May 09

Addicted to Looking Away

I spent some time this week checking out the Recovery 2.0 online conference and I have to say that it was a pretty impressive gathering of recovery and wellness experts.  Of all the incredible information presented this one line stuck in my head, “I’m addicted to looking away.”  Tommy Rosen said it in his interview with Nikki Myers and I think it might be the best explanation I’ve ever heard for the many ways in which the spiritual malady plays out in our lives.  When looking at the present moment gets to painful it’s natural to want to look away.  We all do it sometimes, but when looking away from what’s real becomes a habit we’ve got a problem.

The basic idea is that anything we do to escape the present moment can become an addiction of sorts.  It doesn’t have to be drugs or alcohol, but those are certainly two very common methods for escaping the reality of current circumstances.  In fact anything we do habitually to avoid facing reality will almost certainly harm us in some way.  The lessons of today are not always pretty and the blessings are not always easy to see. Sometimes they come in packages that are hard to look at and sometimes they come in moments so small that we might miss them altogether if we’re not paying attention.

Oddly enough it seems that most often even the worst of what happens in the present moment is bearable.  It may be uncomfortable, some of it is actually painful, but the most excruciating part of the present is usually created by our own thinking patterns.  Our obsession with the past and the future, along with worry and the rehashing of events, creates an exaggerated fear of being fully present.  We don’t have to be so afraid of what’s happening, in fact stuff happens all the time to everyone and eventually every crisis will pass. Fear is a feeling not an event. As much as we might like to deny it, our primary source of discomfort stems from what we feel, what we think and what we do or don’t do about what’s happening in our lives. In the end what we are really looking away from is ourselves.

Recovery asks us to look at not only the present conditions in our lives but to move into a posture of self examination and self acceptance.  We find the courage to look at ourselves with new and compassionate eyes.  We are given the clarity to see what needs changing and the strength to change it. It isn’t so much what we have to face but how we choose to face it that makes the difference.  Accepting current reality, including the truth about ourselves offers peace and a whole lot more.  Our mindful presence will point out the lesson and the blessing to be gained in even the most difficult situations.  When we stop looking away and start looking at the Truth we’ll find the breathing room we need to look around and appreciate the beauty of now.

For more on the Recovery 2.0 Conference follow the link. All videos are free until Sunday, May 11th, 2014.




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