What does Recovery really take? Balance…

Rahesh Balsekar teaches, “it is only when there is firm rooting in…the belief in the reality of the volition of the individual that the notion of karma arises.”  What he means is that suffering emerges when a person is too entrenched in the physical world.  Nowhere is this more evident than in Addiction.  In a lot of ways, it becomes easy to get caught up within an addict’s struggle because we want him to find his way towards physical health.  But what is also all too often lost is that any person needs to balance his physical reality with his spiritual reality.  When the physical reality is the focus, as it is in Addiction, suffering is the outcome.

Religion offers a means to a spiritual life; as do 12-step programs based upon a higher power.  But if the fountainhead isn’t found within a person’s own soul, then no external means towards a spiritual life will work.  Reflection upon a person’s respective place in the world allows his true nature to emerge because, when the mind is directed inwards, internal “senses” perceive that inner reality, just as external senses perceive external reality.  While external sense are well-known, internal senses aren’t discussed with the same commonality.  Internal senses allow a person to distinguish between matters of the spirit and matters of the physical.  That is, internal senses allow humanity to know the difference between that which is Caesar’s and that which is God’s.

But, just as some people’s external senses are stronger in some ways than others; for example, the professional musician who hears musical pitches and can reproduce them perfectly, or the chef who can the seasonings in a dish simply by tasting one spoonful; some people learn to use their internal senses more than others.  However, all people have internal senses that can be used to discern his spiritual reality.  Tools like prayer and meditation and reflective writing can all be used to develop those internal senses in a way that aid in developing a person’s spiritual reality.

The problem is that in today’s world of instant gratification people aren’t really conditioned to use their internal senses.  If, however, people learned to actually use their internal senses, they’d be far healthier.  For example, emotions are the most common internal senses humanity possesses, but they are often confused to be external senses.  They aren’t.  Emotions are little more that mental notions triggered by external circumstances.  They are quite useful, though, when they’re looked at internally.  For example, if a person can learn to reflect upon why he feels a certain way, and whether or not that emotion is serving him in a healthy way, then there’s a high likelihood that he can learn how to better use that emotion and express it in a healthy way.  Further, emotions such as joy can reveal a person’s “right path” and in that path is where a person’s spirituality can be expressed.

There are other internal senses.  Intuition is a very real internal sense that people’s noisy minds often drown out.  However, in prayer and meditation, a person can learn to listen to his sense of intuition and use it to guide his heart towards truth.  Yet, all too often, people are too consumed with matters of their physical reality (mostly out of necessity) to learn to mediate and pray using their intuitive inner sense.  Addicts are an extreme example of the noise created by living for a singular physical goal.  A heroin addict who is active within his addiction and not seeking treatment will use every external means he can to obtain his heroin fix.  There is no sense of spirituality for an active heroin addict because even his internal senses are directed towards obtaining resources such that he can acquire heroin.  If, however, a heroin addict learns to pray in humble thanksgiving, then his internal senses will become sharpened and he will slowly find more balance between his physical reality and his spiritual reality.

Humanity is a mix of realities that need balance and, more importantly, integration. There are paths towards that integration, but those paths require application of both external and internal senses.  When there is no integration, or worse, overemphasis on one aspect over another, suffering will result.  We all have the capability to better use all of our senses; but Will is required in order to find that necessary balance and integration.

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2 comments

  1. I agree with your statement at the end (and the beginning) that it is best to have a balance rather than an excess of one over the other regarding external versus internal. To offer my perspective: I spent a majority of my childhood in solitude. With brothers many years older, a father dead before my toddlerhood, and a mother struggling with anxiety, depression, and resulting symptoms of oversleeping and codependency. As a result I learned to have an intense and vivid inner world. I found solace within. My greatest times of peace occurred after everyone was asleep and I could be alone with a good piece of literature, nature, or my own writing and/or thoughts. During daylight hours I preferred the company of my animals or the peace of nature. This type of life was only possible for a limited period of time namely up until high school graduation when I moved away from my mother. After I went away to college, the world became SO noisy. My solitude felt lonely for the first time in my life, and somehow I felt even lonelier when I was with friends. My already overactive brain and imagination felt overworked and near to collapse with all of the confusion of LIFE. Alcohol and marijuana numbed the intensity of my inner dialogue, feelings, awareness, perceptions, etc. so that I felt I could slow down (my thoughts and emotions) enough to actually interact with people. Nothing ever felt right. Not sober. Not intoxicated. I worried I would become an addict in the substance heavy atmosphere of college, So I ran from college back to my home and my simple life with my mother. I wanted nothing more than to just be alone with my books and thoughts; To be in that state where everything felt right and sensible. It wasn’t until after I met my husband and gave birth to my children that I truly began struggling with addiction in earnest, because I could no longer escape to my inner peace and solitude.

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    1. Note:I wasn’t actually planning on submitting the above comment and was just using the comment space to journal. 😳 But, what’s done is done! So, I’ll finish the comment….. My twin boys are now eight years old, and Through my relationship with them and their father, I finally found what it means to be me in connection to others without substances to mute things inbetween. I have had to admit many things which I previously denied about myself, like the fact that I actually have a temper, or the fact that I can be a real self-involved brat. I mean, when most of your life consists of inner dialogue and thought, you can really drum up some pretty images and perceptions of yourself! All in all, it’s been a truly amazing reality check. I wouldn’t give up my reality now for all the peace, quiet and solitude in the world. I still had years in the past when I yearned for that solitude again, so as mother, wife, and work at home businesswoman, I found myself turning towards substances to try to give me the edge I needed to get all of my work done and still have time and focus for that “me” time. After all of my years struggling with addiction though, I have unequivocally found that no matter what a substance gives in the way of coping or satisfaction, it always…ALWAYS…takes away tenfold.

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