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One Breath at a Time

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Hi Everyone, this week we read up to p46 How Can I Believe. This week, there was quite a lot in the reading, like the changing and evolving concept of your Higher Power in Recovery. We also discussed the Three Characteristics of Existence: suffering, or unsatisfactoriness called dukkha; impermanence or anicca; and No-Self, or anatta.

These are big concepts but so essential to understand, so here are your comtemplation questions for the week:

In what ways does the unsatisfactoriness of life (dukkha) still show up in your life, even in recovery?

How has/does the idea of impermanence help to free you from this suffering?

If I am not my thoughts, my emotions, my name, my possessions, my past, or my job, then what am I? (No-Self) Since all of these things are impermanent, is there a permanent I?

For me, dukkha still shows up every time I want things to be different than they presently are, either clinging to how things once were, or fantasizing about how things could be. Acceptance is a key factor here in mitigating the level of my dukkha. Knowing that everything is impermanent and changes helps me into acceptance because the good and the bad won't last so I might as well just deal with it now. Easier said than done of course, but it's helpful to remember to let go and just be present to both appreciate the pleasant moments and to move through the unpleasant ones.

When it comes to what am I? and is there a permanent I? Here's my take: I have realized in recovery and through Buddhist meetings that everything I used to consider my identity is now gone - I was an addict, a New Yorker, a massage therapist, a sister, a daughter and a liar...none of which is currently true, (hopefully on that last one...LOL) so then I try to remember that I am not my labels, and that I am the awareness, the consciousness behind those things. Meditation has helped me with this and I try to see myself as part of the interconnected web of life. This also is helpful when I find myself stuck in self-centered thoughts, which still happens...LOL If I am not this label or that, it helps me step out of ego and be of service to others.

What about you?



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