June 14th 2011 - What is Recovery?
By Jaraan Onai ©2005
Over the years I’ve enjoyed working with numerous people who are or have been involved in some form of recovery — mental illness, substance abuse, and emotional trauma. They share many positive characteristics, being intelligent, creative, and perceptive. Many also think of recovery in terms of recovering from a particular condition. This is certainly a viable context through which our lives may improve. It helps to know what you’re up against. It’s also helpful to identify and relate to others who share a similar experience. But recovering from is not the only context for recovery. Though an excellent start, it may not be the most effective long-term.
The definition of recovery that makes more sense to me is: “reclaiming wholeness.” This approach, or context, is not only more direct, it avoids much of the strife inherent in battling undesirable conditions from which we wish to free ourselves. Thus, it avoids adding salt to the wounds already suffered. Fighting against one condition doesn’t assure the experience of its opposite. That’s like going to war to make peace, avoiding food to end hunger, or banning booze to end alcoholism. Prohibition proved that.
Fighting one condition to achieve its opposite is typical of what I call “polaric consciousness.” It’s the attitudes of right/wrong, inner/outer, superior/inferior, friend/enemy. I’m sure you can think of others. For many people, perhaps virtually all people, this is how the world operates and it’s how they operate in the world. It’s as if there is no other option. This assumption of “the way it is” is so deeply ingrained in our human constitution that it’s rarely, if ever, questioned. It seems humanity is full of assumptions we’d be well served to reconsider. But that’s a subject for another article. I didn’t question this assumption myself until I reached a breaking point, throwing up my hands and quite literally shouting, “I can’t take this anymore! There’s got to be a better way!!!” Turns out there was, and is. At least I’ve found it to be so. Read on. You may find that you agree.
Do’Hai™, a wholistic system of transformation taught by the Do'Hai Masters I channel, advocates a more proactive, and far more effective approach. It can be summed up by the phrase, “Focus on what you want.” When seen in the light of common aphorisms like “what you focus on grows,” and “what you put forth returns in kind,” this approach makes perfect sense.
Personally, I’ve never achieved lasting peace by focusing on conflict. Struggling to eliminate anger, judgment, and fear has yet to yield me a single ounce of serenity. Has it worked for you? If not, there’s no need to beat yourself up about it. Without the help of exceptional guidance from some rather remarkable Guides, I’d still be running around in circles scratching my head in bewildered frustration. Perhaps you know the feeling. If so, I’d like to share a few pointers I’ve learned that you may also find liberating.
First of all, when faced with condition you’d like to change, it’s helpful to ask yourself, “What do I really want?” If you’re like me and many of those I serve, the immediate response might be, “to get rid of what’s bugging the heck out of me!” But that’s putting attention on (and energy into) the problem. You might also respond, “I want to understand how I created this” or “why this is happening.” I've done this myself. But even a profound understanding of how you created the situation doesn’t get you out of it. Unless you plan to return to wherever you started. But if that place was so rosy, why’d you leave it in the first place? Knowing why a thing happened may provide a certain philosophical comfort. But even that is short lived when inundated with yet another bout of SSDD (same stuff, different day). I wonder if that one’s in the psychology textbooks yet.
Asking yourself what you really want allows you to: withdraw your attention from undesirable conditions, avoiding entangling and unnecessary conflict while starving them of fuel; step back from the drama long enough to get a broader perspective; and direct your attention and energy toward creating what you really prefer. Plus, when you know what you want, you know your destination and create a path to it. At that point, “The journey and the destination are one.” This approach is considerably more time and energy efficient.
The energy of desire, the “want to,” is the fuel that propels us along our path. With it, we find a way to get what we want. And the results are relatively easy to achieve. Many times what we want finds us. You may be thinking, “Yeah, Jaraan, but I’ve been wanting (______) for ages! It’s still not happening.” Glad you brought that up. That brings me to the next pointer I’d like to share. Though the idea is hardly original, I do claim the phrasing since I’ve never seen it elsewhere: “To the degree you agree, so it will be.” To the degree we are able to agree with what we want, so it will be for us. The fact that we don’t always realize we don’t agree with ourselves can lead to enormous frustration, desperation, and a growing sense of futility.
This lack of agreement goes a long way toward explaining why we don’t get what we want. More accurately stated, lack of agreement explains why we don’t get what we think we’re supposed to want. I like that word “supposed.” In Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition, the first definition of “supposed” is “PRETENDED.” While we’re at it, let’s take a look at the definition of “pretend.” Hmm. “To give a false appearance of being, possessing, or performing.” How insightful! So, if what we’re supposed to want (are pretending we want) is not what we really want, fulfillment of that desire could be hard to come by. We may fool family, friends, and peers. We may even fool our own minds. We can always say, “But I tried.” But our Soul knows differently. We really can have whatever we want. But we have to actually want it, not merely pretend that we do.
