Friday, January 20, 2017

Suffering Your Way To Peace and Happiness

What if I told you that the only way to get to 'heaven' is to travel through 'hell' first?  Would you still take the journey even if you knew it would take many years to get there?

 I use heaven and hell as metaphorical terms because they have differing meanings to everyone.  I am simply trying to convey the thought that if the only way we can find happiness and peace is through get suffering, would we choose suffering or not?

I have spent many years studying the Buddhist philosophies, along with other belief systems, and I am true believer in reincarnation.  Life is cyclical, not linear.  Life is created to live, not to die. Therefore once a life has been created it will live forever, under the aforementioned assumption.

Based on the theory of reincarnation, we continue to cycle through one life after another in the material world until we transform and escape it, or continue the cycle for all of eternity, living many lives here on Earth.  Within the Buddhist philosophies one much reach 'sansara' to escape the cycle and finally find true peace and happiness, what some people like to call heaven.

I share a simple basis for reincarnation to explore another belief system that I have.  If we continue to cycle life and death her on Earth for generations, then it is quite likely that we chart our own life path before returning, in order to learn the lessons we require in order for 'spiritual' and self growth.

So ask yourself, if you were presented with the question I posed at the beginning before your return to material existence, would you choose to suffer greatly in order to find your idea of utopia?  I have spent most of my life suffering with one or more health issues and the world has not treated me terribly well, even though I have tried to live an ethical and honest life.

I could quite easily sink into despair and let it all overcome me just like so many others out there, or I can get up each day with a strong will and positive attitude.  If I simply use my choice of how I perceive things, then I can view challenges and opportunities, as opposed to barriers and problems.  Also, if I take the simple assumption that I charted my own path for this time around the 'life wheel',  then I have nobody to blame for anything but myself.

This realization instantly takes away our negative views of the world and makes us understand that we are putting ourselves through our life experiences for a reason.  Each situation and challenge along the path was put there by ourselves so that we can learn the things we need to find peace when our material existence ends.

This realization is also where the awakening process begins.  Once we realize that there is more to who we are than what we think, we begin the recognize our true self, the one that exists even when the organic materials of our bodies dies.  Many people like to call this the 'soul'.  The 'soul' is simply our true self!  When people say 'I need to take time to find myself...', this is what they are looking for.

So many people have experienced this and I believe that eventually everyone will experience this part of the awakening process, but 'newbies' need to understand that this is just the beginning.  You are not wide awake yet like you keep telling me!  The only wide awake person I can find right now in the world is Eckhart Tolle.

Millions of people are reading his books, creating support and discussion groups online, and unfortunately providing advice to each other much too often.  It is easy to enter ego awakening and believe that you are wide awake because you have experienced something new, and something that feels like it is yours alone, but the process then takes time.  This is where true self reflection begins, and it is not a simple process.

So many people who believe they are experts in Eckhart's teachings give advice to others on how to live in the 'Now', and many of them believe that finding presence is the answer to everything.  It is simply an enlightened state of consciousness.  Finding it really isn't that difficult, but holding onto it is terribly difficult.

The problem is that once you have identified your ego mind and the awakening process has begun, it cannot be stopped.  Your ego will create every illusion it can muster and wildly conjure up arguments within you in order to trick you into thinking you have found the answers and that you are already wide awake so you won't continue in your journey.  If you already think you are wide awake, then why would you continue trying to go any further?

When negative and compulsive thinking have ceased altogether, then you can consider yourself enlightened.  I wrote this to offer ideas on how our perception of things can change how we view things, and that is our true self trying to teach us the lesson we need to learn.

So, if I choose to believe that we chart our own lives, then we have nobody to blame but ourselves for everything that happens.  If we choose to take on suffering in order to learn the lessons we need to learn, then can choose to face everything as a challenge, rather than a barrier.  In this regard, suffering then becomes a challenge in itself.  Logically speaking, if my earlier assumptions are true then the more we suffer, the greater the rewards.

