Wonderful poems! I felt openly childish and aware.... and my wife was touched in her heart ever so softly but yet strongly to the point of tears. Thank you Brian. Your last few postings have us laughing and crying over here...and how sweet it is.
My daughter Stephanie (seven years old), became interested in our emotions and so we read her your "Blue Skys". She responded with a "that's very nice", and then said "But why is that man saying God is dead. God is not dead. He is saying lies."
We explained the statement, and thus restored your good name, and so then the name of all good men; in the heart of a child. Ah...Brian...if only it could be so like this too restore this Age also.
Your post "Claiming" and the bit about... letting oneself die to be reborn... is a very critical awareness in our Recovery Program with the 12 Steps. As a matter of fact, it has hastened some writings I have been considering this week past to continue with my earlier post "We have engaged the Borg..." The below writings were much written before I read your post this morning Brian. It would now seem that perhaps this posting will not be as strange as I had earlier thought...
Three Easy Steps into a Metamorphosis of a Recovered Drug Addicted Human
Brian and Bob:
Thank you friends for your patient interest, and your generous support postings. You both have mine, and I will be all that I can be in that moment. I trust my response here today explaining my understanding of the Steps is helpful, insightful, and now. Certainly it may seem a bit strange.
Step One states: "We admitted we are powerless over alcohol--and that our lives had become unmanageable"
Step Two states: "Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."
Step Three states: "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."
In Gestalt therapy we can (and I and others do) make use of only these three Steps. These first three are enough. The remainder of the Steps are very personal, and I believe those Steps do not really require the services of a therapist...any good friend and/or peer will suffice as well and probably better. The first three Steps really do require an experienced hand to help the organism attain enough self-regulation awareness to continue naturally as possible. It becomes of real importance that the organism is allowed to be natural and entirely self-generating and self- directed as soon as is intelligently possible.
On July 22, 1981 I accepted ownership with myself of the Steps of Recovery. Not to A.A. Or N.A. To be a member of either/both of those organizations takes a commitment to their respective 12 Traditions. I never made such an agreement. That undertaking is completely different then recovery. Some other time it might/would make an somewhat interesting post. Suffice it to say I have been doing ONLY the first three Steps in my recovery (with Christianity and Gestalt) and I have NOT had any relapse, nor have others that I know of who follow what will be revealed below. Please bear in mind that I speak from experience. This is not experimental to me. I and our fellowship here use what is about to be revealed here each and every day as our foundation for Step One. [And twice on Sunday! Just joking...:-) ] Any ways, some of this perhaps you have heard before...some of it perhaps not. I do stand by it...as a recovered drug addicted person/organism...as a gestalt person/ therapist...and as a Christian. Well then...I now bid you welcome to the WE. (The Borg have landed!)
When an authentic addict attempts Step One he/she/it/organism is at that moment aware of being dead inside; useless to go on living this way. This way of addiction is a road to death. All authentic recovering addicts admit to this. We often talk of how are lives are destroyed and unmanageable. We talk of how are lives are going nowhere. We talk as if we are dead to life. Well, maybe we are saying more then just are "personal thoughts/emotions". Maybe we are saying a truth. This is critical to understand Step One...please bear with me now.
Our self-regulation(perhaps too strong...our awareness) has become aware of our self-destruction. We have very little awareness of I-Thou. Almost complete awareness of I-IT. Only the flesh has any truthfully honest awareness of real normal self-regulation, and in some cases not much but in most still completely viable. The flesh ALWAYS wants to survive, no matter the environments. This is basic truth. We get the addict off drugs for any number of days, weeks, months, years and they almost all make some kind of recovery in the flesh. Their general health improves. Really improves. Sometimes not. This has been documented in many thousands of cases. This is important of course, but there are also some very devious and terrible truths/lies happening in these moments in space-time.
For example, what is death to an addict? Just because the addict is now crying and laughing, and hugging and talking, and promising and agreeing and thinking and being honest; does that make him/her alive? And if it does, then why in heck do most of us go back and relapse? If we are so happy to be" alive", why do we still "want" to die? I mean, isn't that why we wanted to quit drugs...because we were dying? Well..maybe. Maybe not.
