Above is a picture is my son JB3 starting to read the great Thomas Moore's Utopia! This use to be the only way, and type of book I would use to search for wisdom.
"AN UNEXAMINED LIFE IS NOT WORTH LIVING."
This statement uttered by Socrates and written by Plato more than 2 centuries ago have meant more to me than most other quotes ever written. It meant so much to me that I decided to get a degree in Philosophy, and spend time and effort to learn different schools of thought that were available to me. I Studied Political Philosophy, Social Philosophy, Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ontology, and Logic to name a few.
I always thought I could figure out the answers I sought by reading and studying what was available to me. I believe now that like the X Files say, the Truth Is Out There!
Somewhere in all the theories and Ideas that we have come up with, I believe the answer to all the big questions have been discovered and written down. Somewhere in the thousands of books where pen has been put to paper the truth lies out there. Will I ever be able to discern this truth? Hell no, I wont ever truly figure it out. I came to the belief that I can I can truly know is that I know nothing, or so I thought. I also believed I could not logically believed in GOD as a seeker of truth and took to hardcore agnosticism as the only sane belief to have. A belief that means I cant know there is truly a God, and I cant prove he doesn't exist so Ill hang out some where in the middle.
I took all these thoughts and came up with the idea that I was clever enough to live my life based on some combination of thoughts that would guide me through this journey we call life.
Boy, Was I wrong.
All the ideas, reason and logic that I could think about could not fix the hole that I had in my soul or being. They could not teach me a better way to live my life and be content with what I had. They could not help me stay grounded in the present moment and not feel guilty about the past or anxious about the future.
I reasoned that drugs and Alcohol were a great way to have a spiritual connection with the universe, and for a while they were. Then the drugs became the opposite of what they started to be and I progressively descended into hell. I thought I could be clever and reason myself out of this hell. I would come up with a plan to change myself and each time it would fail. I would reason I could change my drugs and mode of using and this would fix the problem I was having. I would use replacement drug therapy and slowly try to wean myself off these substances.
This logically seemed to be a great decision...,until it wasn't. I used reason to say that my life was manageable and not out of control, which at the time I believed it wasn't. I got to the point when even my clever Jedi mind tricks were no match for the ruin which my life had descended into. I needed to change!! I needed to take my favorite quote from the master and Examine and Reexamine my life to the core.
The Only Way Out is IN!!
I started a process of examining my personal life when I went to inpatient treatment in 2016. I examined all aspects of my life in a deeper manner than I had done in many years. I dissected my marital life, my professional life, my family life, and most of all my spiritual life.
What I found were huge holes in all areas that were causing me to hate the person I had become on multiple levels. Choices I made during the last 20 years, and especially during the peak of my active addiction had gnawed at my core until there was little left. I needed to heal in all these areas and I knew I needed all the help I could get.
One area that drastically changed for me was my belief in a higher power that lies outside of me. I through a series of unbelievable coincidences came to believe in a God of my understanding. I call my higher power, Brahman-Atman-Yahweh, or BAY for short. This way I can say BAY WATCH OVER ME, and I'm not talking about David Hasselhoff when I say this. I have found this belief in an undefinable force in the universe gives me solace and immense serenity. I maintain this peace even if I cant Analyze, Define, Conceptualize, or Qualify this divine power like I did with my favorite Philosophical Concepts. Words cant do justice to the feeling of connection I can maintain, especially during times of great adversity.
I speak a form of Heresy to my former self by proclaiming I am a Theist and a believer in my BAY. The best way for me to access the divine ground of this source is to go IN! A wise friend recently told me a non-optional part of the 12 step program I fully participate in Is to MEDITATE. I repeat that this is a NON-OPTIONAL part of this program. To me it is almost one of, if not the most important principle to practice on a daily basis. For the people that cant sit still and meditate, I would recommend walking in the woods, listening to non verbal music-(I Like Phish), or even shooting hoops by myself. All of these I find meditative and helpful in my practice of meditation. Anything that lets me practice mindfulness and keeps me focused in the unending present moment seems to qualify as a form of meditation in my book.
Going inside myself and seeking for truth within has been a powerful experience and one of the tasks I believe humans are meant to do in our lifetimes! This practice of looking inside myself has provided more answers to many of my old questions than looking at outside thinkers ever has. I will continue to mediate and look inside and stop trying to be so smart and think I know all the answers, because frankly I don't. Some times the best answer is not contained in verbal words but in an intuition your feel in the core of your soul. Coincidences are a big sign for me that the universe has my back.
One quote that has appeared to me in multiple places comes from one of the great mystics and truly speaks to me. It is contained in 2 simple and profound sentences. When I heard I knew this was true wisdom in more ways than one,
“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition.” --RUMI
By: John B (JB2)