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Meditation and the Leash of Attention | One Addicts Experience

In chapter 5 of the Basic-Text there's a section that reads "Self-Obsession is the core of our disease." That means that addiction is an unhealthy relationship with the mind. In this distorted relationship with our heads, we make a lot of assumptions that just aren't true. The first is that every thought that occurs to us is "Ours." The second is that we are in control of the mind and related thoughts. Again this isn't true. As verification, I frequently ask people that seek help from me, a question my sponsor asked me. "If the mind is under your control, be rung-up about something at 3 AM, tell your mind to STFU and if it obeys and stops, it's your mind. But if it keeps going, you just learned everything you need to know about what's actually going on."

For me, Step One started out as "We admitted that we were powerless over addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable." Over time, it became more precise for me to say, "We admitted that we're powerless over the self and other rejecting thoughts that appear in our head, and when I follow and chase those thoughts I can make my life and that of others extremely unmanageable." That said, recovery... healing means changing the relationship with the mind and related thoughts.

Imagine owning a dog, like a Great Dane, but you never took the time to train them. What would happen? Everywhere the dog would go, we would be forced to go, because who's holding the leash attached to the dog? Us.

In this way, I realized that thoughts were the dog, my attention and focus to the dog of thought what the leash, and I was the person being dragged into where it wanted to take me, instead of where I wanted to authentically go... this is the nature of obsession and compulsion... doing things against our will and oftentimes our values. This is where we usually hear ourselves say... if we're even checking in with ourselves at all... "I can't believe I said or did that! That's not me!" ...and yet evidently it was cause we were the one's doing the crazy shit.

When I was a kid, I had a Belgium Shepard. I was taught that if "Leo," was leading me, and the leash was tight, that meant he thought he was in control of our relationship. The principle was for the relationship to be healthy between us, he was supposed to walk by my side. This didn't happen automatically. His nature was to run ahead. It took time and about 20 boxes of dog treats.

Meditation practice is the same thing as teaching the mind that's projecting the thoughts to walk with us, and not ahead of us. We want its presence, but we don't want to be dominated by it. That means that it was my responsibility how I handle the leash of my attention and focus. Sitting down in meditation... gardening... drawing... surfing... skateboarding... bike riding... are methods I personally use to train the mind... to slow it down... to walk with me... as I keep my attention and focus on those things.

Once that process began, I realized that anxiety and depression didn't belong to me... it was the mind and the thoughts that were the actual owner. The cravings for drugs... food... sex... money... power... whatever... where its versions of getting "Thought treats," to *SOOTH!* it's own restlessness, irritability, disconnection, and discontent. In this way, the mind's sense of comfort wasn't being overthrown. Essentially when it was okay, I was okay. My sponsor said, "Claiming the mind's insecurities as your own might not be your best option. We suffer a lot when we do that." Recovering is not chasing every stick that the mind throws. Meditation helps us to stay... abide... not move... when the mind or ego throws a stick for us to chase.

Just for today... I will intentionally take responsibility for where I direct my attention and focus and discover a meditation practice that works for me.

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