Well then, if we really want to live and the Program works, then what is going on here? Because the real truth is that ANY authentic addict that relapses after their acknowledgment of "being alive and well and recovering" is exclaimed too all who will listen; that addict really was LYING about a TRUTH they are aware of.
In other words, when we relapse, awareness is STILL towards death and self destruction because the TRUTH is that we are STILL DEAD INSIDE but have NOW AGAIN "lost" our awareness of this death.
We/They (addicts) were aware in the beginning and accepted it, in a fashion, and so progress was made...they accepted help and they "self-regulated back to life". They were very aware of death in those times, and they chose to live.
In truth however, THEY/WE must have admitted WE/THEY have lives that are now unmanageable..i.e. WE are aware of our death and our life. Then eventually their awareness shifted back to the normal "flesh awareness of death" and the self-awareness no longer and once again did not know cold from hot and up from down and life from death. Once again, all they are aware of is "life in the flesh".
Death is not so very mysterious to me NOW. I can die many different ways; mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically. However, I can only die physically (in my flesh) once and for all earthly space-time. This makes it different than the others. The remaining deaths I can do many times each, together and/or separately, again and again, or even simply once each. Like Jesus Christ did...only once each of the four. Very tough act to follow...once each. A better man then me is Him. I choose to die a thousand times.(I suppose one might never die inside but then how does that one know what life is--i.e. if one does not know what "cold" is, how does one define "hot") The choice is ours and ours alone. The decision is ours and ours alone. The life we have inside is completely relative to ourselves, to each other, and to our environments. Even to GOD. And most importantly, in paradox with death.
Most persons in our society would readily admit to an understanding that the opposite of life is death. Yes, they might even freely admit to this understanding and expect too be understood and supported. Further, they could admit that when the flesh is dead so is the life in that flesh. Maybe it is now "gone somewhere", but if the flesh is "alive", then so is there life in the flesh. Dead flesh....no life in that flesh. Unfortunately, their admittance betrays them. And this is how:
Many thousands of documents in our history support this betrayal, this lie, this untruth. They are common knowledge documents; they are made Law, they are made Doctrine. And in all simplicity, when the flesh is dead, we bury/cremate/whatever the remains and most all agree that life has passed on. Every culture. Every society. Every civilization. Every person knows this as "common knowledge". It is a Great and Final Truth. We ritually cast out the dead. We go on living.
Well, I would like to know why EVERYBODY seems to agree what death is, and yet we are plagued (well maybe not plagued, but sometimes I really wonder) by over 5 billion opinions on what life is. This human-wide phenomena, ladies and gentleman, I find to be HIGHLY irrational. If we go back to ‘what is "cold" if we know not what is "hot"', then I am now aware enough to ask "well, if we ALL know/agree that when the flesh is dead, so goeth the life, then how come we know not life the same together?" Why is death so concrete and life like so much vapor relatively. Why is thier such a WE agreement in death but such an WE disagreement in life? Because we are telling little white lies about ourselves too each other about life and death, that's why. For addicts, this practice is usally lethal and toxic to our continued sobriety.
In other words, if we define death by the perception of the absence of life in the flesh, are we not also defining life as the perception of the absence of death in the flesh?
Well, obviously we are. And that is NOT rational. Life is NOT the opposite of death. The only TRUE difference between PHYSICAL life and death can be found, as supreme evidence, in the flesh.
When I say to you that my thoughts are real and I am thinking them are my thoughts alive? Well yes, of course. And if I say to you ‘do not think of a pink elephant', how many of us do not? Well, none of us "do not"!! And if I say ‘no matter how many of us thought of pink elephants, soon none of us will be thinking of pink elephants' we are all in agreement with this. Life is more then pink elephants. We do not have much time for such fantasies. We move on.
Well, I say that when we move on, those "pink elephant" thoughts DIED. In truth they died. We did not simply just think about other things, just change our minds. Those thoughts died. It happens to all of us thousands of times each and every day. Thoughts dying and thoughts coming to live only to die in thier turn. (We can start to explain some orgins of mental problems from here.)
And the same for feelings. And the same for our spirits. Yes the very same. (This starts to explain why we can be orientated one way spiritually and a complete other way another day and so on again and again. And each time is more real then the last. More alive it seems. This might be some insight to the orgins of doubt and faith.)
