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.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Prayer In Action

I found out several months ago that my uncle knows of my blog and really enjoys looking at my art work, but I know when it comes to reading my blogs that he probably does not agree with my belief in a Higher Power because he is a dedicated atheist.  He is a man who has an I.Q. of around 170, which is very high.  My whole family is/was very bright.  My uncle is very educated, extremely well read and knowledgeable and expertly articulate.  He and his sister, my mother, firmly rejected their Catholic upbringing and instead embraced atheism through what I would call cultural humanism and a firm belief that one should do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.  From their perspective we live this one life and then we die and when we die we simply end with no spirit remaining.  And because they believed that we have just this short life they strived to live life ethically, to be helpful and not harmful, to be honest, tolerant and well informed.  In this they all succeeded.  My uncle especially is a modest man and a good man.

I pray for my uncle every day that he be safe, healthy, happy and useful.  I really believe that we humans are interconnected in ways that can't be measured and proven according to our self created rules.  When I open my spirit each morning to acknowledge and respect my uncle's life, and many others that I know of, I believe I preserve and deepen the connection.  Just taking the time to think for a few moments of all these different people on all these different paths is very healing to me.  It's a small way to honor humanity, especially those lives that have touched my own.  What a gift it is to me to now be able to reach beyond myself towards others in my spirit and tentatively in my actions.

Last night I went to an Al-Anon meeting reaching out to two other people, sharing parts of my story and listening to theirs.  One man talked about how he no longer keeps secrets but is open and honest with everyone.  He is what he is and he accepts himself and if someone else can't accept him now he can still accept himself and let go.   I try to practice this, too.  So that is one reason why I write.  It is a quiet way to come out of hiding and be honest and revealing.  I know people shy away from living this way and I can understand why they do when there could be conflict with work and/or family.  I can do it because I am independent, but there are those, braver than me, who are honest always even with having responsibilities with work and family.  I really respect them.

Honesty is the foundation of prayer.  Not keeping secrets is the practice of honesty, prayer in action.  My parents, uncle and brother all practiced honesty.  Being ethically good was their prayer in action.  Honesty and ethics go together.  They also belong in the act of praying.  Praying and meditation are linked, too.  Prayer is just a open hearted meditation sent out into the unknown.  Prayer is to be open and trusting that the universe is a good place and that the universe is listening to all the calls and cries, not  only listening, but responding.  Do not ignore the grace of the space you live in and the body that allows you to move in that space.  Space embraces you now and always.  Space is the stuff of the universe.  I believe praying helps and I know that it doesn't hurt.  Anything that opens and deepens you is a blessing.

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