How Do You Recover Well?
When we are not attached to who we think we are, life can move through us, playing us like an instrument. Understanding how everything is in continual transformation, we release our futile attempts to control circumstances. When we live in this easy connection with life, we live in joy.—James Baraz
In mindfulness practice we work towards letting go of attachments to self, identity, material, mental, and physical “things”. When we meditate we sit in awareness of our place in the universe; of the continual change we are a small part of. When we return from meditation we try to carry this understanding with us throughout our day. When I read this quote the word practice kept entering into my consciousness.
I am a very goal oriented person. I like to create lists of things to do and get great satisfaction from checking them off when complete. I figure out larger project and problems by making spreadsheets or charts. Needless to say, I am very analytical. I find safety in strategy, in having a plan, and in executing that plan well to achieve positive outcomes.
The challenge is that this is not how Buddhist Recovery works. The nexus of Buddhism is practice. We can only let life flow through us a single moment at a time, which means every moment is a moment of practice. There is no end-game; there is no goal or task to check off. The concept of achievement does not translate to Buddhism. I often think, considering my analytical bent, it is funny that I was even drawn to Buddhism. It’s curious that I didn’t drop out when I realized that there was no perfect grade to earn.
So what then keeps me, and so many others, returning to the cushion for recovery one moment at a time? I believe it is the uniting desire to find peace in our lives that keeps us coming back. By nurturing that desire through meditation we are able to then, slowly, see this meditation practice take us through “off the cushion” moments. The only thing we need to do is sit (practice) and then quietly notice the ripple effects in our lives. We don’t need to force these moments to happen, we need only sit and notice, over and over, and everything tends to fall into place. For me the idea of things falling into place when I practice regularly, means seeing life as a series of fleeting moments of, you guessed it, more practice, which in turns leads me further away from a drink or drugs.
How do Buddhists recover well? Practice, practice, practice.
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