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Old 07-21-2014, 01:23 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by MythOfSisyphus View Post
I'm not religious but I do have an admiration for Buddhism. I think they're onto a few things like the root of suffering being desire and they need to understand impermanence. Compassion is a religion unto itself and would be a very worthwhile philosophy to live by. We are all dying, so we must be kind to everyone.
I think the principles are way more practical then many other religions. I find myself never really having to ask "is this true". It seems compassion is important to you Myth o S. Is that a principle or practice you find important in recovery? If so can you share some of your experiences with how that works?
Thanks for your responses
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:31 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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the more i have read on this subject the more i am interested in it, it mirrors a lot of what i believe in with aa
certainly the being compassionate to all is a good thing and love real love of giving of oneself and time is something that makes me ponder

is there any sort of god worshiping needed ? do you wake up each day and have to thank someone in a prayer format ?
or can you start your day off by just doing the right good thing ?

forgive me my lack of knowledge on this subject. so if i dont ask i dont learn : )
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:37 AM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by samseb5351 View Post
I think the principles are way more practical then many other religions. I find myself never really having to ask "is this true". It seems compassion is important to you Myth o S. Is that a principle or practice you find important in recovery? If so can you share some of your experiences with how that works?
Thanks for your responses
Yeah, I guess it is. Compassion is the key to life, IMOHO. Compassion probably starts with ourselves. If you don't be kind to yourself who can you be kind to? Compassion can be difficult at times for me. I've talked before about my view on the struggle between our higher selves and the "monkey brain" that's at the root of the impulses most would call 'darker' or lower. I am blessed/cursed with a strong monkey brain! That's the part that rises to anger or leaps to assert dominance. The monkey brain is necessary to have. It reacts to danger and keeps us safe in "the Jungle." But it can be a burden outside of the jungle.

Compassion seems to work hand-in-glove with AVRT. Just as I have learned to instantly recognize "beast voice" whispering the cries to drink I have also learned to separate the monkey voice from my higher self. The monkey part is quick to anger and flash its teeth! But the higher self and the core of compassion can sooth the monkey part, talk him down.
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:37 AM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by MythOfSisyphus View Post
Yeah, I guess it is. Compassion is the key to life, IMOHO. Compassion probably starts with ourselves. If you don't be kind to yourself who can you be kind to? Compassion can be difficult at times for me. I've talked before about my view on the struggle between our higher selves and the "monkey brain" that's at the root of the impulses most would call 'darker' or lower. I am blessed/cursed with a strong monkey brain! That's the part that rises to anger or leaps to assert dominance. The monkey brain is necessary to have. It reacts to danger and keeps us safe in "the Jungle." But it can be a burden outside of the jungle. Compassion seems to work hand-in-glove with AVRT. Just as I have learned to instantly recognize "beast voice" whispering the cries to drink I have also learned to separate the monkey voice from my higher self. The monkey part is quick to anger and flash its teeth! But the higher self and the core of compassion can sooth the monkey part, talk him down.

Thanks Myth of S, I have some questions, I put it in a different thread as it diverts a little away from Buddhism.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:12 AM
  # 25 (permalink)  
 
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I love the phrase "lean into"!

I've encountered some dogmatic Buddhists too (kind of an oxymoron). I'm not any kind of expert, on purpose. So far, I've only had an interest in a small amount of the history of Buddhism. I'm much more interested in the teachings that I can apply right now.

I've lived in and been driven by fear for the better part of my life. The idea that I could sit with fear, even invite it in, blew my mind. Being closer to my fear, not father away from it, has made me more fearless. The harder I tried to get away from it, the more afraid I was all the time.

I was one of those people who said "I can't meditate". I have learned that I can. And I have learned that I can take a step back and slow things down at any given moment. No cushion necessary. In line at Walmart, at a stop light, while cleaning, at work, cooking, while running, whatever...I can bring my mind to the moment. I can focus on my breath, I can focus on how different parts of my body feel, I can focus solely on the task at hand and enjoy it exactly for what it is, without my mind thinking back or thinking ahead.