Could it be that you’ve assumed that what you’re supposed to want is the same as what you really want? Perhaps you think you want to want what you think you’re supposed to want. Let’s read that one again. But if you’ve repeatedly tried and failed to get what you think you want, you may not have agreed that you really want it after all. How is this possible?
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to eat when your really hungry? You go to the store, buy, prepare, chew, and swallow the food. Are these serious obstacles to the fulfillment of that desire? Or do they just seem to be part of the process? Even lack of money, a car, or a home isn’t really an obstacle. While any of these elements may be inconvenient, they’ll hardly stop you in your tracks if you really want to eat. Like they say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” In other words, when hungry, you are most likely in complete agreement with fulfilling the objective of eating.
Take a moment now to think of some ordinary objective you definitely don’t want to accomplish. For instance, if you’re an artist, an undesirable objective might be to become a mechanical engineer or vice versa. Once you have it, think of all the steps you’d have to take to accomplish that objective. Hard to get enthused about any of it, isn’t it? Your chance of success? Zero. Maybe less. Why? You don’t agree with that objective. As it might also be said, the objective doesn’t agree with you.
You may never think about the lack of motivation you have for things you don’t really want to accomplish. But what about the motivation you lack for the things you think you do want to accomplish? That could cause you quite a bit of worry. Family, friends, and peers may also express their concern or disappointment. After all, you’re supposed to want them, right? Your parents may have emphatically declared their expectations of you all your life. Teachers, ministers, and other influential people may have adamantly insisted upon what they thought was best for you. Though it may not have felt quite right, you played along. Since that seemed to get their acceptance and approval (their agreement with your actions), you kept at it. Perhaps you worked hard and met their expectations to some degree. They may have been quite proud of your effort. But you weren’t nearly as fulfilled as you’d hoped. This is because your true needs weren’t being met. You weren’t getting what you really wanted. Approval from others is nice. It’s relatively meaningless without approval of (agreement with) yourself. In fact, inner conflict — sometimes quite debilitating — is guaranteed.
How do you agree to have, be, experience what you want? The answer to that question can be found in the answer to this one. Why do you want what you want? You see, if you ask why you don’t have what you want or why you do have what you don’t want, the result is pretty much the same. Philosophical or intellectual gratification. Oh, you may get brilliant insight. But is that really progress? Does your life change for the better? Can you rest secure in the knowledge of why things aren’t working out the way you want them to? If you were wandering in a desert dying of thirst, would knowing how you got in that condition be helpful? Unlikely.
Asking yourself why you want what you want gives you answers that empower you. It’s something you actually want to know. Thus, it’s much easier to agree with finding those answers. If you’re honest with yourself, those answers yield at least these results. 1. You discover that what you thought you want isn’t really what you want. 2. You may realize that you want it, but not enough to follow through right now. And that’s OK. You’re determining priorities. Your desires start making sense to you in light of your reasons for them. It also starts making sense why you don’t want what you don’t want. (Remember, “supposed” to want and “don’t” want are essentially the same. That is, unless you discover that you really want what you thought you were supposed to want. In which case, it becomes a true want.) 3. You let yourself have what you want. That is, you agree with yourself. Another way of saying it: Your mind (the reason) and your heart (the desire) are in agreement. When your mind and heart are in agreement, life flows freely. You not only get what you want, you also know what to expect.
Earlier in this article, I mentioned my definition of recovery: “reclaiming wholeness.” What’s missing? Regardless of how it looks outwardly, what we reclaim in recovery are the precious parts of ourselves represented by our desires. All too often, we set these aspects of ourselves aside in favor of what others want for us — what we’re supposed to want. We are born with many valid desires, both in terms of material comforts and mental/emotional well-being. Ultimately, these all constitute aspects of ourselves. Reclaiming these aspects leads to recovery, leads to wholeness. And life’s much more rewarding.
PS: Some people have issues with “wanting.” Some schools of thought teach that desire and owning those desires is paramount. Others say to avoid wanting, as it implies you don’t have. Well, “don’t have” is not the same as “can’t have.” Others say eliminating all desire leads to enlightenment. Of course, that means you eliminate the desire for enlightenment, so what’s the point? Some may not realize that “desire” really means “attachment” in that context. So, if you have issues with “want” use “like” instead.
Affirming Your Wholeness,
Soul Gate Mission
Asheville Area, NC 28715