Posted by: innerpilgrimage | September 19, 2011

Sense and Sensibility: Knowledge is Powerlessness (But That’s Okay!)

      “The more I see, the less I know / The more I like to let it go . . . Hey oh, whoa.” Red Hot Chili Peppers, from Snow [(Hey Oh!)]

      I recall the nature of Sense and Sensibility from the Jane Austen book, where Elinor and Marianne are pretty-much defined by those words. I think Elinor is defined as sense, that moral capacity of reasonable understanding, whereas Marianne is sensibility, that susceptible nature inherent in a passionate person. Though I tend to connect both words with the act of being logical and rational, I have to say I honestly don’t know which sister is which as defined by their characteristics. One is emotional and one is reserved. Both are part of the process of recovery, where the passionate emotional drive leads us into danger until we have a life-changing experience and where the self-editing we do in order to keep ourselves controlled despite the inner turmoil is slowly abandoned until we are freed to live one day at a time fully but with serenity derived from a higher source. Both can be used as tools to maintain the addiction; both are also tools of surrender. How we manifest them is how they affect our decisions in life.
      Though honestly, I don’t know if that logical connection applies to anyone but me, or even if it applies to me–which is why I also admit that knowledge is powerlessness. The more I learn about living fully in a Universe of infinite possibility, the more I realize I don’t know. Accepting this has been hard, since the perception of the addict seems to be that the conflicting rules set down by experience (our addiction stories) supposedly make life easier. The problem in my own experience is that reality creates diametrically opposed, conflicting rules within me. I don’t know which rule to apply any more because I’ve applied different rules to similar situations. So, the more I live, the more I realize that to be alive in recovery, I have to let go of what I think I know (my opinion of how things really are) and embrace what I do know (that a Universe of infinite possibility means I can’t even begin to know anything, despite having access to all knowledge through a Higher Power).
      In Christianity, this access to all knowledge through a Higher Power is considered The Holy Spirit, that divine ambassador between human beings on earth and G-d. John 14:16-17 says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” In popular culture, we call it psychic abilities–the intuition and clair-abilities to discern spiritual messages from our own opinions. Yes, I said it. Christians are supposed to develop their psychic abilities in order to manifest a greater understanding of their spiritual purposes, just like everyone else. (Many thanks to Christian psychic Echo Bodine for putting out a whole chapter on the responsibility for Christians to use their divinely-given psychic gifts in her book, The Gift.)
      So, that’s what I’ve been up to this week–surrendering to a Higher Power and not surrendering to a Higher Power. How I discern the difference is whether or not I feel connected to that Higher Power and what’s happening in the world. I’ve experienced what I would consider “impossible” and have no opinion on it, still. I can’t muster a freak-out over having such illogical and rules-free occurrences happen, which honestly signals to me that I’m still in acceptance, overall. I’m not sure if what I experienced is real, but I’m not judging what happened. I know it happened, yet I am so stunned that my brain can’t fathom why I was exposed to it and just has surrendered to not even trying to set and judgments or assumption-based rules on the experience.
      My friend who visited is growing in her psychic abilities, and I guess the flow of that kind of energy kicked on the connection to my HP more often while she was here. I am humbly grateful for whatever happened, because I felt protected by my Higher Power in that hyper-awareness. As hard as it is to admit this truth, I have clair-abilities. Now, I’m not going to get all egotistical here and say they belong to me and I am a special and unique snowflake for being able to access them. Nope, this is part of that Higher Power connection (or, in Christian terms, that connection to the Holy Spirit). Being plugged into that Higher Power (the unplugging from lower energy to higher energy is something Dr. Wayne Dyer talks about in his live lecture series, There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, which I sense may be connected somehow to this–but I don’t know how) places spiritual beings having human experiences into a position to get access to that Universe of infinite possibility. It manifests in gut instinct (intuition, aka. clairsentience) and in my weird ability to hear people lying or telling the truth (clairaudience). Sometimes I get visual hits from memories of what I’ve seen and dreamt (deja vu and clairvoyance). The other clair abilities really don’t manifest for me often, but there it is anyway.
      Does this sound crazy? Well, it does to me more often than I’d like to admit (though less often than I’d like to admit those gifts of spirit manifest themselves at all in my life). I have spent a lifetime preferring to follow my limited opinion because it’s easier. It’s been established by the intense study of others’ experiences combined with my own, and the logical path of experimenting and building definite conclusions makes sense to me. While I have had these gifts of awareness with no logical source available to me since I was young, it really is easier to simply dismiss them and deny I experience them at all. I want to fit in, and this is a big cultural “Does Not Fit In” label right smack in the middle of my forehead.
