I embrace the teaching of mindfulness; I abstain from substances and actions that lead to intoxication and heedlessness. This precept counsels us to cultivate mindful consumption and sobriety and to abstain not only from drugs, alcohol, and other intoxicating substances, but also to avoid anything that has toxic effects, such as pornography; certain films, television programs, books, magazines, foods, and activities (like gambling or enabling another person’s addiction); or even some conversations. Keeping this precept benefits our own mental, spiritual, and physical health, and promotes our families’ and communities’ well-being, too.
The studio in NW Portland was packed with sweating, half naked, beautiful people. I fell over about six times trying to keep up. The heat was unbearable. I had to lay on the ground to catch my breath. But something kept pushing me back up to join the class. Call it pride, call it internal drive. Call it what you will but the motivation took hold of me. I powered through the class – something that I’ve since discovered is the exact opposite of a good way to go.
This is a review of the 12-Step Buddhist retreat experience by a member of FA – Food Addicts Anonymous. I often get emails asking if the 12-Step Buddhist practices can be applied to issues related with food, so this is a good thing to know about.
Mike Papas has been practicing Zen for 30 years. He’s studied mainly with Joko Beck and her successor, Larry Christensen (as have I) here in Portland. I asked Mike to lead some Zen talks, walks and meditations at our 2011 2nd Annual 12-Step Buddhist Winter Retreat. By the last session many people, Mike and I included, had been sobbing. Here …
This desire to disconnect might be something that non-addicts experience too to some degree. But for the addict it’s really a defining characteristic. So the solutions that I apply in my life, (mainly the teachings in 12-Step and Buddhism) point to the need to forget the self, or at least move beyond self-centered leanings towards service to others.