One of the most helpful things to me when I'm calming my mind is to visualize these racing thoughts in little bubbles. I can see myself popping them and they dissipate softly. They go by in minds eye and I touch them...pop...pop...pop. I don't even think about what the thought is...I just release it out to go on its way.
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Old 07-21-2014, 03:00 PM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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I learned to meditate in prison following an interest 15 yrs. ago that grew into a passion for the teachings some 4 yrs. ago. Plenty to read on the subject -- goes well with recovery---letting go of all attachments.
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:31 PM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by samseb5351 View Post
Me too Nightwatch those terms speak to me, there is something real about them, almost like a gentle but firm pragmatism.
You mentioned darker periods, is that like when your consumed by something and you direct your mind to impermanence almost immediately the anxiety you feel "that this will never end" gets a tiny bit less Knowing that things don't last?

Yes about the Religion... I have read somewhere about militant buddhists harming others, it maybe Nepal, may you have heard of that?
I had to deal with death early on in my life - both my parents died when I was a teenager - and I continue to struggle with death, or the end of things that I don't want to end (like relationships). I have a hard time letting go and this grasping and holding on to things bring me a lot of suffering because I want things to be other than they are. This is where Buddhism comes in, because it's through Buddhist ideas that I came to recognize the source of my suffering. Was it a Buddhist quote that says, "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional"? Pain is a part of life, but suffering doesn't have to be. And there is a huge difference between them.

The idea of impermanence has had two effects in my life. Early on, impermanence brought me a lot of angst, because it means things I don't want to end, will end. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my lost youth for instance. But as you touched on, there are times when it brings me hope. When I'm depressed now, I hold on to the idea of impermanence and it makes me feel better, because however horribly I feel in the moment, I know things will change; I don't need to despair and make things worse.

I haven't heard too much about militant Buddhists. From everything I know about Buddhist teachings, it's hard for me to see how someone who follows Buddhist thought could allow themselves to become militant.
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:09 PM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by samseb5351 View Post
Thanks Tamerua, can you tell me more about Your congregation. Do some of your beliefs fit well with the buddhist principles, which ones stand out for you. I personally am an Atheist but I am very keen to hear how others make sense of the world especially through a recovery lens.
Hi samseb I guess there are two things here, Unitarianism and Buddhism. The congregation itself is Unitarian, non denominational and there are many atheists who belong because of the sense of community. They have 7 principles and they are almost all related to being helpful to your fellow man and the community at large. The minister, born and raised Hindu, likes to put it simply, "we don't concern ourselves with the after life, we care about the here and now."

They are aligned with this small Buddhist congregation and I think it is because it shares many of the same principles, being helpful to others. My son's best friend's grandmother is from Thailand and she has taken us to Thai temple. I love the peace and the stillness.

Making yourself useful, letting go of anger, looking at yourself rather others when there is a problem are all concepts that I get and have helped me with recovery. I feel like I understand only a tiny tiny bit about Buddhism but instead of being overwhelmed at how much I don't know, I find it exciting that there is a lot to learn. That was a total ramble but there it is. Lol

Edited to add, I have a couple Buddhist apps for my phone, one is quotes, I read it daily, another is for meditation. Just throwing that out there... I like them.
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:46 PM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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I've been a buddhist since the mid 80's, one of the Japanese Mahayana derived sects. Its funny "on the inside" we call it practicing and don't usually use a word like religion unless the conversation is about some other belief. I find it aligns very well sometimes almost eerily so with the 12-Step program.. though I should think those in other religions might make a similar observation wrt theirs.

I like the practice because it imposes a minimum of blind faith.. in fact the fundamental practice is essentially suggestive like the 12-Steps saying "don't believe if you don't wish to but try the practice and see if it works". I suppose like many religions things pretty quickly degenerate into miracles or action at a distance etc and I just don't buy it- the power of religion seems to be in how it enables people to transform themselves... overcome their weaknesses, be courageous in adversity etc. Maybe the doctrine is there to help various kinds of people understand; what works for one may not for another so a variety of kinds of doctrine is needed in any religion... or perhaps I'm an incurable skeptic. But I still do my basic practice and feel kind of naked and out of whack if I miss it.. so maybe I'm a logical sell-out regardless lol.

