Meditation, The Law of Polarity and BP

 

images (4)

Over the last while I have had the privilege of giving a few talks on the subject of meditation. I start each talk to the same way, by asking two questions. The first question is, “what picture comes to mind when you think of meditation? After a few minutes of discussion I hold up a picture of a person in the lotus position on a rock at the edge of the ocean and most agree that is what is commonly considered meditating. The second question is, how many here think? After a few seconds I say I will come back to this question later.

James Allen wrote that, “Mediation is the intense dwelling, in thought, on an idea or theme, with the object of thoroughly comprehending it, and what so ever you constantly meditate upon not only will you come to understand, but you will grow more and more into its likeness, for it will become incorporated into your very being, it will become your very self.”

We all think, but mostly at a superficial level. However, our predominant thoughts, be they worries, which graduate to anxiety, or thoughts on grudges and slights, which graduate to anger and then depression (anger turned inwards) prove James Allen’s statement to be correct. We become what we think about.

It is our predominant thoughts that we need to monitor and change if they are taking us towards anxiety or depression. Meditation, the act of deep thought about a theme or idea, on mental wellness has been my aim for a long time now. I understand what mental wellness is and I have become, due to constant dwelling on this theme, mentally well.

Hot and cold are temperatures and are found on the same thermostat. Negative thinking and positive thinking are both thoughts. All are just varying degrees of the other. Hot and negative thinking are not in any way connected and cannot be reconciled. However, hot and cold can be reconciled. If you are cold turn up the heat, put on more clothing and you soon become reconciled with the cold, you become warner. If you are hot turn on the air conditioning, or go for a swim and you are soon reconciled with the heat you become cooler.

This is the law of polarity. Like the law of gravity it is self-evident and can be learned and studied. We can put this law to use in our lives and prove its worth in many ways

Mental illness and mental wellness are both states of mind and can also be reconciled. There are many things you can do as a BP sufferer to reconcile your mental illness into mental wellness, take your pills, build a support team, and keep tabs on your moods in a journal. In this way you work towards mental wellness.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

 

Is this true or False

understanding-philosophies-of-life-1b1-7-638

 

One of the effects of BP is that we become somewhat delusional. That is to say, we can become detached from reality. A situation A to us appears baffling and confusing and others laugh, we get hurt and crawl away.

I have spoken of the fact, and it is a fact, that most answers are within ourselves, we just need to look harder than most to find them. That is our illness, the great blocker of life. If you truly want to live and quit using your illness as an excuse or wear it as a badge then read on. If not, don’t waste your time.

What we need to do is clear away first. You cannot plant a garden in a forest without cutting down and removing a few trees. I am not saying this is easy I have cleared ground and it is damn hard work, clearing all the garbage we carry within us is also really hard work. If you are not prepared to work hard this will just be information.

I found my myth list today and that is what started this line of thinking. All the crap I believed that separated me from reality. I am not going to list my false and delusional beliefs, you can make your own list. What I am going to talk about is these delusional beliefs and the consequential ridged defense systems we construct to defend those beliefs cut us off from life. Delusional beliefs, even “normal” people carry some, as BP sufferers seem to become deeply entrenched and strongly defended. More importantly I want to talk about the tools to dig them out with.

Why is it we never question our beliefs, we just react when they are violated. The biggest reason is that someone is violating them. Instead looking at ourselves we instantly look to the violator. We see all their short comings, pile up all past hurts. Sometimes not just their hurts, but every hurt or slight we have ever experienced in our lifetime, it all comes out.

We need to look at ourselves first. We need to quit looking out and look in. We need learn the value of a journal and asking ourselves hard questions. If I am doing the same behavior over and over, why? Don’t sugar coat, or deny it, answer the damn question. Why do I always put myself in these situations? This was the best question I ever asked myself. Finding the real answer – I had some stupid belief that those situations would not harm me – made it so I never got in those situations again.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

This Key to living, self examination

 

 

c304e252dd3f48848fe61d68e29af87f

I am beginning to realize that mostly what I want to impart in these messages is the key to living. That there is an actual key and it can be achieved. That to manufacture that key in ourselves, the ingredients are quite simple, willingness, the realization that there is more to this world than just you, your wants and needs, an entity I call God to fill the hole, or holes, that realization of  there is more to life puts in your spirit.

There are many teachers of this key in the world, some lead you part way and some lead you back to where you were, expecting selfish fulfillment of your dreams. There are a few that will lead you all the way to that place called self-awareness.

I spent over three years in counselling with a person who did just that, lead me to self-awareness. Gently, kindly but with a specific goal in mind. I went to this counsellor in the beginning with many questions, in short I was willing because I was tired of the pain. He responded by answering them and then asking more questions, which I answered and we discussed. But each session for a long time ended in more pointed questions about me. The result of this exercise, and three years, is that I was led to a place where I could ask and answer my own questions because I had come to know myself so well. Today when confronted with situations I know what questions to ask of myself and where to find the answers, usually in myself.

