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Jun 03, 2015

Mindful awareness of what addiction is

Big old fishing hook (for sturgeon fish) isolated on whiteBefore we can move onto step 6, “Placing Positives Values at the Center of Our Lives,” we really need to come into “Mindful Awareness of What Addiction is.” It’s easy to delude ourselves when the scientists define 10 types of addictions, and our particular one does not come up on their list.

  1. Alcohol
  2. Tobacco
  3. Caffeine
  4. Marijuana
  5. Solvents
  6. Opiates ( like pain killers, heroine, morphine, ketamine)
  7. Anti Anxiety Sedatives
  8. Psycho Stimulants (like speed or cocaine)
  9. Amphetamine (like ecstasy)
  10. Hallucinogens (like LSD)

If you only want to believe what the scientists say then how about reflecting on this: Scientists state that for something to be an addiction it must have the following … Read more »

May 04, 2015

Get over it

Vimalasara-790955So I have survived one month of mentorship through my own programme of ‘Eight Step Recovery.’ I’ve relapsed twice, and am back on track with three days of abstinence. I tried harm reduction and it didn’t work for me. Told myself I will eat a handful of raw cashews a day. I even left them out on the kitchen counter so my hosts could share them with me too. But once they were finished, I went out bought a 500 gram packet and proceeded to eat them for my lunch, during a period of three hours. Now you may think: ‘Get over it, you don’t have an addiction. … Read more »

Apr 06, 2015

Walking my talk

cashew nuts coated wasabiI decided it was about time I make some more effort at walking my talk. So what better opportunity do I have but to work through the 8 steps that I co-founded to take me out of my misery? Although many of the teachings I speak about in the book, were inspirations for me to change my life. I’ve not surrendered to a mentor/sponsor to take me systematically through the set of 8 steps.

While writing the notes on 8 step meetings, which I should say I attended daily while working in India for the month of January, and also writing on how to mentor someone in the program, I … Read more »

Mar 02, 2015

Step five – transforming our speech, actions and livelihood

Anyone who has worked a set of steps either in the 12 step tradition or the 8 step model, will know how long it can take to complete a set of steps. There are places where people get stuck, or just drop out.

Eight Step Recovery

This fith step transforming our speech, actions and livelihood, is one of those steps that can feel overwhelming. ‘What! I have to transform my livelihood? How will I earn my living?’

The reality is if we want change in our lives we do have to begin a moral inventory and reflect on our behaviours. We put speech first, because most people can relate to the fact that … Read more »

Feb 02, 2015

Mentorship and meetings

Sleeping BuddhaIt has been one year since the first edition was launched, and Eight Step Recovery meetings have begun to spring up. I’ve just spent the last month in India talking about 12 step programs, and how the only requirement to attend them is the desire not to indulge in the substance or behaviour of that meeting. However for many Buddhists in India, the word God, has some negative connotations. And so it was a delight to introduce people to another meeting format that may help with their recovery.

Some of you who read my blog regularly will remember I posted a meeting format a few months ago, well now that … Read more »

Jan 05, 2015

Just another day

морозное утро на озереJust another day, a new moment. How liberating is that? This new moment can shape the next moment. This new moment can change our lives. We don’t have to wait for a new year to arrive to make changes. Although it is an opportunity to remind us to reflect on our lives, let go of regrets and live wisely in the moment.

So in the spirit of this old year coming to completion and the new year coming into fruition. Here is a new year message from the London Buddhist Centre. I couldn’t say it any better.

I have much gratitude for London Buddhist Centre, every time I am there, … Read more »

Dec 01, 2014

Step four: Being willing to step onto the path of recovery and discover freedom

My Way or The Highway or the direct path to the four noble truths, the noble 8 fold pathIn this 8 step recovery program – we speak about being willing. We use this word because if one wants recovery, they have to be willing to step onto the path. Too many of us bargain with our recovery. We want it, but we don’t want to do the work it takes to get the recovery. It’s my way or the high way. There is only one path in the Buddhist tradition to recovery, and that is the direct path of the four noble truths and the noble eightfold path. Of course this path comes in many different formulations and lists.

Last month, I heard the The Dalai Lama say: … Read more »

Nov 03, 2014

Step three: Embracing impermanence to show us that our suffering can end

sand in handsAs I reflect on this step, I can’t but help say a prayer for my dear friend, who hung herself last month, because as she wrote in her note, ‘life was too painful’. Sadly my friend is not unique in thinking this, many people have these thoughts, and some of these people eventually take their lives.

Is there anything we can do to help someone who expresses such pain?

Whatever we do it has to be unconditional. That said, the Buddhist teachings can be so optimistic, so liberating if we are ready for the teachings to appear in our lives. Living with the truth of impermanence can help us to … Read more »

Sep 01, 2014

Step two – seeing how we can create extra suffering in our lives

Stick with the first dartThe Buddha was asked, what is the difference between how an ordinary person and a wise person responds to pain? He replied with the analogy of the two darts. All of us experience pain – whether that is physical pain like catching your finger in the door or mental pain such as when someone rejects you. This is the first dart, which we could call primary suffering.

An ordinary person then gets caught up in trying to push away or avoid the pain; in blaming themselves or others, or feeling self-pity. This has the effect of making matters worse: the second dart, which we can call secondary suffering. A wise … Read more »

Aug 04, 2014

Accepting that this human life will bring suffering

Standing Buddha statue, ThailandStep one – Accepting that this human life will bring suffering – is pointing us in the direction of truth. Ask yourself what are you avoiding? What are you hiding from? Most human beings are avoiding suffering. Most human beings are hiding from suffering underneath a veneer of coping mechanisms.

This step acknowledges the different types of suffering we can experience. Most commonly the suffering of ageing, sickness and death. We can not avoid any of these truths, we can not hide from these truths either. So we may as well face them gracefully.

How we may ask? We do this with kindly acceptance. Acceptance is in the present moment. … Read more »