“Good and bad aren’t absolutes. They are beliefs, judgments, ideas based on limited knowledge as well as on the inclinations of our minds
The situation we always live in is like that of the wise Chinese farmer whose horse ran off. When his neighbor came to console him the farmer said, ‘Who knows what’s good or bad?’
When his horse returned the next day with a herd of horses following her, the foolish neighbor came to congratulate him on his good fortune.
‘Who knows what’s good or bad?’ said the farmer.
Then, when the farmer’s son broke his leg trying to ride one of the new horses, the foolish neighbor came to console him again.
“Who knows what’s good or bad?” said the farmer.
When the army passed through, conscripting men for war, they passed over the farmer’s son because of his broken leg. When the foolish man came to congratulate the farmer that his son would be spared, again the farmer said, “Who knows what’s good or bad?”
Reinhold Niebuhr is known for ideas that were highly influential in Christian theological debate during the early 20th Century, but as far as alcoholics and other addicts are concerned, his restating of a basic philosophical truth in the Serenity Prayer is a life preserver in the roiling sea of life.
Too many recovering people give only lip service to the prayer. In most of our fellowships, if we attend meetings regularly, we recite it at least a few times a week. The question is, do we listen to what we’re saying? Continue reading →
“There is nothing passive about mindfulness. One might even say that it expresses a specific kind of passion—a passion for discerning what is subjectively real in every moment. It is a mode of cognition that is, above all, undistracted, accepting, and (ultimately) nonconceptual. Being mindful is not a matter of thinking more clearly about experience; it is the act of experiencing more clearly, including the arising of thoughts themselves.
“Mindfulness is a vivid awareness of whatever is appearing in one’s mind or body—thoughts, sensations, moods—without grasping at the pleasant or recoiling from the unpleasant. One of the great strengths of this technique of meditation is that it does not require us to adopt any cultural affectations or unjustified beliefs. It simply demands that we pay close attention to the flow of experience in each moment.”
I was just browsing Instagram and found the following:
“The moment you doubt whether you can
fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”
I see this kind of New Agey stuff frequently. It’s indicative of the lack of attention we give to the things we post and the messages we send. I’m sure that the woman who posted it saw the aphorism someplace and thought “Oh, inspiring,” then posted it without further thought.
But what is the underlying message? If you get discouraged, quit; it isn’t going to happen. If we applied that philosophy to life most of us addicts would be dead now (or wish we were) and very little would get accomplished in general. Continue reading →
Five years ago, almost to the minute when I’m writing this, I had a life-changing experience. It doesn’t matter what it was, but trust me, it was one of those moments that you never forget. Continue reading →