Who are you? Are you your thoughts: The stories that you’ve told yourself for so long that perhaps you can’t even identify the specifics of, that perhaps are just identified as feelings or comparisons, or subtle identifying qualities, judged or affirmed? Are you your body: Growing, impacted by environment, deteriorating in less-than-ideal circumstances, and finally merging into the earth that has supported its existence? Are your emotions: life-giving when positive, but often overwhelming when negative, submerging us in confusion in times of despair, prompting a need to figure out solutions, and find something better?
Or are you a mysterious combination of attributes and energy; some portion of the ineffable that permeates all of existence. And how do you even begin to identify who you are, if you don’t first know for certain who you are not? Many who have been down the road of addiction or alcoholism know intense dissatisfaction with who they have told themselves they are, “I am not ok with this collection of history, experience, expression that I have found myself stuck in! I am not ok!
But who is the I that is not ok? Mindfulness, meditation, and non-judgemental observation can help us separate our true selves from the habitual thoughts, responses, emotions, that we have felt powerless over for so long, as addicts and alcoholics. How do we choose how we want to see ourselves, express ourselves, and perceive the world around us, if we cannot first practice the capacity to identify all elements that are present so that we might see more fully the array of choices we have to pick from?
Mindfulness teaches us how to have the courage to first identify all of what we are experiencing, whether it be joy or pain, physical sensations, or thoughts. When we can fully identify these elements of reality we might then be able to see that if we WERE these objects of focus, we would not be able to look at them. It is this refreshing breath of separation- the observer from what is being observed that allows for the space to call in new energy, new choices, and new impulses to create a better life.
Meditation is a way of practicing the subtle art of accepting all that is so that it may change. We think we have to change in order to accept ourselves but truly we have to accept ourselves in order to change. With many variations and directives, from simple guided relaxation to emptying thought and focusing on breath or a mantra, meditation can build the internal strength to compassionately observe one’s own reality so that through this detachment, new choices can be made.
How often as addicts have we fought pain and discomfort only to find that the fighting perpetuates more pain and discomfort. What would it feel like to grasp even just a moment of understanding that it is ok to feel uncomfortable or in pain, to know that all is changing, passing, evolving?
If we can simply allow what is to be and watch as this allowing transforms all experiences into more of what is desired-freedom, strength, ease, and flow-we can witness a greater power taking shape in our own lives. It is a power not of force or shaming, or criticism, but of surrender, noticing, and finding an inkling of acceptance with things we previously thought unacceptable. These are practices that are valued immensely at Oasis Recovery Center. These are practices we believe are powerful parts of a truly transformational journey that begins with a lot of pain and suffering but leads to freedom, grace, and inspiration.
If you are struggling with addiction or alcoholism and would like to find relief through these practices at Oasis Recovery Center click here. If your loved one is in need of a compassionate treatment program that includes these powerful practices, click here. We hope to help you find relief and walk with you on your journey to freedom and healing. To hear more first hand from one of our highly skilled staff members who guide clients in mindfulness, therapeutic movement, and self-compassion check the video below.