“Ignoring the mind is a beautiful Sadhana. This is what many of the Sages did. They ignored the mind out of existence. It loses its influence and its potency when it is ignored.” – Mooji Zen Master from Jamaica.
Today the challenge is to start with a block quote and then keep writing and hopefully maintain a link between what was quoted. Anybody who has read my blog will know I always finish with at least two quotes, relevant to the theme. I love quotes I find them empowering. I search for them always after I’ve finished so this is a new approach for me.
I always start my day with meditation – every day! Its part of the Twelve Step Program that I have adopted and absorbed into my life. Step 11 is such a huge and vital part of the Program in as much as its often heard in the rooms of AA – “I came for my drinking and stayed for my thinking!” “We are all here because we are not all there.”
Addiction of any description is a ‘thinking’ dis-ease. Its is a soul sickness that plays head tennis between heart and mind. It attacks on three fronts… Mind, Body and Spirit! The thing is the Soul always knows what to do to repair itself, as for the body, well its ability to recover is phenomenal. The mind is where its at! As a good friend of mine in the Fellowship often says – “my head has a contract out on me!” – Welcome to the Killing Zone!
The killing zone is a term used by the military to describe the ‘arc of fire’ necessary to perform a successful ambush on the enemy. Along with the requirement that ambushing soldiers should outnumber the enemy by at least 2-1. Finding oneself in the ‘Killing Zone’ is to understand you are in the deepest shit that you can ever fall into! However like all things in life there is an opposite. Ying and Yang is a Universal Law. The principle employs taking immediate action, turning towards the incoming fire and dashing heroicaly into the danger with all guns blazing, really going for it regardless of how futile and lost the cause is. Don’t stop until your dead or victorious. Believe it or not, this has been proved to work from time to time. Not with addiction!!
“Whatever stands in your way IS the way” – Zen Proverb.
When I first got sober I thought I really got it. To a degree I did, but not to the level I thought! Friends I’d made in a treatment centre were holding me up as an example and people in the Fellowship were congratulating me on my progress. I had long been ‘Sick and tired of been sick and tired’ and was finding this new way of life invigorating. Alcohol is a subtle foe and I had no idea I was bumbling through the ‘Killing Zone’ walking into an ambush! It wasn’t long before I took my first hit! I was drunk after 4 months and it hurt – a lot!
This all sounds very much the opposite to the quote, but wait a minute let me explain! The Steps allowed me to go through a process akin to dashing into incoming fire. They allowed me to stare myself down and see the real me. At that point I had no idea who I actually was, I thought I did, but no! Looking in the mirror all I saw was the mask that had been welded to my face for decades, one that allowed me to feel immune to my own bullshit. Dashing headlong into the ambush meant ripping the mask off, seeing what was behind it – Self centerdness, Fear, Childish (almost infantile) manipulative behaviour coupled with aggression when not getting my own way. I was outnumbered more than 2-1.
“Acceptance is the key” – If I was to stay sober (not just dry, there’s a world of difference) I had to stare myself down and Surrender. A beautiful, empowering process that takes a little bit time and a huge amount of work. Work that involves ‘ignoring the mind’. The human race has long fell to the illusion that ‘I am my mind’ – Horse shit! Its just another part of the body, quite different from the heart and the hands and every other part of our biological make up I grant that! But the fact remains its just another tool in our physical existence. It is not our life force!
On the contrary ‘It has a contract out on me!’ It can be a warm mistress or a cruel master! Both are imposters!!
Ignoring the mind proved to be very difficult for some time. Staying honest with the first drink/drug I was left with a mosaic view of my character defects, those old and heavily entrenched along with those acquired and learned along the way during the march with John Barleycorn! The illness lives in the mind and it would throw these at me at any given random moment in an attempt to get me back on track to self destruction.
Early in the Program (Step 2) I had learned the necessity of asking for help and the benefits of accepting it. I needed it to “Navigate my way through the Killing Zone” – the minds ‘Influence’ and its ‘Potency’ was more than I could handle alone. I was diagnosed with OCD, it had been torturing me (The imp of the perverse) for some time before I concluded I would never stay sober until I addressed it. Treatment for this has been fascinating and surprisingly enjoyable… get it out there, see it for what it is, habitualize self with it till it no longer has any control over your thought process then laugh at it – i.e.; learn to ‘Ignore the mind!’
The Journey continues and I remain forever Teachable…
I normally quote from two separate people but on this I will end with the great Charles Bukowski –
“Some people never go crazy, what truly horrible lives they must live.”
“Nobody can save you but yourself and you’re worth saving. It’s a war not easily won but if anything is worth winning then this is it.”
D&O in Fresno