Jesus and Buddha both said that life is suffering and I tend to put much weight on their words.  If life is suffering then So Be It!  Challenge the suffering and learn all you can, while you can.  Experience presence and the 'Now', but use the reflections that come with this new understanding to grow your true self.  You have to believe that goodness will be rewarded in the end just as evil will be judged accordingly.

Learn from your suffering and grow your true self.  This is life's only goal!

Understanding Drug Use & Addiction

For those of you who know me, and for those of you who don't, My name is Ashley and I am a Personal Support Worker as well as a Mental Health & Addictions Counsellor. 

I don't blog often but I am definitely going to start. Everyday I go on Facebook and see people struggling with Mental Health & Addiction issues. Everyday I sit and wonder what it is that I can offer to help these people. The answer I keep coming up with is "My Time & My Knowledge on the subjects". 

I studied for a couple of years to get my credentials, but I can tell you that you definitely do not learn everything about these subjects by always reading books and listening to lectures. People learn in many ways; such as; having an addiction and/or mental health issue themselves, someone who is a family member and/or an acquaintance to someone they know who has these issues, and or becoming someone like me and many like me that do the deep down research it takes to understand. Don't get me wrong....even in all of these situations, no one can fully understand these issues. No two people are the same, information changes constantly, and theory is not everything. 

So that being said, anything I post is just in my professional and personal opinion. Lets agree to disagree, shall we say lol.(For reference.....when i say drug(s)-I do include Alcohol to be a drug as well.)

When it comes to drug use and addiction, people have a stigma on these illnesses because they do not understand why or how other people become addicted in the first place. People believe that "the addict should just go get help and quit already!" Well for some people, they can.......for most..... they can't.

Addiction is a very complex disease. It is considered a "relapsing" disease. Yes, most start off voluntarily to take the drug, but some do not. People most often intake drugs for the "euphoric" feeling that they get from them. They forget all of their troubles, their problems for that time being. As the feeling starts to fade, their body/mind is calling out for "more". That is usually when the addiction occurs. For some they can pick it up and put it down when they need to. Some are called "functioning addicts" due to the fact that they can function as needed in society even when under the influence. Others cannot put it down once they've lost that "euphoric" feeling they rely on to cope with their everyday lives. 

In most cases of addiction, people often have mental health issues that play apart of their addiction. They start out or end up with depression, anxiety, phobias, etc. then they hide behind the drug that makes them stronger, and/or happier with their life. All of their worries disappear for a short time. And again, in most cases that is what turns them into an addict. 

Now for all the people that think that, "oh well, why can't they just quit like the rest of us", or "they are sick, they need to be put in jail or a hospital", that is where the stigma lies...... Yes, these people are very sick, yes these people need help, but do you really think that judging them is going to help them get the help they need, or do you think it is going to make them worse off then they were to begin with. I personally have lost a few acquaintances in my life to drug addiction by suicide because they felt alone and judged, and felt as if there was no way out except taking their lives. These people did not know where to turn or how to get help, because the people they did turn to for help......turned them away. 

Now, that being said I also do know quite a few people who are recovering addicts!! All because people who cared, showed them guidance and the support they needed to get back onto their feet!! Being in recovery is not easy. You have temptations around you all of the time, whether it be drugs, bars, social gatherings, etc...... they are EVERYWHERE!! But if you have the support of meetings, family/friends, groups, etc. you can make it. Take one day at a time, one minute at a time if you need to, to get through your day. If you relapse...... that's okay..... it just means that you need more, or different treatment options. It does not mean that you have failed, it means that you had a trigger that you hadn't quite figured out yet, but now you know it and you can work to deal with it.

Not everyone is perfect, and in my opinion.....people who think they are.....are delusional lol.  People criticize and judge because they do not have the understanding of the lets help people better understand by guiding and teaching them in a way we have learned about and experienced these situations.

To everyone who reads these blogs I would appreciate comments and suggestions for future blogs as well. I will be doing more on this subject, going deeper into the subject as well as giving some guidance to help those who are out there struggling....any of us in this group are always here to help where we can :D.

Have a splendid day y'all!!