions found a community where every walk of life come together in common search for a remedy for the Hell of active addiction. The differences that would divide us, in the workplace or social setting are forgotten for a common objective.

The recovery, recovering, recovered from whatever affliction is the same. In my opinion is a spiritual malady and the solution is an awakening to the Love that is inside all of us.

“Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will apparently be worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.”

That had been my exact experience with the people I encounter in “The recovery community.”

I have no use for it.

As I feel the pain, anguish, and despair. I remain silent in solitude.

“But before we come to that which is unspeakable and unthinkable, the spirit hovers on the frontiers of language, wondering whether or not to stay on its own side of the border, in order to have something to bring back to other men. This is a test of those who wish to cross the frontier. If they are not ready to leave their own ideas and their own words behind them, they cannot travel further.” Thomas Merton No Man is an Island

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If I had not been broken to the point of utter despair, by the Grace of God. I would have no use for the forgiveness, comfort, and peace available to me from that source. God so loved me,  to allow me to attempt every avenue of escape from my true self and Him that I might, and did collide with reality.

Eagle
Bald Eagle

Now I can fly. Suffer the feelings, without want of escape from them. I can contemplate the peace I have been blessed with and radiate the love, the Perfect Love I can summon when chaos erupts. It is truly available to any and all that find a need for it.

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Remember those for whom you care. Tell them what they mean to you and scatter your love and light, as that is the only solution to dispell Hate and Darkness

Suffering

I posted this as a reflection to my Instagram a year ago. I have migrated to this delightful world called WordPress. This is an excerpt from Thomas Merton’s autobiography Seven Storey Mountain.

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“Indeed, the truth that many people never understand,
until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid
suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and
more insignificant things begin to torture you, in
proportion to your fear of being hurt.
The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the
end, the one who suffers the most: and his suffering
comes to him from things so little and so trivial that
one can say it is no longer objective at all.
It is his own existence, his own being, that is at once
the subject and the source of his pain, and his very
existence and consciousness are his greatest torture.
This is another of the great perversions by which the
devil (Ego) uses our philosophies to turn our whole nature
inside out, and eviscerate all our capacities for good,
turning them against ourselves.”

I feel blessed to have been guided by Grace to endeavor to acknowledge and embrace my discomfort and “suffering” and have emerged on the other side the better for it.

“And now for something completely different” listen and be with whatever arises

 

 

Catalyst

Defined

Noun

A. (chemistry) a substance that initiates or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected

B. something that causes an important event to happen

For purposes of this ramble, I am referring to definition B. I am reflecting on a particular event or series of circumstances that left me without any certainty. I found myself confused, almost distraught. I had believed that what someone had expressed to me was sincere and authentic. I remember specifically experiencing an intuitive thought, that this person is not what they insist they are. I’ll never know for sure as they are so deep into the charade that they believe the tales they’re telling. I knew though I was a goner.

Nothing is what it seems, solid stone turned to quicksand. Everything I reached out to hold, evaporated the moment I touched it. I was experiencing absolute anguish and despair. I had exhausted every natural remedy. I wanted something, anything to make it stop.

I miraculously was compelled by a source not of this earth to turn within. A degree of which had never been explored. By me anyway. Turned the devices off. I sat, lit candles and incense, and experienced absolute silence. Every spare moment of my, “me time”, after the kids went to bed. Was dedicated to delving deeper. I was determined to experience this completely.

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I found unconditional forgiveness, understanding and a love of myself and seemingly everyone I now encounter. I don’t do anything that is not motivated by self-interest. And neither does anybody else. If I can forgive myself for the worst I can be, because I’m human and develop another way to be. So can anybody, given the time and motivating set of circumstances. My catalyst was an encounter with another creature motivated by self-interest. And a lovely creature they are no better or worse than I.

How does that lead to Integrity?

Welcome, if you’ve not been following along on our trip, investigating the spiritual principles behind working the steps found in the 12 Steps, primarily from the book Alcoholics Anonymous

So here we are at Step 5 Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs. I am not going to talk here, about how it’s done, or why, or the ways to overcome the inevitable reluctance to performing this step. There is a plethora of writing on those subjects.

I want to relay my experience of how admitting the sheer wretchedness of myself leads to integrity.

Integrity- noun

1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished:

3. a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition.

 

When I first learned that integrity was the principle behind this, I automatically thought #1 here and was confused other than the idea of integrating my entire past, however repulsive, by honest admission.
I have found, though that this step is imperative to arriving at #2 being whole.
Throughout my life, I denied or fought my demons or impaired myself to escape it. In doing so I gave these secrets power, which in turn pushed me to even more erratic insanity. I have to be a member of the human race and society, however painful it is. By sharing my weaknesses and flaws with another, healing my battered character can begin.

The Seeker

I’ve looked under chairs
I’ve looked under tables
I’ve tried to find the key
To fifty million fables

chorus:
They call me The Seeker
I’ve been searching low and high
I won’t get to get what I’m after
Till the day I die

I asked Bobby Dylan
I asked The Beatles
I asked Timmothy Leary
But he couldn’t help me either

chorus

People tend to hate me
‘Cause I never smile
As I ransack their homes
They want to shake my hand

Focusing on nowhere
Investigating miles
I’m a seeker
I’m a really desperate man

I won’t get to get what I’m after
Till the day I die

I learned how to raise my voice in anger
Yeah, but look at my face, ain’t this a smile?
I’m happy when life’s good
And when it’s bad I cry
I’ve got values but I don’t know how or why

I’m looking for me
You’re looking for you
We’re looking in at each other
And we don’t know what to do

Pete Townsend

The Who

When you can’t look on the bright side, I’ll sit with you in the dark -Alice in Wonderland

This week a theme has been percolating within me since my last post and the one before that. Things that I’ve read, things I have been thinking about, I know that is a dangerous endeavor, given my thinking problem. I have uncovered something that seems universal.  There is no way I can be of any help if I can’t comprehend what you’re even talking about. In addition, good things grow out of compost.

