Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Under De-Struction

What happened to this blog?

Excuse: work has been busy and taking up all my creative thoughts.

There are one or two things that have been occupying my mind but I haven't come out of the closet to talk about them. One concerns my attendance at 12 Step meetings.

Before Christmas I quit going to these meetings. Then, I realized I really like doing my long weekend runs when I want to do them; instead of working them around meeting times. Then, after not going for a few weeks, I realized that my mind was much more peaceful without the meetings.

A little history here. I went to meetings very regularly for the first 14 years of my sobriety. Then I moved to a monastery and didn't go to any for 5 years; including my first year out of the monastery when I had 3 jobs and no desire to go. Then I got a day job and had time for meetings, so I started going again. Then I moved to the country and only went to one meeting a week because it was a 50 mile drive (I was coming to town for groceries anyway). So, a few months ago when I moved back to town, I intended to re-integrate back into the group. But I found that I had been away too long and could no longer relate to the people. I wasn't living on the same page. I had to filter everything I said into a language they would understand. I realized that I didn't like the meetings. I used to like the meetings 11 years ago; but not now. I don’t need meetings for myself and haven’t for ten or more years.

But quitting meetings means going against the 12 Step dogmatic precepts: the dogma that if you don’t go to meetings you’ll drink again. Truly however, the 12 Steps are a spiritual program of action which I continuously work at far more than the people who preach about going to meetings. I find that quitting meetings has brought space into my life and additional silence which is being used to spiritually change my perceptions of the world. For that I am grateful; but it is a work in progress. So I called this blog: De-Struction.

I am fascinated and in marvel at the flip side of the coin of not going to meetings: wow! I am a solitary and I like it. I like silence. It fascinates me that I spend all weekend alone except for a store clerk or two. I have no "difficult" relationships. I have arrived at solitude. A little history here: about 18 months before going to the monastery, I was in a period of unemployment. Right then, I read about a man who spend a year alone in a room, meditating. I was intrigued by the idea. The story led me to learn about and start practicing silent meditation, zazen or contemplation (whatever you want to call it). Contemplation led me to the monastery. The religious order which billed itself as contemplative was actually far more interested in building a cenobitic community than contemplation so it is a good thing I am not longer there. But I did learn a great deal about the desert experience, the eremitic life and silence during my 4 years as a nun. When I moved to the country, I made absolutely no effort to make friends and lived in silence except for work and the one meeting a week. Work has never been a social burden for me because I am a woman engineer doing analytical work amongst a bunch of guys. I never talk to them except about work.

So I can see how I have taken myself out of society in many ways: no TV, no family, long distance runner, natural vegan diet, student of a non-denominational theology. Looking at the history of how I learned about the spirituality of quiet, combined with my lifelong quest for God, and it finally makes sense that I embrace solitude. Only now am I owning solitude as a personal choice, not just an accident. I am perfectly capable of joining groups and being a friend; but I am more true to myself to let all that go. It takes courage for me to walk in these shoes openly. I've been a closet solitary so as to avoid any opinions. But I have felt so gifted the past few weeks that I wanted to openly acknowledge my lifestyle choice. I’m coming out!

4 comments:

monk said...

Our paths crossed at hermitary.com, and I appreciate a lot from what you express from personal experience, although externally we may appear very different (myself 65, male from Europe, former academic - social sciences, arts, philosophy, theology, bishop, monk for 40 years and hermit for almost as many)we have so many 'attitudes' in common. Perceptive and cut right to the issues, got out priorities right and of course the solitary 'calling'. I know all religions and main philosophical paths as well as monastic types well. Really want to say this: I found when young that I can't merely continue the custom/traditions of any monastic order/community (if one can that presents one with a ready-mady template and one doesn't have to explore spiritually or oneself as a whole person), but have to find my own individualw ay of no one set way - carved out of all the present arising moments of my life as I realize every greater wholeness as a person. And that just being more and more fully in the present moment. The 'success' of this (just being part of the universes like the lilies of the field, the rain, the tres, the sun, dogs, deer, cats, the reed that bedns with thwe wind, the stream that runs and runs - like yourself and I once did, and occasionally dries up for lack of water)in my own life I found to be expressed by" the presence or absence of inner peace (stillness, silence in spite of being super creative, openminded and always evolving) and the ability for inner recollection (whenever the mind, emotions, whatever becoems too dispersed).

Well , this is just a very roundabout way of saying 'thanks' for expressing in public (so that I, and other can share it)a number of essentials about the nature and meaning of human existence. It is to be found in the execution of seemingly simple everyday activities (like Teresa of Avila's washing the pots and dishes, Br Laurence's 'practice of the presences of God in everyday life', and de Caussade's self-abandonment - like the lilies of the field).
Let no one ever behave ins uch a ways so as to take away the joy of living from any other being, even for a moment.

thanks

monk and fellow solitary

(Br) Yossi said...

It's about being genuinely real. I used to attend Al-Anon due to some friends' and a sister's drinking. When my spiritual life really opened, didn't need meetings because dogma suffocates me. I was living the life to which the Steps point. For many, meetings become a new addiction.

Solitude can be experienced wherever one finds him- or herself, even in a crowd. I am not as secluded as you and my dear friend monk, perhaps, but am a solitary nevertheless. It is about context, intention, orientation.

My heart is my cell; the world my cloister--dogma and doctrine free thank you very much! People don't understand me and that's quite alright!!

Living NOW, whether playing with my dogs, working in the yard, trying to find a source of income, meditating, brings me to greater connection with Life.

Each religious or spiritual tradition into which I have been initiated brought me to the same essential teachings at their core. Religions have codified the life out of the message they attempt to impart.

Being aware, real, present, frees of such limitation.


Peace,

BroYo

monk said...

A friend told me about the solitary Maggie Ross, http://ravenwilderness.blogspot.com/2010/02/practical-adoration-iv.html

I didn't know of her, but think others might find her words about silence (spirituality?) meaningful.

monk

Spirit Flower said...

Monk, I did enjoy a look see at that blog and can relate to what was said.

Thanks