What in my attitude is causing this? If not my attitude, then my thoughts of beliefs. Where am I being ridged and intolerant? Am I afraid or angry?

And on and on from there until I find the answer that will solve the problem I am having in dealing with the world around me.

“It is a spiritual axiom that when we are disturbed that, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us.” AA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions page 90.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

Finding yourself in all the noise

Be-True-to-yourself-quote

 

What do you really want? Do you want what makes someone else happy with you? That is, nine times out of ten, not what we really want. We buy into so much garbage that the first question gets buried by the second especially in our illness.  We are taught so early in life that to like ourselves is just plain wrong.  This is what so called “normal” people experience. Our illness pounces on this idea of self-love is wrong and takes it to the level of pure self-loathing and encourages self-harm. Until all we feel is pain.
Eckhart Tolle calls this “the pain body.” I call this “my personal hell on earth.” Having lived in this hell and having found a way out, I never want to go back.
You can find many explanations as to why this may be so, but for me not liking myself and taking all my beliefs from external sources was the cause of all this pain.
The Christian writer, Oswald Chambers wrote, “We are not born with character or with habits both these things need to be developed.”
If my Character and my habits do not align with my true nature can there be anything but pain?  Not likely.
The fact is there is no one to ask but ourselves what that true nature may be. This also is a great stumbling block. We are so used to being told all the answers are external that when we come to understand the real answer is within ourselves we have trouble believing it. Even if we do believe it we have no training in how to go about finding the answer.

Finding your true nature, your essential being, is different than finding a purpose, or goals, or anything else. It is digging and finding the bedrock of your being and exposing that to the world. It is not your personality, personalities can change. It is the spirit that came with you when you entered this body and this life. To find this requires diligence and a lot of trial and error. However this is the bedrock on which true Character and good habits can be developed.

Mental wellness, of which I speak a lot, is our requirement to start this process of finding our true nature. Our illness buries our essential being deep within us and fights us every time we get close to discovering our true selves. A true deceiver, our illness hides the truth and lies to us every chance it gets. But there is only one place to find your true self and that is within you and you are the only one who can.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

Happiness

 

 

images (3)

 

If you blame BP for your predicaments and circumstances this message I hope upsets you and makes you think.

I want to be the first to tell you that if you are doing nothing to overcome this illness and are blaming the illness for your problems then you need to reread this sentence.

The problem is not the illness it is you and your lack of action.

If you are sincerely trying to overcome this illness and are trying to look for happiness the problem may simply be not understanding what you are looking for.

Happiness is only a by-product of something else. There is no such thing as a happy person, it is a fleeting feeling unless the person possess the product that allows happiness to remain. When it comes to happiness there is always a way of feeling that proceeds it and happiness only remains as long as that other feeling is present. No matter how fleeting the happiness the other feeling must proceed it and as soon as that feeling evaporates happiness disappears as well. We can recognize happiness as it overshadows the other feeling and the other feeling remains hidden in the rest of our lives so we think it is happiness that we seek. In reality we seek the other feeling, the bedrock on which happiness is built. That other feeling is called a few names, Biblically it is called peace, in modern terms it is called contentment. If you search the happiest times you can remember, no matter how fleeting, you will find that you were content as well. For happiness cannot exist without contentment. This is a truth that most of society has not understood. The truly happy person is content before they are happy, it cannot happen any other way.

I lost my humour yesterday

Where it went I cannot say

With it went the light inside

That burns so bright to lite my eyes

Today I woke and fell to pray

In slipped my humour right away

With it came that inner lite

With a whoosh it did ignite

On Gods command I think, right?

j.p.stefanuk published in Island Wonders 2013

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

 

The Feeling Wheel

 

650_Feelings-Wheel-Color

 

One of my four truths of BP is that through developing a strong spiritual self we can control our mental anguish and emotional turmoil. Mental anguish and emotional turmoil are feeling generated and to gain some understanding of this we need know the feelings we are experiencing. What those feelings are called and which ones are driving us is a good place to start. In that area we, BP’ers, can take heart it seems most people cannot identify their feelings, so we are far from alone.

I found that over the years of my illness I had numbed, stuffed and denied my feelings to such an extent that I had no idea what a feeling was besides fear and anger.  Because of this the first thing I had to learn was to give myself permission to feel.  This permission had to be an actual act, like a teacher giving a child permission to go to the bathroom. I had to say to myself each day and sometimes many times each day that I had my permission to feel. Although this sounds corny without that permission I kept doing what I had always done, stuff and deny my feelings. It did not matter, without that permission I would not allow myself to feel. For me this proved to be an important step.

