Recovery Nation

Personal Development Forum
It is currently Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:06 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Addiction koans
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 1:29 am 
Offline
Recovery Coach

Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 1626
This is something I've thought about trying for a while, but didn't write it up until now...even though I have used my first example given here in posts for a few individuals. This is not for those who've just started in early recovery and are still working on the basics (it may just confuse you more). The idea of this is tailored more towards people who are in middle/late recovery...who have made some real steps away from their addiction...yet still might find themselves struggling with "low-grade" compulsive behaviours occasionally, who still feel like they're fighting their addiction.

As those who've read some of my posts may know, my Zen practice has been key to my recovery. This is not something I would necessarily advocate for, as everyone must find what's right for them, though I am fine sharing with anyone who is interested. One part of the Zen tradition is what are known as Zen koans. These typically are thought of as "riddles", which is not entirely accurate; they are more like tools. Usually, they are famous discourses between a teacher and a student, where a student asks a question and the teacher replies with what appears to be a nonsensical or paradoxical answer...but where that answer actually shows the student something about themselves, and their relationship with the world, even if they don't recognize it immediately. The answers cannot be reached intellectually through thinking or rationalizing (and may not even be the same answer for two people; both could correctly answer in completely different ways); they can only be truly understood experientially.

A little while ago, I thought of one of these that pertains to addiction; the idea here is to push yourself to change your understanding of what addiction is and your relationship to it, thereby giving you an insight into what role addiction and compulsive behaviour plays in your life. So, here is the koan:

When you are not acting out, where does your addiction go?

Again, do NOT try to come to an intellectual answer here. You may be able to see what it's getting at intellectually...but it will not be until you experience the answer for yourself, that it will make a true difference in your life. My suggestion: just read it, think about it for a bit, then let it go and continue on with your life, thinking about and considering the nature of compulsive behaviour in your life and how it functions. One day it may just come to you. :w:

As well, I don't want people replying to this thread or trying to debate the answer...as that is not really the point either. However, if anyone ever thinks they've "got it" :w: , and wants to share their thoughts, feel free to PM me.

And, if this doesn't appeal to you or you just find it confusing or unhelpful...take what fits and leave the rest. I am posting this for anyone who may find value in it. And if I think of any more, I will add them to this thread.

:g:

Boundless

_________________
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where do you expect to find it?" - Dogen

"Be a lamp unto yourself." - Buddha

"The obstacle is the path."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Addiction koans
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 1:08 am 
Offline
Recovery Coach

Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 1626
Niak contacted me and shared another koan he had thought of; I quite liked it, and he was gracious enough to let me share.

When addiction is your friend, who is then your enemy?

Much like with the above, you can't come up with an intellectualized answer to this; just ponder it for a while and then continue on with the workshop and your daily life...the answer may eventually come to you. And again, like with the above, if it doesn't appeal to you or you just find it confusing...take what fits and leave the rest. :g:

Boundless

_________________
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where do you expect to find it?" - Dogen

"Be a lamp unto yourself." - Buddha

"The obstacle is the path."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Addiction koans
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 5:34 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:06 am
Posts: 518
Boundless, I like this, thanks for sharing with us! :g: I am now pondering :ex:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Addiction koans
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:57 pm 
Offline
Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3745
Location: UK
Quote:
When addiction is your friend, who is then your enemy?


I pondered for about half a second and concluded the IMO only plausible response
I am

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Addiction koans
PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 3:54 pm 
Offline
Recovery Coach

Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 1626
Hi all,

Okay, so I've gotten a couple responses that made me realize that these can be quite misinterpreted without some guidance, so I'm going to address a couple of the responses (without naming names).

I've had a couple people respond to me regarding my initial post and say "what this made me realize is that addiction will always be a part of me". I can see now how one could get that interpretation here, but let me definitively say, this is NOT the correct interpretation to get, and actually a fairly dangerous one to develop (hence why I'm addressing it).

You absolutely CAN completely overcome your addiction (and don't let anyone tell you otherwise). What this koan is actually getting at, is going one step beyond overcoming addiction...to realizing true freedom. I'll leave it at that, as I think that addresses the issue sufficiently...but I will say, I appreciate people messaging me their responses or feelings on this, so that these questions don't go unacknowledged and unaddressed!

For Kenzo:

Quote:
I pondered for about half a second and concluded the IMO only plausible response
I am


I would also say this isn't the right way to think about it. The entire idea here is to give up the idea of an "enemy"...again, to point back to my other post, there is no "beast" in addiction. Now if your insight here is more along the lines of "I always will have the capacity to: act selfishly, act out of immediate emotional gratification, without consideration of consequences"...that is a more accurate one to have, though it's still not entirely what these are getting at. If anything, your "enemy" is only a lack of awareness, into your own emotions and thinking. So often we try to fight our anxiety, fight our fears, push them away...but if we accept them and realize we can still make healthy decisions no matter how we feel...that is more getting to the heart of where this is pointing.

Hope that clears things up. Please message me with other thoughts/feelings or feel free to post here. :g:

Boundless

_________________
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where do you expect to find it?" - Dogen

"Be a lamp unto yourself." - Buddha

"The obstacle is the path."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Addiction koans
PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:29 pm 
Offline
Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3745
Location: UK
Hi CB
Quote:
I would also say this isn't the right way to think about it. The entire idea here is to give up the idea of an "enemy"


we are on the same page here , there is no beast
accepting that, you must agree that addiction can never be our friend
however should one believe that addiction is a friend then we become our own enemy,

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Addiction koans
PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 9:54 pm 
Offline
Recovery Coach

Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 1626
Hi Kenzo,

You're still missing my intent with the question. There's a conceptual misunderstanding between your first and second sentences there.

When it says "when addiction is your friend", it is not implying that addiction is good, right, justified, etc., or that we should not work at ending the addiction. Again, these are not meant to be taken literally. It is calling you to look at addiction from a different perspective...that you reconsider what addiction is, and its role in your life. I'll give you a large hint: that when you accept the emotions that drive your addiction and realize that you do not need to act on them...or that you can act in any way...then where does your addiction go? (the intent of both koans is actually much the same, pointing in the same direction). Where was it in the first place?

If you're still struggling to understand me here, PM me and I can explain a bit more in depth, as I want to ensure that you don't misunderstand this.

Cheers,

Boundless

_________________
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where do you expect to find it?" - Dogen

"Be a lamp unto yourself." - Buddha

"The obstacle is the path."


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group