For me, there have been two distinct phases in my life: the time since recovering from active addiction, and everything that happened before. To some, it might seem like I was two distinct and very different people. Some in my family would even say, "We like the Seiho 2.0 version of you much better than the Jaye 1.0 version. You had a lot of bugs." But that's not how I experienced it.
I am one person who was once enslaved and dominated by the mind's natural tendencies toward negativity, insecurity, and self-obsession. I was addicted to thought and reliant on chemicals, work, money, shopping, food, and other things to give me the illusion of stability and inward soothing. But then, as a result of different choices and conscious, intentional contact with aspects of the mind that are intuitive, secure, compassionate, and generous, I committed myself to live a different path.
Having said that, we can adapt and meet changing circumstances without losing connection with our authenticity, integrity, and True Nature, our Universal Identity of Loving Presence, even when under the very real pressure and coercion of others to contort ourselves into what and who we are not.
To achieve this, I couldn't just think my way into it; I had to live my way into it. This meant not just writing steps and inventories or talking about spiritual principles. It was about admitting, "Okay, I'm not skillful. Actually, I'm pretty clumsy, but how am I going to live this so I can stop hating myself and stop being my own crisis creator?" This transformation happened with the guidance and support of others, the willingness to take and follow directions, and seeing what happens with an open heart and mind. It involved surrendering to the help provided rather than resisting it. It meant doing things that my negative mind had no intention of doing and going in what seemed like the opposite direction. And then, as a process rather than an event, the tangled became untangled, and I was no longer living as a human pretzel.
So, what does it cost us to contort ourselves and lose our sense of authenticity and integrity? I can't say for you, but for me, it was the ability to like and love myself and others in a wholesome way. So when the opening appears, we can seize our happiness, authenticity, integrity, and how we direct our life force.
一We Are the Practice Itself