The Feeling Wheel was developed by Dr. Gloria Wilcox and for me it proved a useful tool. I carried one around in my back pocket for over a year and as my feelings bubbled up and ran over I would take out my Feeling Wheel and identify what word corresponded with what I was feeling. There were times during this process that I became an emotional wreck because I had not allowed any feelings in my life for so long and now I had given them permission to come out and they took over my life. This is surprisingly normal and over time my feelings became controlled and genuine.  If I tell you that I feel secure, serene and relaxed today that is genuinely how I feel. But it was a process to get there.

To become whole and healthy we need to recognize that our feelings play an important part in our lives.  That emotional turmoil is brought on by out of whack and misdirected feelings. In this state we are like tires stuck in the mud unable to move or rudderless ships trying to take off in several directions at the same time tearing us apart at the seams. But there is a way to overcome this turmoil and it is by planting your feet firmly on the path to emotional wellness and doing what is required each day, as difficult as it may seem. It takes time but it can be done.

The Feeling Wheel became my touchstone with reality enabling me to attach words to what I was feeling at any given minute. The interesting thing is that the Feeling Wheel is divided into six quadrants and it did not take long for me to realize I seldom ventured out of feelings that fell in the sad, mad and scared quadrants. It was deciding that I wanted my life to be more in the peaceful, powerful and joyful quadrants and having a visual description of what those feelings were that allowed me to work towards, them ultimately reaching, those feelings in my life.

A Feeling Wheel in your pocket or purse may be the answer for some, as it was for me, along with the appropriate supports such as a good counselor.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

The Feeling Wheel by Dr. Gloria Wilcox can be found as a PDF on the internet along with hundreds of other charts and ideas describing feelings.

 

Entitlements or rights

 

10687eb460414b3f16481ac8b56b54c0

We were all given a rational mind. Our illness sometimes makes us irrational. The most irrational of my personal thoughts were those that made me think that I had any rights and was entitled to anything. These thoughts caused me to expect certain treatment from the world around me, especially from those closest to me. When I did not receive the treatment I felt entitled to I was hurt and became angry.

I have over and over talked about the need to change the way we think and especially to remove those negative thoughts and ideas that kept us from being a useful and productive person. All I ever wanted was to be useful and productive, I just did not know this was what I wanted, but when I became that person it felt absolutely right.

When I changed my view on rights, the meaning of a “right” being – “an abstract idea of that which is due to a person” and understood that all I ever had were privileges, meaning – “things given to me by others that may also be taken away without notice”. I was able to reconcile in my own mind that how others treated me was entirely based on how I appeared to them. If I appeared insane in my thoughts, words and actions, people reacted to me as any would to an insane person. If I appeared always angry and dangerous that is how people reacted to me. I then realized it takes a long time to change someone’s opinion once it is formed. I may no longer be insane or angry but if all the person has seen of me is insanity it will take a while for others to realize that I am no longer that way.

I am entitled to have my needs met by my medical team, no matter how demanding and unreasonable that I am.  That is how far out my thinking became, I really believed that.

Once I realized that I had no real rights or entitlement to anything, my expectations disappeared. Today, I take that realization of my lack of rights and entitlement with me everywhere I go and do not expect anything I have not earned. In doing this I find that I am well liked and invited to be with others in most places. That is a real change.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.

Who is responsible

download (1)

BP is a mental illness and yet few put together the fact that if our illness is mental we need to work on our mind and ourselves not on others. Our problems are not created outside of our selves they are our own creation. This argument is one we need to buy into as it takes the focus off of others and puts it squarely back on ourselves.

For myself, coming to understand this was very difficult. My problems were everyone else’s fault, it was this person’s fault I wound up in jail, it was this persons fault I was homeless. It was another person’s fault that I could not hold a job and kept winding up in the hospital.

There is only one common denominator in this equation and that is me. That realization struck me hard. It is hard to face this one fact, yes you have a mental illness and some things can be forgiven, but now that you are aware of it you have to do something about it. Nobody can take my pills for me, nobody can attend my appointments or my support group meetings for me. As the motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “You can’t hire someone else to do your push-ups for you.”

This one fact really struck me and is a major part of me buying into the idea that my problems were of my own creation. Now that I understand what the problem is, that being me. I have to work on me to fix my problems and overcome my illness. This has proven to be incredibly hard, but worthwhile work.

I am fortunate today in that I have a type of employment where I work alone and it is very routine, leaving my mind free to learn using the latest technology. I estimate I absorb about 30 hours a week of books, lectures and motivational material from sources like YouTube and ITunes U every week.

In being able to feed my mind this amount of positive information consistently has been great in helping me convince myself of things that lead to mental wellness, especially that I am responsible for my own life. The funny things is the more responsibility I take the more support I get.  Kind of inverse of what a person thinks would happen. Yet the reality is that people get tired of propping you up again and again. If they see you are trying to prop yourself up then they are more willing to lend a hand.

Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.