Posted by: innerpilgrimage | December 12, 2010

Intellectual Pursuit of G-d: Faith-eism

Holiday Eating Season Countdown: 21 Days
Countdown to Christmas: 13 days

      Intellectually, I know that enlightenment comes from the heart, not the head. The irony is that I used intellectual pursuit to find something that really should be gut instinct.

      I trust my mind (head) more than my emotions (heart). Logic, however, fails me because the human element comes into play every single time. That human element is the emotional content which can warp my intellectual pursuits, which has led me into despair and addiction. My head insists cause-and-effect and logic trees will always work. The chaos of emotion, however, makes sure that it doesn’t work that way. Reality has a randomness generator built in, which can skew theoretically reproducible results.
      The pursuit of perfection follows lines which were built based on something akin to the development of cargo cults. By taking faith-based texts as intellectual truths (therein lies the problem) instead of heart-based truths, I was able to build messages based on events. For example, the New Testament implies Christ was perfect–G-d in human form. To live like Christ is to be perfect in human form (though his violent freak-out at the moneylenders in the temple always confused me; a man of peace getting his righteous ire up and causing destruction of property went against the other things I had learned about Christ). The natural state has id drives which are overcome by the superego. No one really discussed how the Christ got past those biological drives (well, one person did, but it was a work of parody: Lamb by Christopher Moore) and was able to achieve perfection that way.
      Well, I assumed that if I had the intent, I could completely avoid my biological drives. I was a little girl when I started; the nature of sexuality was alien to me. When unwelcome puberty hit, I was all-at-once overwhelmed.
      The frailties of the humans I gave authority over me also came into play. I assumed intellectual perfection of them, despite their glaring failures which I chose to ignore. By ignoring the failures and putting those people up on high pedestals, I did a disservice to them and to me. But obedience was the order of the day, as was intense punishment for slights against those imperfect (and often addicted) people. Intuiting those people were wrong about me in the depths of my heart yet intellectually knowing that they knew better than me because of expansive educations in comparison to me made me begin to martyr myself. As time went on, I gained intellectual knowledge. And with that came grandiosity and the associated impatience with people who could not understand what I was expressing. Those people were more in tune with their emotional intelligence, so they could turn away from my (often broken) logic pathing.
      In comes manipulation, the use of my intellectual knowledge to see patterns and emulate emotional content in order to influence others. Seriously. I was denying those fallible emotions by then. I just wanted what I wanted, and emotions got in the way. Remove the emotions, I reasoned, and I could get what I needed.
      Wrong.
      Instead, I became wide open to the suggestion of others as my need to connect to other human beings appeared to grow (though I think it was sustained; it just looked bigger because I was emotionally anorexic). I chose to be open to it all in order to get what I needed. But since I wasn’t being honest in my emotions, since I did not grow up with a sense of emotional growth and stability in my home situation, I turned toward sources all around me to define that basic need: love. What I got was a sense that I could only be loved if I were thin (taught to me by peer pressure), and that the intense romanticism of fiction books, television, and film was love. It makes logical sense, if you consider that actual love cannot be quantified or even qualified. I’ve read a lot of texts regarding “love”, and I have found that there is no concrete definition. I have, however, found clear expressions of romantic passion which were called love. I gravitated toward the defined quantity, and that became “love”. I chased it and found it to be empty. So I assumed I was doing it wrong. After all, these fictionalized characters were getting happily-ever-afters. But the stories in book, film, and television are a snapshot. In many romantic stories, the endpoint is the grand and glorious wedding.
      I find I am not alone in my thinking. A lot of people seem to focus on weddings as the exclamation points of their lives, assuming that getting into a church in thousands of dollars of lace and flowers and cake and ribbons and rented tuxedos will assure them a lifetime of joy and glory equal to the ritual. The more intense the wedding, the more assured the “Happily Ever After”.
      In reality, I’ve seen the opposite happen. With such a grand celebration, the let down is equally huge. Moving into real life from the intense event leaves one feeling empty. Those emotions from that day cannot be maintained for decades without exhausting people. The hard work of learning to live as a partner, not an individual, is the process of real love. It’s hard to do when a culture says, “Intensity is how love is measured.” But from what I have read on “real” love, it’s a slow growth process. It’s the development of honesty with and trust of another person. Passion does not demand trust or honesty. Passion comes on fast (love at first sight). And passion fades because it is exhausting. And then, because the passion has to fade so real life can be lived? People believe they have fallen out of love and get divorced, hoping the next big wedding will be the solution.
     