Back to feelings. We feel "sad" for example. Then it passes and we feel something else. Perhaps "happy". This is extreme, but I am making a point; the "sadness feelings" died and the "happiness feelings" came to life. And so on with all emotions. (This starts to explain why some persons are continually one-sided emotionally. This is some insight to orgins of emotional problems)
Okay. I am now making some very heavy basic statements on what makes us us. I am talking about WE. Well sure I am. And more to come. It is very clear and bright and wonderfully simple to me. It is like looking thru a single eye inside of me; like hearing thru a soft, primal song; like feeling thru a cup running over. All is quite and bright and full inside me. I accept with every thought, every feeling, every insight what death is. I know it each time I am aware of any change in the field, no matter how small or large the effect. Every change is the death and the life of me. Of my I-IT. My I-IT is dead to me AND I am aware of this death, and therefore my I-THOU is life to me AND I am aware of this life. I know from cold and hot. We all do. The LIE is that WE are NOT aware of this awareness of life and death.
Well...I say WE are aware in truth. We simply lie about it. How we form in the field at the boundary defines our ability to ascertain our awareness.
The truth of this awareness sets us free of the problems associated with such a jail of lies. Paradoxically, the lies of this awareness imprisons us in jails made out of truths. It is enough to make one completely mad. Obviously, that is why there is a real need for therapists.
That is why I can say I love drugs and not use them. I do not really love drugs. It is my awareness of death that loves drugs. My awareness of life loves being sober and free. Free of the lies of loving drugs. Ya, I love drugs alright....I love to hate them...and hate to love them!! It is my awareness of both that keeps me authentic.
It is in lying about this awareness that is the origin of our problems. When drug addicts lie enough about this awareness, it certainly causes them to relapse, and starts them back on the road to a death in the flesh as well. Others who are non-addicted would have the same problem, just harming themselves in a different manner. Authentic drug addiction to me is simply a choice of method of self-destruction once the self-regulating organism refuses to face the truth of being aware of what is dying "inside" the organism. I have no idea why the choice is made for drug addiction however. I am not a biologist/chemist.
Self-regulation will always try to improve awareness. If the organism constantly refuses to accept this awareness, self-regulation is forced into a destructive cycle to heighten the potential for awareness. Force the organism to be more aware of death so that it can be more aware of life.
Self-regulation does not anticipate failure. Failure would be simply death of the flesh. The flesh is "hardwired" to ALWAYS seek life. This gives self-regulation no fear to use any and all perceptions of awareness it can generate to force truthful awareness from the inside. The awareness of death is just awareness /knowledge of what life is and is not.
When we lie to ourselves, we lose awareness of this self-regulation that nevertheless goes on anyway. However, this lie of awareness can produce some very unhealthy truths of illness, that we all suffer from in some fashion or other. Some of us rather mildly and some of us rather strongly. Even so, most of us are well aware that we are somehow both living and dying when we pass infancy. Very young children of course are very much aware that they are DYING as well as LIVING. But we will raise them to become not aware of that awareness. And by the time they can speak with us, our teaching of "unawareness to death except by the flesh" is almost complete. They know not how to express thier repressed understandings...thier is no "language" for thier honest reponses. Very old people are very much the opposite, but have the same problem of expression. They begin to naturally become aware again of death inside them, not just in the flesh, and they become like very young children again. Which might explain why healthy, normal children have little fear of living to the fullest, and why as they get older, and are forced to become aware of having to accept the lie that it is only the flesh that will one day die...they very much start to have problems with life. And why older persons start to say that they do not fear death as much, and actually start making statements that it is only the flesh which keeps them alive. They long for death to be able to get on with their lives. How very paradoxical!
Okay. That is in part an explanation of Step One. Step Two and Three will follow as my time and energy permit.
Bob... I really am impressed with your postings. Takes a person with an aware heart to pick up and start again, all in the name of helping others. Much Peace to you Brother. I hope this posting feeds your brain.... :) Later.
Brian...I hope this gives a better grasp. Your insight with the Borg bit was really quite beautiful and appropriate for one such as me...I will never forget it's simplicity and in-my-face-realism... live long and prosper.