IIRC William James opined that religions have constituencies; people gravitate to faiths which suit their characters in some way. If so, there are people who need the fire & brimstone and all the other creeds. I kind of like that concept...

Tell you what though, I though I was doing OK as a Buddhist for all these years but it turns out I'm a big raging codie... so I do find the alanon work is showing where I have not been doing a great job. I'm hoping for one of those stories where working the steps causes the transformation of the concept of the higher power...
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:35 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
I love the phrase "lean into"! I've encountered some dogmatic Buddhists too (kind of an oxymoron). I'm not any kind of expert, on purpose. So far, I've only had an interest in a small amount of the history of Buddhism. I'm much more interested in the teachings that I can apply right now. I've lived in and been driven by fear for the better part of my life. The idea that I could sit with fear, even invite it in, blew my mind. Being closer to my fear, not father away from it, has made me more fearless. The harder I tried to get away from it, the more afraid I was all the time. I was one of those people who said "I can't meditate". I have learned that I can. And I have learned that I can take a step back and slow things down at any given moment. No cushion necessary. In line at Walmart, at a stop light, while cleaning, at work, cooking, while running, whatever...I can bring my mind to the moment. I can focus on my breath, I can focus on how different parts of my body feel, I can focus solely on the task at hand and enjoy it exactly for what it is, without my mind thinking back or thinking ahead. One of the most helpful things to me when I'm calming my mind is to visualize these racing thoughts in little bubbles. I can see myself popping them and they dissipate softly. They go by in minds eye and I touch them...pop...pop...pop. I don't even think about what the thought is...I just release it out to go on its way.
I like what you have to say especially sitting with fear, and the any given moment thing is exactly how I do it. Some times we can get so caught up in contemplation practice as a one way street, like I have a problem and I take it to meditation However as you so wisely have pointed out you can also take your meditation to your everyday life. I also like the bubble thing, there was a meditation teacher who I read once, who also talked of bubbles, she mentioned she gave it her attention like "touching a bubble with a feather"