      What I just wrote above are intellectual observations of an intuitive state. Intellectually, I see what happened and believe I can build a logic tree which can help me avoid those things. Intellectually, I can be an exception to those rules if I can learn the alchemy of true and real love.
      The problem lies in that love is not part of the logic tree. The experiment cannot be replicated. I could try to follow another’s life precisely the same yet find I get different results. That’s where the logic fails every time. Love is illogical and requires emotions and a trust in the intuitive. A leap of faith that the other person is leaping with you.
      I am finding that the intellectual pursuit of recovery is the same thing. While I do admit that getting information from many sources is good (because it introduces me to concepts which can adjust the logic pathing I have installed in my brain), it can only go so far. I have to take that leap of faith. I have to, at some point, release that pile of new information and let the spiritual awakening happen in its own time.
      Fear of weakness makes me want to have the answer as soon as I read the new information. The fallacy of doing that: (1) I am giving authority of my life over me to someone else, (2) I am trying to control my life and reality instead of sliding into my place in reality, and (3) I am intellectualizing something that can only be intuited by letting go of the distraction of intellectual pursuit of the answers.
      I balk at the intuited understanding that my emotions will heal me; intellectually, I have seen how emotions have devastated my life. I also see, both intellectually and intuitively, that I was not approaching the emotions as something to pass through. Emotions, also, should not be the source of my decisions, especially if they are the secondary emotions (generally rage, anxiety, and paralyzing terror) which come from denying the primary emotions.
      Again, this is intellectualizing something that should be intuited. I don’t trust that intuition not to be insanity (it has been before, when I’ve trusted my gut instinct as filtered through the addiction). I suppose because I missed out on the life skills education the first go-’round, that intellectual pursuit has merit. But it cannot be the end-all-be-all of that pursuit–which it has been for the last few weeks.
      I’ve gotten a bunch of new information in which I believe can be used by my intuitive self to live a recovered life. Now I have to “let it go to my Higher Power”, release it completely, and let reality churn it until my intuitive uses the information to create flashes of common sense, ie. enlightenment. During this time, what applies to me will be brought into my life, as intuitive awareness changes how I approach the world. And again, I am chasing this logically, trying to find an explanation of the inexplicable.
      Letting this go is key right now. That means I have to walk the laboratory of reality, of the world, and keep my eyes and ears and heart open. If I spot an emotion inside me, it’s time to slow down and experience it fully and fearlessly. There are secrets hidden inside those emotions, things I have locked away in order to survive. Self-truths are revealed when I slow down and accept them . . . despite the terror that, this time, I will receive something which will break me mentally.
      There’s a place in my heart which says, “That’s not true.” In fact, an intuitive message came up:
     
      What is revealed at any given time is revealed because I am ready to process it. The things which I am not ready for are still tucked away, hidden so deep that I won’t have to face them until their time to be revealed is at hand. I unlock whatever I have the keys for, whatever I am ready to experience with the amount of recovery I have at this moment.