      One of the prices of recovery is that when I surrender, these senses get stronger. It does, in its roundabout way, make logical sense. I mean, I am surrendering to a Higher Power, here. Things I have determined through the logical path of the Scientific Method (how I build opinion through observation) don’t apply when I’m in surrender. Here be “monsters”, which actually aren’t monsters–they’re miracles. I’m off the map when I work the Steps, because somehow I get healing by giving up what I think I know and allow myself to accept my place in the Universe, in Reality. In essence, when I surrender to HP (G-d, the Goddess, Unity, Reality, Higher Power, It, the Universe, whatever anyone wants to call it), I access things I cannot explain logically.
      To be honest? Anyone who ever does start the search for purpose and meaning will get here, will get those Higher Self drives to evolve and grow, those messages from the gut that something just “feels wrong” or “feels right” (among other things). I think purpose and meaning can’t come from the rehashing of experiences, the retelling of our life story. To live Just for Today puts us where we need to be in order to access this serenity that even when seemingly bad events are on the way or we are deep in it, we’re okay. It’s supposed to happen, and we’ll springboard up to a greater connection to that Higher Power through the harsh lessons.
      I’m not sure. What I am sure of (okay, what my opinion tells me through experience) is that I just admitted I am “psychic”. We all are, but that’s not really the point of feeling anxiety over telling this truth. The judgment and assumptions which create the “Us and Them” mentality regarding this connection we all have is what I get to deal with. However . . . it’s not unseen in culture. Any time a miracle is experienced and we believe it, we are accepting this gift in others. Every time we want to find a long-gone-from-our-lives friend and we’re blocked through tested means, only to have that person find us and contact us? We’re experiencing this gift. Self-help books love the mantra of “The Power of Positive Thinking” and “The Power of Attraction”. These things happen, whether or not they logically can be explained.
      I want to peel off that label of “Experiences ‘Psychic’ Stuff” because it’s not really part of the label-wearing physical world, the one that separates us from each other by defining everything. But I do accept that labels are how we transfer information to one another. For example, I am a member of OA and SLAA, which people will see and render assumptions about me from. However, to use the title of a book by Terry Cole-Whittaker, What You Think of Me is None of My Business. How others perceive the world (and so often share, whether or not we care to hear it) is not our business. This is judgment and assumption based off of individual experience. In other words, my opinion of others should not matter to them because it’s only opinion formulated by the good and bad events which have occurred in my life story.
      I’m not really sure where this is going, except to say that I’m working honesty. I didn’t want to talk about the baffling experiences, and since they involve someone else? The details aren’t going to be in this or any other post. I did experience things outside of what I thought I know. I guess I’m just hoping that by writing this, someone who needs to hear “You’re not weird for being open to these inexplicable experiences” will read this and understand that it does not define them. Everyone, no matter what faith or religion or lack of faith, uses what I just described as “psychic”. Turning left instead of right because of a gut feeling. Being drawn to one color tee shirt or blouse over another because it just “feels right”. Meeting someone who changes our lives, or having an unexpected reunion with a friend in the most unlikely place where we were drawn to without reason but which would not stop incessantly nagging us to be there and then.
      I cannot begin to explain it, and I’m not going to. I do not know, and it’s not my place to try to make easy something that is simple (inexplicable events and miracles happen). For example, the drawing of abundance is simple in my life, but it’s not easy. I can’t draw abundant wealth to me through the practices in books like The Law of Attraction: The Science of Attracting More of What You Want and Less of What You Don’t, and The Secret, but I do draw abundance when I feel I have enough and am content with it. When I do receive abundance, I send it along because I am deeply aware I don’t need it. I am aware that hoarding the abundance only makes me suffer, and I find inner peace by distributing it to those people who would be able to reach having enough from receiving my abundance (the reason I crocheted winter hats for charity last year and this year). So, I accept that by living aware of what is enough, I am given the gift of distributing abundance where it’s needed. That said, manifesting abundance in my life involves simple 12-Step-program-led footwork which requires perseverance and surrender–the two elements I have learned are part of how I can determine if I am doing footwork or am making myself busy in order to distract myself from personal (and spiritual) growth. For others, manifesting abundance is different. It may be similar to mine, but it definitely is personalized–just like the relationship to one’s Higher Power (G-d, the Goddess, the Universe, Reality, the Source, whatever one calls it).
     
