It would be remiss of me not to include reference to a higher power in my story of recovery because discovering the non-physical has been a massive part of my recovery. But it feels like a difficult subject to introduce and a big one, I can only cover a mere whisp of it today. But here I am, introducing it because that’s how I do things nowadays: I take action inspired by my intuition.
Please tell me in the comments what you feel about the non-physical/things you can’t see/world of the spirit/higher power. It would be very interesting to get your opinion. Because it feels like a difficult but necessary conversation. Can I even say the G word? God! There! I said it. I’ll start by giving you some idea how I came to find a higher power and the non-physical, and then we’ll get on to why it’s become vital to me.
I was bought up a rational person, and an immensely curious one who saw no need to take anyone else’s word for anything. One of the first teachers I chose for myself was Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, a Tibetan monk and author and figure of some controversy (due to the world of the spirit and earth not seeing from the same perspective). He encouraged me to take the bits of his philosophy that I liked and to leave the rest. Buddhist culture believes this promotes people thinking for themselves. My school years had involved a load of God and church stuff, and being told what was true and what wasn’t, and I never did like any of it (no need to think for yourself here! Just believe what you’re told). So the idea that I could pick and choose from a buffet was liberating. That was the first concept that went into the bag; I decide what is true. How do I know what is true? Because you feel it. Truth feels a certain way inside you and there may not be a word to describe it other than truth. Sometimes it’s such a powerful feeling that water will leak out of my eyes. Watch out for it!
So I’m out in the world being led by my own intuition about my version of truth. The other thing Lobsang gave me was healthy attitude to the unknown. That is to give space for things outside my understanding; they may or may not be true and I don’t need to decide today. There must be things I don’t know about, of course there is. So I had a bucket for things I understood and I felt were true, things I’d thrown away (my schools’ version of God went in this bucket) and things I didn’t understand and didn’t need to decide on just yet. The wonderful thing about this philosophy is that it creates possibility: there was obviously plenty of space in a vast Universe for things humans don’t know. Or that my corner of the world doesn’t know.
I’ve had 20 years of scientific training and that sometimes didn’t sit well with my version of truth. Resolution was reached because ultimately the scientific method is based on exploring, trying and testing and yes, also faith. Scientists tend to believe their models of the Universe just like the faithful do at church, for example no scientist has seen an atom with their own eyes, but they believe things about them because it fits into their world view. That’s fine, but so long as you recognise faith is involved, and ‘facts’ and ‘truth’ are malleable and can be hard to put your finger on.
So, I had brought together a healthy respect for my ignorance and willingness to explore by trial and error led by my own intuition. I knew that if God were out there, I had no clue what their job description was, and decided to put the whole thing down for later (the third bucket).
The scene is set for discovering a higher power. In the very beginning, this simply meant something greater than me that I could feel a part of. Feeling part of something positive, greater than yourself is immensely comforting and therefore very important from the point of view of stress relief. Find something useful and positive that feels important to you and give it your effort, be that large or small. Have something, anything, to love and put your heart into. I can’t tell you how important a sense of purpose is in your life if you don’t have that right now. Don’t take my word for it (or anything else for that matter), try it for yourself and see.
My higher power was and is the Earth. It, she, has become more and more important to my life and opened the door for the non-physical aspects of life because I came to suspect the Earth has awareness of her own (have you ever read James Lovelock’s book The Gaia Theory?). As a teenager I decided that she could use my help to clean things up and I would love to do that; my intuitive sense of truth had kicked in and told me that was important to me. I’ve been doing that in many different ways over the years, my life’s work if you will.
I’m not suggested my higher power needs to be the same as yours, I’m suggesting exactly what Lobsang suggested to me: that you use your own built in systems to decide what is truth for you. And when you find it, follow it and see where it goes. At this stage people fumble and doubt their own ability to follow their own guidance. At least as a kid I had not got that worry. Tragically our culture teaches us to ignore our own needs and silence our inner voice. I assure you that your own guidance system is alive and well underneath a load of doubts, fears, malware and bullshit that covers it all up. Getting quite and paying attention to what’s going on inside is something we don’t like because of all the crap in there, but there is gold if you dig down! Your own guidance will give you certainty unlike anything else, so its well worth digging in. Feeling certain of something is very good for stress reduction, it’s like a tether or safety rope. Get quiet, meditate. Listen, pay attention to inside you.
Photo by Egor Vikhrev on Unsplash