We start out (in life) by resonating with all that cosmically is. Why? Because at the outset of life we are barely distinguishable from not-us, i.e. from all that cosmically is. And then we individuate, differentiate. As Ego evolves away from Eco, this baseline resonance is lost. Narcissistic correction is to surround yourself with human and abstract mirrors that resonate (echo back) to you your self-signal of illusionary specialness. But a hall of mirrors is still a closed system – a shared delusion of melody which in reality is nothing but separative, dualistic noise.
What is the other path, the other correction? Bhakti yoga – a yoga of loving reunion with all that cosmically is. For some it is an intuitive, no-brainer short-cut of the heart. For others Bhakti reunion plays out through the thorny and brainy detours of Gnani yoga. Know how to get back to your cosmic non-self.
There is a great book that came out recently, Chasing the Scream, by Johann Hari, a powerful voice to add to the ever growing choir that is trying to rehabilitate the rehab industry and shift the paradigm on how we view addiction and treatment of substance use/misuse. With this in mind, I decided to repost an old “position piece” of mine (see below). (By the way, the other voices to note are that of Stanton Peele (Diseasing of America) and of Andrew Tatarsky, the leading expert on harm reduction approaches to substance use treatment).
In my previous work as a clinical director of a drug and alcohol treatment program in a county jail and in my current outpatient work with substance use clients I continuously come across a certain iatrogenic (treatment-related) legacy of powerlessness which stems directly from the 1st of the 12 Steps of the AA/NA philosophy (“We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable”).
I get it: admitting that you have a problem is a psychologically healthy thing. But admitting that you are powerless to solve it?! What a self-deflating stumble of a step to start a journey of recovery… What were Bill W. and Dr. Bob thinking?!
Perhaps, Bill W. and Dr. Bob were trying to pull off a bit of East-West synthesis? Perhaps, the thinking was that surrender or letting go of one’s attachment to the idea of being in control …
“How can the mountain be for me alone? Still it is, I think, for me alone,” is one of my favorite tankas by Shinagawa Tetsuzan.
The Universe likes to witness itself. An argument could be made that conscious life itself is Nature’s hunger for mirroring itself. If taken at face value, this idea comes to existentially mean that each of us is a mirror.
This morning, up at 2am or so, I look out of the window – Pittsburgh (where I live) is covered with beautiful frost and Tetsuzan’s verse comes to my mind, adjusted in a moment-specific way:
“How can this beautiful snow be for me alone? Still it is, I think, for me alone.”
Whatever is – in a sense – doesn’t exist unless sense-witnessed by a reflecting mirror of awareness. And if you happen to be the only mirror who is awake at the moment to sense-witness a given manifestation of this Universe, then this mountain, and this snow, and this proverbial rose (that you are choosing to pause to smell) exists for you alone. It’s the “this”-ness, the “such”-ness of the moment – if sense-witnessed – that is for you and only you alone right now.
related: 10th Mirror of Consciousness/Lotus Effect
Slow eating is when you try to eat slowly. Slow eating is a form of mindful eating. It is relaxing, it is self-soothing, it is self-indulgent. You take your time. You put the utensils down in between the bites. You look around and sip wine as you go. You enjoy a good view and good company.
Slow Emotional Eating (SEE), to coin a term, is when you make a conscious choice to eat to cope and you incorporate the slow-eating-know-how. Typically, stress eating is rushed. You feel like you can’t wait to relax so you inhale whatever is in front of you and then you are done. But you don’t feel done – you ate too fast. Maybe you feel a little better, but you want more time with this pacifier. And that’s where slow eating naturally comes in. The following is a list of slow emotional eating suggestions to leverage the most coping per calorie:
- Give yourself the permission to cope by eating.
- Start with a few humful breaths as the first course.
- Allow yourself to indulge on quality not quantity: Eat only what you want to eat, no point in compromising a moment of self- indulgence.
- Take your time: Set an alarm clock for at least ten or twenty minutes and claim this entire eating time as yours.
- If possible, get some company (but agree to focus on food and not turn this slow emotional eating into a therapy session).
- If possible, find a place with a view: If necessary, …
Our natural state is that of balance. Any system (including a living one) is homeostatic, self-regulating. Likes and dislikes knock us out of that sweet balance that we are naturally in. This is a simple thought. You can’t go wrong with it. So simple that it is, arguably, self-evident. But, I think, it’s worth repeating and remembering.
Centuries ago Xu Wugui said something along the same lines:
“If you persist in gratifying all of your impulses and desires, letting your likes and dislikes have free rein, then the foundation of your true nature will suffer.” (Zhuangzi)
Shunryu Suzuki said: “We die, and we don’t die.”
Yes: right now you are both coming and going, living and dying. Put differently: right now you are dying and not-dying. It is like that now… and, per my conviction, at any point of time, whether it is right now or at a later now when your conditioning and programming tells you that you are “dying.”
This “ceasing and arising” is a non-stop parameter of reality – regardless of its existential or temporal coordinates.
Dostoyevsky once described money as “coined liberty” (1915, 16). Indeed, money is independence. But what is money?
All money is reducible to one and the same currency: energy. That’s what flows through us, what moves us, and what motivates us. Money energizes because money is energy. The American greenback is a symbolic leaf of life: It starts out as a banknote of photosynthesis and is metabolized time and again through the samsaric mill of metabolic reincarnations until it transmutes into a living leaf of informational and symbolic value that is redeemable for energy. Currency is literally a current — a current of energy trade. As such, money is a fundamentally heterotrophic invention. Money is an exchange of borrowed calories by those who didn’t produce them in the first place. Autotrophs, the energy generators, have no need for money. Plants, unlike animals, are fundamentally and inalienably democratic and energy-independent. Each blade of grass has more sovereignty than any human nation. A blade of grass depends on nothing for its metabolic needs except abundant sun, air, water, and minerals. Each blade of grass is a dominion unto itself. It needs not ask, beg, buy, or trade. It is sovereign.
And so shall Homo solaris be. Reliant on the commons of sun, air, water, and minerals for physiological needs, Homo solaris will be beyond money and thus beyond the corruption of money and therefore fundamentally sovereign and inalienably free.
In his book Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life …