If I am to help anybody find God I must understand the sinner- God Calling

One thing that had been scratching the inside of my skull was one I heard in A.A. meetings and I found it here.

A drunk fell in a hole and couldn’t get out. A businessman went by. The drunk called out for help. The businessman threw him some money and told him, get yourself a ladder. But the drunk could not find a ladder in this hole he was in.

A doctor walked by. The drunk said, “Help, I can’t get out.” The doctor gave him drugs and said, “Take this, it will relieve the pain.” The drunk said thanks, but when the pills ran out, he was still in the hole.

A renowned psychiatrist rode by and heard the drunks cries for help. He stopped and said, “How did you get there? Were you born there? Were you put there by your parents? Tell me about yourself, it will alleviate your sense of loneliness.” So the drunk talked with him for an hour, then the psychiatrist had to leave, but he said he’d be back next week. The drunk thanked him, but he was still in his hole.

A priest came by and the drunk called for help. The priest gave him a Bible and said I’ll say a prayer for you. He got down on his knees and prayed for the drunk, then left. The drunk was very grateful, he read the Bible, but he was still stuck in that hole.

A recovering alcoholic happened to be passing by. The drunk cried out, “Hey, help me, I’m stuck in this hole.” Right away, the recovering alcoholic jumped in the hole with him. The drunk said, “What are you doing? Now we’re both stuck here.” But the recovering alcoholic said, “It’s okay, I’ve been here before, I know how to get out.”

Taking all of that into account, all of which I, wholeheartedly agree with, I am willing and able to get into the foulest putrid muck of the abyss, with you.

It is a place from which I have emerged, but not without someone who has been there. So the cycle continues, a seemingly catastrophic fracture of psyche takes us to unfamiliar territory, where the solid ground on which I once found firm and reliable is now quicksand. All of the survival mechanisms on which I had relied upon have evaporated. The primary reason, I have found was and continues to be my recent discovery of using things, people, activities to make me feel better. That I was maniacally self-centered and demanding that these things continue to do their magic. They inevitably fail, leaving me in nearly unbearable pain. The only things left are find something more satisfying or surrender.

I ask for help from God, and others who have shared their experience with me, elucidating the familiarity with my dilemma. I can sit in that dark place with you and share without fear and grow.

She led me to where I refused to go

Taking one step at a time, paying better attention than I ever have, the path chosen for me from before time. I am not on a typical hard fought rocky road to success by conventional standards, I have no interest in that. I want to help, aside from what I can remember of smoking a rock of good cocaine, nothing comes close to the feeling I get when I can help.

I have embarked upon this endeavor of sharing with all of you, my experiences in recovery from addiction/alcoholism. Starting with a brief bio and occasional snippets of important (to me)  slices of what’s happening at the time. As all or surely most of you know, one who blogs, reads blogs. I have had the great pleasure of stumbling upon the illustrious Nicole Lyons. I re-blogged one of her poems the very first time I read her.

Bleed me out on the side of the road

This poem hit me upside the head like a sledge hammer. Well, I thought little of it at that point as I am only a recent consumer of poetry and felt “something” there. After the last few days events have unfolded it is much clearer. It should make sense to you too. But not yet.

A few days pass and another one touches my soul.

And I Will Love You

I commented that this should be a monologue for myself. It could be for anyone it is one for the ages imho

Onward and upward, I read about her book Hush is available for pre-order. So I must have it, and order one. The book will be released April 18 I can’t wait.

Well now to the “good” part. I am going through, reading the blogs I follow, you know how you do, some you do on the reader if something jumps out and you just have to read the whole post. And others, the ones I really love, I seek out and read it from top to bottom, often more than once, and the comments too. Nicole’s is one of many I seek out and do just that, and Georgia too, Love her ❤

Yesterday was World Bipolar day and Nicole posted this

My Manic Mind- WBD – 2017

Woah! I had no fricking idea and she took me for one hell of a ride. One. I shall not soon forget. I am, at this point reminded that my sister suffered from Bipolar disorder and PTSD. It was the first I had read of it about Nicole. Here’s the kicker the next post where she excoriates those who are tired of hearing about mental illness.

Dear Ignorant People on World Bipolar Day

This is where I realized that Nicole inadvertently, had taken my hand through her heart- wrenching outpouring of emotion was leading me to meet my sister again.

L had taken her own life and wanted me to meet her here through the expression of another sufferer. So that I might have an inkling of and an understanding of what drove her to the relief she sought from this insidious affliction. My heart goes out to any and all who suffer and including those that surround and support them.

angelMinneapolis Institute of Art

I am deeply indebted to Nicole, and WordPress for paving the way for me to reunite with her. I remember seeing her sunbathing as an infant in her bassinette on the patio of my grandparents home in Harborview Hills, Corona del Mar CA

Please, there is no need, in my opinion, for you to be sorry. I miss her physical being but that is natural. We are all connected on a more real level that exists beyond this sentence. We have our roles to play here and need to get to know that place of pure love where we belong together.