Posted by: innerpilgrimage | September 7, 2012

A Decision Today, A Future of Recovery Tomorrow

          From Lighthouse Trails Research Project: “Contemplative Prayer — A mystical prayer practice that leads one into the “silence” but in actuality leads away from God.” I am grateful for something that would normally make me react to this group as incredibly ignorant and deluded. However, this gives me hope that I can use it to leave God behind, and I am grateful for the new idea. Contemplative prayer, the use of mantras to create a self-hypnotic state (discussed in Imagine No Superstition by Stephen Frederick Uhl, pp. 20-22, in the chapter “Why Most People Believe in God”) which can create a meditative state. Uhl writes, “The hypnotized or meditating person is often surprised at his newly discovered strength and capabilities. Before being hypnotized, he thought himself incapable of doing what he wanted or achieving what he needed for happiness; after hypnosis he sees more clearly his own potential, his own ability to achieve his goals. Once the hypnotized patient realized the magnitude of his own internal power, he rapidly progressed toward mental health and independence.” (p. 21, Imagine No Superstition, c. 2006)

          Step Eleven, as written, states:
         
          Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
         
          From Realistic Recovery, a modified secular humanist Step Eleven:
         
          Sought through study of science and correct reasoning to improve our conscious contact with science and reality, reading for knowledge of the facts of reality and your inner power to carry that out.
         
          Hypnosis works, scientifically and realistically. The Serenity Prayer and program support this idea that Prayer, a form of self-hypnosis in order to find causality between an external deity and internal change, works scientifically as a means of self-hypnosis. Prayer, known about, changes people; prayer, unknown, does not. In other words, a faith-driven person who prays for us creates change by letting us know it’s been done. That fellowship expressed through the action of taking precious time to meditatively consider another human being’s welfare and happiness. To meditate on an individual is to extend that hand to put theirs in ours, so together we can do what we could never do alone–theist and non-theist alike. So, meditative mantra-based contemplation of “science and correct reasoning” or, to use Realistic Recovery’s own Step Eleven (” I will seek to improve my conscious awareness of reality, striving for the knowledge of what is real and rational and for the ability and determination to stop my addictive thinking and behaviour.”) to use meditative contemplation of the real and rational to both improve my conscious awareness of reality and to cease addictive thinking and behavior. Yes, the pop-psych community has taken that and called it: the power of positive thinking. So, entering the meditative state of seeking active change (prayer) before entering the state of passive acceptance of it (meditation) is a process which is part of that special set of evolved traits humanity has chosen to integrate into the self-aware being we are.
          I was watching Out of Egypt, and I think perhaps part of the evolution of humankind’s social structures evolved us into a species which can both create a noble self-will (and self-esteem) from nothing or destroy the noble self-will (and self-esteem). I hypothesize the need to have a sense of power in order to survive got a serious beat-down with the creation of cities. Certain people rose to the top of a social pyramid on the backs and blood and suffering of the multitude below them. A culture of disempowerment and a social structure which sustains and breeds that into a bound-to-one-place population (by the creation of settlements and cities). The drawback of having greater resources is that they are in jeopardy and competition is rewarded by physical-world power for the few. What is above emperors, princes, tsars, and kings? Deities. The masses align with those deities, and they can look forward to a reward. To follow E.B. Tylor’s evolution of spiritual practices? Those who live closest to the land would find comfort in animism because the people lived so close to nature; those who moved to a concentrated population center would seek polytheism to deal with the better and worse natures of humanity because the people lived so close to each other; those who were subjugated in the social hierarchy developed by the elite to keep power would seek monotheism to deal with good (the nobler nature of humanity and the sacredness of human life, itself) and evil (the base human nature to accumulate at the expense of others’ lives). This is just an opinion, based on not-much observation. It’s possible someone with decades of observational experience would agree, just as it’s possible someone with decades of observational experience would disagree. I’m just looking for patterns in the unknowable, another gift of the evolved human mind to make sense of the world around us.
          My greatest trouble with the addiction is that it’s formed from fleeting ideas which pass through me. I find comfort in writing because it takes the ideas and makes them more solid. That’s part of the reason the origami crane-plus-writing thing could be an excellent personal therapeutic device to begin the path to a secular recovery, a secular language of recovery.
          Most important to me is that I remember that together we get better. Together is inclusive. Together means that even as I seek a route through naturalist and secular means to achieve recovery–by using the accumulated knowledge from what I consider may be developing into my Higher Power–the evolved creative spirit, hunger for knowledge of the unknown, and desire to achieve the best of humanity within each of us. That self-knowledge that reaching an HP requires reaching through me to it connects to this secular concept of a Higher Power. It supports the secular steps I’ve read so far, especially those which seek a conscious contact with reality and reason. This, to me, is like walking into an OA room as an anorexic. See, the anorexic possesses the physical world representation of success in program. Inside, however, the anorexic has the same problem–a sense of hopelessness and unmanageability through controlling food as an ascetic. Instead of controlling the world by retreating into the hazy state of overeating, the anorexic uses sheer force of will to deny him or herself in order to earn control of the physical world through proving he or she is capable of controlling his or her physical form. Same addiction, different manifestation. There’s a place for anorexics in program, despite the name being Overeaters Anonymous. Well, I can work program as a secularist, despite the G-word in all of the literature.
          So, that’s moving positively. And I am starting to be less angry at Christianity as an external thing I cannot change–just like other organized monotheisms. I can’t change the minds of people who believe it, just as they can’t change mine any more. I honestly don’t believe any more, and it’s relaxing. I suppose I feel sad like they do, because we each want the other to have peace and happiness and a sense of higher awareness and community and love. That’s the bottom line, there. I want the same things they do for myself and for others. I just use secular, natural explanations where others use religious, supernatural explanations. And, as an honest atheist? There’s no proof or disproof and it cannot be determined in this lifetime. Science says it cannot be proved in the real world (which it can’t reproducibly); faith demands we believe without proof. The difficulty is that I don’t know if an afterlife exists. Since it, by definition, is not part of the physical world, there are no means to use physical-world means to get reproducible and consistent results. People have been seeking a means to know the unknowable since humans have been aware of how little knowledge we actually have about the natural world. Some day we may see far enough into the Universe to see God. Who knows? What I’m pretty sure is that if God exists? It is nowhere close to what the mythohistorical records have set down as faith-based fact. Too many inconsistencies between faith-bases; too many redefinitions of religion, with each one being totally sure theirs is the correct path to God. But, it’s unknowable, I don’t believe in deities as manifest by religion. I do, however, believe in the creative and inspired human qualities imparted to deities. They, to me, are a reflection of us, of our struggle with our own perception of duality. Whether it’s balanced within a deity–both compassionate and punitive in the same archetype-as-god–or balanced between a benevolent deity leading us to good and a malevolent counterpart guilding us to evil, it is still a reflection of our self-awareness. We see this in the Hermetic tradition: as above, so below; as within, so without.
          It comes down to what you believe: Did the divine create humanity . . . or did humanity create the divine?
         
          My name is Jess. I am eating disordered–compulsive overeating and anorexia–and relationship disordered–compulsively addicted to toxic love and socially/emotionally anorectic.

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