I would love to hear more of your story.
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Old 07-22-2014, 02:45 AM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by reisingwood1 View Post
I learned to meditate in prison following an interest 15 yrs. ago that grew into a passion for the teachings some 4 yrs. ago. Plenty to read on the subject -- goes well with recovery---letting go of all attachments.
Thats great. Was the meditation in prison something that was part of the program or did you pick it up on your own. I saw a story on a podcast a couple of years ago where some people took Vipassana practice into prisons, it was the most "rubber hitting the road" moment for some of the men, it transformed them and cut through what appeared to be some of the most impregnable psychological barriers one can imagine.
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Old 07-22-2014, 03:01 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by NightsWatch View Post
I had to deal with death early on in my life - both my parents died when I was a teenager - and I continue to struggle with death, or the end of things that I don't want to end (like relationships). I have a hard time letting go and this grasping and holding on to things bring me a lot of suffering because I want things to be other than they are. This is where Buddhism comes in, because it's through Buddhist ideas that I came to recognize the source of my suffering. Was it a Buddhist quote that says, "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional"? Pain is a part of life, but suffering doesn't have to be. And there is a huge difference between them. The idea of impermanence has had two effects in my life. Early on, impermanence brought me a lot of angst, because it means things I don't want to end, will end. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my lost youth for instance. But as you touched on, there are times when it brings me hope. When I'm depressed now, I hold on to the idea of impermanence and it makes me feel better, because however horribly I feel in the moment, I know things will change; I don't need to despair and make things worse. I haven't heard too much about militant Buddhists. From everything I know about Buddhist teachings, it's hard for me to see how someone who follows Buddhist thought could allow themselves to become militant.
No matter how tuned in I think I am and can see Grasping right there in front of me, I always hold onto the point of not chasing it away even-though I feel a strong urge to do so For some reason I always have points of seeing attachment and grasping as bad and something to get rid off , for me it seems thats my job in mediation see things and create structures to stop or will something out of me. I miss the point when I do that
Pema Chodron says it better than I can
We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. (10)”
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Old 07-22-2014, 03:11 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Tamerua View Post
Hi samseb I guess there are two things here, Unitarianism and Buddhism. The congregation itself is Unitarian, non denominational and there are many atheists who belong because of the sense of community. They have 7 principles and they are almost all related to being helpful to your fellow man and the community at large. The minister, born and raised Hindu, likes to put it simply, "we don't concern ourselves with the after life, we care about the here and now." They are aligned with this small Buddhist congregation and I think it is because it shares many of the same principles, being helpful to others. My son's best friend's grandmother is from Thailand and she has taken us to Thai temple. I love the peace and the stillness. Making yourself useful, letting go of anger, looking at yourself rather others when there is a problem are all concepts that I get and have helped me with recovery. I feel like I understand only a tiny tiny bit about Buddhism but instead of being overwhelmed at how much I don't know, I find it exciting that there is a lot to learn. That was a total ramble but there it is. Lol Edited to add, I have a couple Buddhist apps for my phone, one is quotes, I read it daily, another is for meditation. Just throwing that out there... I like them.
Thank you so much for explaining that. I reckon at our core as humans we are social beings and community or a need for community always seems to rise up. Having spent a while in isolation with my recovery, there always comes a time for mr to start getting interested in others.
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Old 07-22-2014, 03:19 AM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by schnappi99 View Post
I've been a buddhist since the mid 80's, one of the Japanese Mahayana derived sects. Its funny "on the inside" we call it practicing and don't usually use a word like religion unless the conversation is about some other belief. I find it aligns very well sometimes almost eerily so with the 12-Step program.. though I should think those in other religions might make a similar observation wrt theirs. I like the practice because it imposes a minimum of blind faith.. in fact the fundamental practice is essentially suggestive like the 12-Steps saying "don't believe if you don't wish to but try the practice and see if it works". I suppose like many religions things pretty quickly degenerate into miracles or action at a distance etc and I just don't buy it- the power of religion seems to be in how it enables people to transform themselves... overcome their weaknesses, be courageous in adversity etc. Maybe the doctrine is there to help various kinds of people understand; what works for one may not for another so a variety of kinds of doctrine is needed in any religion... or perhaps I'm an incurable skeptic. But I still do my basic practice and feel kind of naked and out of whack if I miss it.. so maybe I'm a logical sell-out regardless lol. IIRC William James opined that religions have constituencies; people gravitate to faiths which suit their characters in some way. If so, there are people who need the fire & brimstone and all the other creeds. I kind of like that concept... Tell you what though, I though I was doing OK as a Buddhist for all these years but it turns out I'm a big raging codie... so I do find the alanon work is showing where I have not been doing a great job. I'm hoping for one of those stories where working the steps causes the transformation of the concept of the higher power...
Thank you
Could you tell me more how the principles of buddhism and 12 steps come together. Although personally I have separated myself from 12 steps, there were definitely some mindfulness experiences i still appreciate today, like doing a 4th step and a practice I was taught called a "set aside prayer' that got me into understanding probably the most important buddhist principle for me "equanimity". Being an atheist today I dropped the prayer thing and kept the 'set aside' in my daily contemplations.
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Old 07-22-2014, 03:27 AM
  # 35 (permalink)  
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Samseb, not sure if you're interested, I am muddling through a book called "One Breathe at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps." I love it. To me, it looks like AA and Buddhism go hand in hand. Not sure of your recovery method and in the book (I work a lot so I don't read as much as I want to) I am only up to the second step but it is truly fascinating.
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:21 AM
  # 36 (permalink)  
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Off the top of my head;

