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Showing posts from August, 2012

Skeletal Notes I prepared for my Tricycle Retreat on Addiction

talk 1, the nature of addiction: the root of addiction is a craving to get rid of all forms of stress and discomfort
—some stresses stem from underlying feelings of loneliness, uniqueness, isolation
—some from obsessive thinking
—the inevitable, unavoidable discomforts of life; abandonment, rejection, criticism, blame, etc
—these are inner states that the addict is largely unfocused on and towards which develops little tolerance

addictions primarily relieve our awareness of our inner stress
—the solutions are short term, with long term consequences that in no way develop tolerance or lasting solutions
—the addict largely blames his suffering on external conditions, and fails to see how his lack of tolerance plays a central role in the addictive spiral

karma & coping strategies: neurons that fire together wire together
habitual reactions to stress become increasingly ingrained, the mind develops ruts

finding any additional stress unbearable, further keeping our addictions in place are a set o…

equanimity

acceptance is originally defined as  1) receiving something that's arrived and offered, for example, accepting a package. 2) believing in something as true, for example Christians accepting Jesus as savior, or accepting the validity of an election, etc.
As a psychological activity wherein a person experiences a set of conditions—often uncomfortable and unwanted—without trying to change or avoid it. We're often told that acceptance is a central part of buddhist spirituality.
There is no direct word for psychological acceptance, as just defined, in pali. 
The buddha's never taught that we should experience suffering without trying to change it. All of the buddha's teachings are goal seeking, towards inner peace.
The buddha did teach about learning to develop contentment with whatever external circumstances we find ourselves in: —santutthi, or developing contentment with our acquisition of four requisites, food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. Acquiring these requisites is n…

Now What? Life as a recovering addict.

Of all the passages in our recovery literature I find unintentionally amusing—and there are many—one stands out. It is a memorable paragraph about those alcoholics who “for a variety of reasons cannot have a family life.” They are consoled with the wildly thrilling prospect of transforming themselves into “prodigies of service.” It’s supposed to be inspiring. I remember one friend who used to sigh audibly and cross her arms angrily when this portion was read aloud at Twelve Step gatherings. No doubt she was shuddering at the thrilling plans the program had in store for her. Perhaps she, like me, imagined armies of childless drunks and addicts, dressed in colorless work uniforms, dutifully sweeping up after their happily married fellows had gracefully departed the meetings, en route to the Hamptons. At least the industrious spirits left behind would be lifted by the thought of helping another alcoholic. This patronizing pat on the head is by no means an isolated theme in recovery lite…