There is an old Buddhist lesson concerning two monks who were traveling and came to a muddy stream.
I recently changed my morning reading habits a bit. For the past few years I’ve been depending mostly on meditation books that were broken down into relatively small pieces, and reading other inspirational (or whatever) books in larger chunks.
This year I picked out two books in addition to the one I’ve been using for a couple of years–books not laid out in a daily reading format–and determined to treat them the same way, taking them in small, easily digestible chunks and then meditating on those readings, instead of trying to cram my head full as has been my habit for most of my life.
I read a few pages at most, stopping at what seems a reasonable point. Sometimes I read only a few paragraphs; on one occasion, only a couple of sentences. I find that I’m getting far more out of the basic text of one of my fellowships, for example, than I ever got when reading a chapter at a time. Cutting it into small chunks makes it far easier to digest and see how it applies to me. It seems that I do better with less to think about, rather than more; with small ideas, rather than big chunks. (In fact the eating/chewing/digesting analogy seems to fit perfectly, now that I think of it.)
This leads me to a problem that I’ve had with “big book” and similar meetings since back in the Dark Ages. Continue reading “The Big Book Races”
“Get busy with life’s purpose, toss aside empty hopes, get active in your own rescue–if you care for yourself at all–and do it while you can.”
– Marcus Aurelius, ‘Meditations’ 3.14
“The essence of all growth is a willingness to change for the better and then an unremitting willingness to shoulder whatever responsibility this entails.”
– Bill W., The AA Grapevine, July 1965
And if your sponsor has you doing a yearly inventory, remember that inventories need to include the skillful ways along with the unskillful.
We all think we know how to drive, and to a certain extent that’s true. We have learned the mechanics of driving. We can get our vehicle from place to place, usually with no problems. The really important skills, however, may have escaped us. What I’m going to discuss here is a different way of thinking about driving, one that will simultaneously provide the benefits of meditation, while at the same time it will make you a better driver.
The motive for seeking a spiritual life must be desire, rather than duty.
For several reasons I make it a point not to review books or accept ads, “infographics,“ and guest posts on this blog, except in extremely rare situations. When I tried it the first one led to more, and to requests that didn’t meet my standards (never easy to refuse for a codependent like me), plus other complications, like conflicts of interest, etc. I don’t like hassles, and promoting business in whatever fashion is not the purpose of this site. However, it’s my blog, and I occasionally make exceptions for myself when I think it’s important enough. This is one of those times.
My long-time readers will probably have noticed the blurb in the sidebar for Joe C’s book, Beyond Belief, Agnostic Musings For 12-Step Life. No doubt the word “agnostic” turned some of them off. I’d like to comment on that, and explain why the ad, recommendation, or whatever you want to call it is there.
We say things like, “That was the turning point in my life.” What do we mean? Do we mean that life created a sequence of events that changed our direction? Do we mean that we made a decision that led to a big change, or do we mean that “Fate” or a “Higher Power” intervened to create a new path? Continue reading “Turning Points”