- one day at a time
- if you want to change (your) world, change yourself
- unity of man & his environment (wrt kindness to others requires kindness to self, and the reverse)
- karma (personal and family)- this one is obvious of course... but the goal is to change it
- action... it works if you work it- in a mtg a while back someone said a catcphrase they liked a ot is "figure it out is not a catchphrase" - got a big laugh but man is it true.
- consideration of others

so that is isn't specifically 12-Step but more related to some of the concepts and catchphrases- though for my part the catchphrases/concepts are a vitally important part of handling recovery on a day-to-day basis; when the pressure is on sometimes the only things keeping me from a slip are the catchphrases- so I tend to emphasize them.

Stepwise I find the 1st 3 steps work fine as applied to Buddhist practice.. in effect, realizing what you have control &/or influence over and how and to what degree and let go the stuff where you don't. The daily Buddhist practice affords me a mental space where issues can be quietly and calmly set aside.. maybe the monkeybrain will pick them back up again for more worrying, but then they can be set aside again.

Steps 9 & 10 make pretty good sense from my perspective; mindfulness of behavior and consequences, amends etc. Likewise step 8- debts must be paid and apologies made. 6 & 7 don't seem to match up especially well... doesn't all the 4th/5th work get me there and I have no reluctance whatsoever to shedding the anger/fear/petulance/judgy etc stuff... the sooner the better. But I am reminded that one of the things you learn doing the 12-Step is patience so maybe I'll be thinking differently by then- I'm working step 4 now.

11 & 12 seem pretty reasonable.. I don't see how "maintenance" steps work to me you're either practicing and living it or you're not- personally I find more affinity with the people who do periodically do step 4 to keep up with the crazy.

I liken Buddhism and the 12-Step to tools, one goes in the left hand the other in the right and you use them together.
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:44 AM
  # 37 (permalink)  
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I'm not usually a fan of catchphrases, but two that I like a lot are:

Progress not perfection
and
Feelings aren't facts

They have helped me immensely when I get down on myself or let obsessive thinking get the best of me.
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Old 07-23-2014, 02:29 AM
  # 38 (permalink)  
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Thank you everyone for the discussion on buddhism and buddhist principles. In the nature of wholehearted discussion and to explore all aspects of recovery. Has anybody found principles in various groups, religions and philosophies that conflict with each, possibly you could describe as pulling you in different directions. For example Will power versus Higher Power.
I fully understand that some people prefer not to discuss such things and like to focus on similarities not differences. For me I have found a recovery and life has become much more rich and robust when I look at it all.
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Old 07-24-2014, 09:46 PM
  # 39 (permalink)  
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This thread inspired me to reread one of my old Buddhism books called Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steven Hagen. I remember liking it before, but I feel even more connected now, especially going through this recovery stuff and being more in touch with why I drank and why I don't need to anymore. I guess some of the Buddhist stuff went in deep because I didn't realize how much it influenced the way I'm approaching this alcohol problem.

One of the anecdotes stands out to me. It's too long to share, but essentially it comes down to the fact that Buddhism won't solve our problems, but it can solve the problem of not wanting to have problems.
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Old 07-24-2014, 10:56 PM
  # 40 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by desypete View Post
the more i have read on this subject the more i am interested in it, it mirrors a lot of what i believe in with aa
certainly the being compassionate to all is a good thing and love real love of giving of oneself and time is something that makes me ponder

is there any sort of god worshiping needed ? do you wake up each day and have to thank someone in a prayer format ?
or can you start your day off by just doing the right good thing ?

forgive me my lack of knowledge on this subject. so if i dont ask i dont learn : )
Hi Desypete,
I'm a Buddhist. The Buddha was pretty clear about not being a god.

Read the Dhammapada. It's a good concise collection of the Buddha's teachings. You can probably find many free ones on the internet. There are many translations from the original Pali. Read a few. You will find one that you connect with the translation. The only way to learn is to ask.

If you do read it, let me know what you think. There is nothing controversial or scary in it.
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