      I don’t know what this all means. I do still doubt what I have seen, felt, experienced sometimes because it goes far beyond logic. It is definitely easier to dismiss it, to tell myself I was temporarily deluding myself into only thinking I experienced something inexplicable (even when I have rational and sane witnesses who can confirm the odd experience). However, once upon a time I could not read, I could not ride a bicycle, I could not understand French, and I could not drive a car. Today, I do those things without even questioning myself. If the daily abilities I have which I now take for granted were once entirely unfamiliar to me, why not this? I mean, I’ve seen people predict things accurately. I’ve sensed something change in voice and the energy in a room when they do it, too. Why is that any different than not being able to suss meaning from the 26 letters (and the many accented letters which supplement French) combined to create words which can be formed into sentences which can be formed into written thought? The ability to learn to use intuition and inspiration on a daily basis is accessible to us all, just like the ability to learn to read is accessible. Whether we turn from it is our choice (though it does keep us limited in scope and possibility). And I see people using intuition and inspiration–whether or not they realize they are using it–in order to create a favorable outcome.
      It’s part of the reason I don’t like hard-sell or pseudo-sympathetic salespeople–it feels like they are trying to use force of will to break me down so they win and I lose. The salespeople who approach a sale as a win-win situation for all involved will get a sale from me nearly every time (the thing they are selling factors into it, too, but I will walk away wanting to do business with that person in the future and will word-of-mouth recommend that person to others). That whole win-lose thing still triggers my character defective behavior, a lesson I keep getting tested on in recovery yet keep tripping over. I know I should smile, be polite and thankful for their time, and walk away. I just want to scrap with them verbally, trying to force them to see that they’re wrong to abuse the trust relationship like that. However, it’s not my job to change how they approach life. If they feel that living in that manner is empty, they will change. If they feel fulfilled by the challenge, they will not. Either way, my opinion of them is not their problem, since it’s not really my job to be judge-jury-sentencer of the Universe. I have enough to do without deciding I am Queen of the Universe and must control them so their behavior is not offensive to me. I consider both my aggressive behavior (when I pitch a hissy fit in order to get my way–which never works out for me) and my passive behavior (when I don’t get passionate about what others are intensely passionate over) frustrates others just like that win-lose attitude frustrates me.
     
      Eh, it’s about progress, not perfection. I wouldn’t be here in this living and evolving world joining those forces of living and evolving if I were supposed to be perfect the moment I surrendered to hope and walked into a room two-years-minus-four-days ago.
     
      My name is Jess. I am compulsive over food and toxic love–both restricting and overconsuming them. I suppose the cycle I’m learning right now is how to use the Pillar of Mindfulness called “The Child’s Mind.” I am experiencing the intensely unfamiliar and do want to learn more. Okay, I want to learn it all. However, just like wish I was talented at computer programming, and just like I wish I could make realistic watercolor-and-ink art, and just like I wish I could make a delicately thin crepe, and just like I wish I could keep my stitches tight when I try to knit? I have a limited brain in this limited body, which means I can only store a limited amount of abilities in brain memory and in muscle memory. I do have a combination of talents, despite not possessing certain ones I wish I possessed. I am learning to accept that my talents fill in the gaps when others around me need my talent set and have limited access to those talents until I come along to contribute what I do know.
      I really do believe that when we work together we all make a difference. Together, we all complete the picture. Being a puzzle piece isn’t bad, because I am humbly thankful I get to be part of the whole picture at all.
     
      To whoever this post is for? I hope it helped. I’m not really sure if it’s for me, but I had a pull to be honest about something I am still deeply reluctant to talk about. When I am drawn to write honestly about something I’d rather keep hidden? It tends to mean that someone needs to hear a message from their Higher Power through me. Only by exposing this can I maintain my recovery without falling into an intense ego struggle which puts my abstinence in jeopardy. And no, I don’t feel special and unique about being a messenger, either. I receive inspiring messages from the most unlikely of people sometimes–in and out of program–and I’ve found that we’re all messengers, just like we’re all teachers and students of each other. Definitely a serenity-creating reminder to practice humility.

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