A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Third Step

3.  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

The God of my understanding is a God of Love; within Love there is balance, health, wisdom and compassion.  What Buddhists call “Buddha Nature”, which is seen as the core of everyone of us, is God.  I see God everywhere, in everything, especially in our hearts and minds, which when combined seem to form our spirit.  From this perspective we never have been, nor ever will be, disconnected from this Higher Power.  And yet so many of us walk around feeling as is we are separate, not only from others, but from God.  I’ve felt this way too when I was young and especially when I was in a co-addicted relationship where I unconsciously turned my will over to my human partner, not yet having had a clear conception of God in my life till then.  But falling quickly to one of my bottoms within that addicted relationship taught me more in five and a half years than my whole previous life.  My partner, who suffered greatly both before I had met him and with me, was my greatest teacher.  He taught me sweet lessons and he taught me horribly painful lessons, but I realized that that was just the Higher Power working through him, not letting anything go to waste for either of us.  It was up to us to learn the lessons and move forward towards health and balance.

I did so gradually wandering a meandering path up and down still not knowing how to direct myself towards a good and useful life.  When I wandered away from the path, away from the Higher Power, by forgetting the great lesson I was given about admitting that I was spiritually and mentally ill and that I needed to reach out to other recovering people, I was brought, I believe with a most deliberate intention, into several years of acute psychosis.  Over three years time, I hit bottom three times.  The problem and the pain were no longer outside of me in an addicted relationship with an abusive young man, but within my mind itself.  I was given the opportunity to experience the nature of delusions and paranoia.  From the very first moment that this psychic mental illness descended upon me in my already sick, self hating state, there was the strong presence of God there.  When I was most desolate, I never felt abandoned.  It was early in my psychosis that I turned my will over to God.  I know I was thoroughly prepared years before I became acutely ill to endure the hellish times and to place God above every person in the world by practicing peace towards others, towards the voices in my mind, towards myself.

It’s been sixteen years that I have been turning my will over to God during adverse circumstances and good ones equally.  In the beginning it was excruciating and off and on I wanted to die, but the very clear answer I got when I called out to God was - it was not allowed; I had to stay and continue which was the biggest test of my faith I’d ever had.  But in my mind to reject my faith in the absolute goodness of the Higher Power was to be pulled deeper and deeper into the horror of insanity.  And I struggled with having faith when I tried to do what I thought God wanted and still was in so much pain.  But the alternative was so much worse and on a very basic level the sickness within me did not make sense to me, it was illogical, perverse, distorting basic truths.  I was already in love with seeking the Truth since I was a teenager.  My main motivation for continuing to live was that I just wanted to understand the Truth regardless of whether it worked in my favor or not.  I wanted to know because I already knew that revealing the Truth brought God in my presence too and when God was there so strongly I felt myself being healed.

I am in a very good place in my life right now because I am improving my conscious contact with this Higher Power.  I turn my will over every day and ask for guidance throughout the day to be given the clues and intuition to be of service in whatever way this great force, this Great Mystery, decides for me.  As best I can, I go with the flow of the goodness I find all around me.  This is not a painless process.  Following God’s will is not about removing pain and there are times when I absolutely must just sit with the pain and wait.  But now, as compared to before, the pain is mostly minimal and I feel and express a lot of joy in living.
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