      My secrets are like that old candy I dually loved and hated as a child–Atomic Fireballs. Any person who’s had one will remember the intensely physically painful (often unendurable) cinnamon exterior one has to pass through to get to the cooling center. The emotions are the painful exterior of those preserved experiences, the thorny defenses of the delicate memory or experience or lesson within. I have defended my vulnerabilities with pain in order to keep me from them. As the most critically judgmental person of me that I know, defending those vulnerabilities from the one person (me) who has full access to my core was probably a survival mechanism. I’d tear those memories apart, intellectually. Hell, I probably already did, which is why they have intrusion countermeasures in order to keep my pain-avoidant addict self from touching them.
      The power of recovery, for me, is trusting that I can experience the emotions yet have the strength, guidance, and willpower sourced from within by my Higher Power (the reality which says, in essence, that yesterday is simply a series of memories, not the situations, places, and people out of my control which unavoidably will affect my life, today).
      From that recovered belief comes the peace that by letting residual feelings burble up to the surface as an unintended trigger brings them forward (in addiction, the pain and the resulting pushing back down brings up that inner critic’s messages that feelings are bad and going through them is dangerous).
      The healing process involves opening myself to experiencing the past emotions to their illogical ends and respecting and accepting what is protected within. By pushing aside that reactionary need to deny my emotions as soon as I get the first hints of anxiety that something important to my recovery is surfacing (even if it’s just an opportunity to work my Fourth Step inventory more rigorously), I am honoring the natural and human process of even having emotions. As I go through the emotions completely, they pass. They have every single time so far, possibly because I am trusting that reality is right: Feelings pass because it is normal not to dwell in or deny emotions. This practice does several things:

(1) I learn to experience emotions in a healthy way–instead of deny them. Denial means I have to suffer the insanity of having them burble up when they’re triggered and pushing them back down before I feel them. Acceptance means I am practicing being human instead of a robot in a skin suit;

(2) I gain insight into my past. Patterns are revealed, resentments are brought up to be worked through the Steps;

(3) and, through practice, I begin to trust that my intuitive self is not broken. That I am not innately broken. That I, as a human, am a confident, emotionally intelligent, logically and linguistically intelligent, and honest person.

      In other words, the rewards I reap from trusting the spiritual and intellectual and intuitive revelations are that I can live in this body in today. I don’t have to run toward yesterday or tomorrow. I am here, I am aware of my surroundings, and I am learning both intuitively and intellectually at any given moment. I am part of the process of change, not a free radical insistent on staying frozen in the past as reality presses hard on me to adjust to what has already changed.
      If I need an unchanging constant? Then I can accept that change is it. I am growing older every day, making choices each day which will affect change in the fog-veiled tomorrow. I don’t know what the result will be (my cause-and-effect logic pathing having failed me quite a lot because reality does not work that way), but I do know that as long as I am intellectually and intuitively open, I can get through it.
      I survived my childhood. I survived just over two decades of adulthood. Despite my constant self-loathing and sense I was a drain on the universe, something deep within me kept me alive. Something deep within myself considered me redeemable enough to even start looking for solutions–from reality television competitive weight loss to LAP-BAND surgery to Overeaters Anonymous.
      I chose Overeaters Anonymous because it was the simplest do-it-now, attainable solution. The rewards, so far, have been staggering. And I thank whoever penned, “Our Invitation to You” for putting in my head that I was there to change not only my physical fitness but my mental and spiritual fitness as well. Something clicked along the way, that I would have to work the spiritual and the mental recoveries to maintain long-lasting physical recovery. The mental and spiritual recovery will return me back to the rooms from relapse (if I go that way), because I am a redeemable and imperfect human being. I have the same innate value as everyone out there. My life has purpose, even if it us just to exist in order to show others that their lives have purpose, too. I still don’t entirely know my purpose, but I don’t think it matters. In fact, I think perhaps not entirely knowing it is probably a greater gift. Not knowing means that I can approach it intuitively, not intellectually. I can’t kill that sense of purpose with study and giving authority over myself to others who I consider “figured it out.”
     
      My name is Jess, and I am a food addict and approval addict. I am innately attracted to finding logical answers to every question put out there. However, sometimes the answer does not logically follow the question. Sometimes the answer to the question, “What do you get when you multiply six by nine?” is forty-two (thanks to the late Douglas Adams for putting logic into perspective, that it can only take us so far as we seek the answer to life, the universe, and everything).

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