OF HUMAN BONDAGE

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OF HUMAN BONDAGE

Yoga Bhajan articulated Nirvana for this recovering Alcoholic and addict who has Bipolar Disorder (and is still recovering from serious insecure attachment issues) when he stated:

“If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all.”

When I was battling to survive on the tumultuous, deadly seas fostered by my illnesses, tenaciously staying afloat in my primitive, foundering little vessel (faulty coping tactics from family of origin), I was so rife with shame that I was nearly 100% reliant on the approval of others to feel an ounce of self-worth.

My emotional well-being was shackled to other people -what they said about me and how they acted towards me. I remember how often recognized that I was psychologically enslaved to other people. But I hadn’t a clue that freedom was even possible. Let alone how to attain it.

At one point I stumbled across W Somerset Maughm’s “Of Human Bondage,” expecting the protagonist to live in the same spiritual prison as me and to find a way out. What I found was fascinating, and looking back, there were some parallels to my circumstances, but it really brought me no closer to freedom.

It has been a 25 year, and still ongoing, process for me to break those chains. Cognitive Behavioral, years of therapy, 8 years of living spiritual recovery in AA, a Higher Power of my understanding, medication, and an amazing support network have enabled me to recognize my inherant value and to develop a sense of self worth and purpose that supercede any opinion anyone else may have about me. And any statement they may make to me or action they may take towards me.

Recognizing that others are bedeviled by spiritual and emotional pain and deformities, like me, and that their mean-spirited, hateful actions towards me are a manifestation of their pain, has given me the capacity to not only neutralize my shame, but also to empathize with theirs.

Of course here we are talking Spirituality 401, so I am not there unless I am spiritually fit. And more often than I’d prefer, I’m not. So at times, my shame still gets triggered, dragging me back into reactive mode.

But the good news is that today, I often catch myself, and with the help of my Higher Power, rein myself in before I react.

And one of my favorite aspects of my growth is that I used to walk into a room of people I hadn’t met and worry what they were thinking of me. Today I walk into that room and focus on what I discern about them. Most of the time!

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