A Neglected Temple
Let’s try a thought experiment to illustrate a point concerning the way we treat our bodies. We’ll begin by imagining that our body is a house. We’ll also pretend that we care nothing for this house. We do not love it. In fact, we believe we do not even own it. We only rent it from some faceless landlord. Furthermore, we neglect the home, we abuse it, and we hate being there. We have no problem inviting strangers in to pass the time. They notice that we do not care about the house, so they neglect and abuse it, too. Before long we realize that we have taken up residence in a body that we no longer recognize. We have allowed a sacred space to become overgrown with the weeds of addiction and despair. Drugs, alcohol and destructive relationships become welcome distractions from the true underlying problems.
Our Holy Palace
This is an awful, dystopian way to view our bodies. However, we can also look at the other side of this coin. In this vision, we love our home. We own it, outright. It is all ours. Because it is all ours, we take care of it. We do not allow anything to enter that will harm the peaceful environment. Strangers are welcomed in only after we remind them they are entering a temple. We no longer view ourselves as a cheap rental to be abused and disregarded. This is a key point and one that may be meditated upon often. Though the physical body may be attacked and damaged, our spirit always remains intact – provided we guard it like a temple. Once we learn how to protect and nurture our internal sacred space, other people’s actions become irrelevant to our own. We become the masters of ourselves.
The Five Elements
The question then becomes “How do we best take care of
this sacred space?” One way is by studying and practicing the Chinese
philosophy of the Five Elements. The Five Elements are a tool. Knowledge of
them helps us to be masters of ourselves. They help us to recognize and stifle
destructive habits and tendencies before they grow out of control. Only then,
once we have weeded and tended our garden can we help others create their own
gardens. The proof of a good gardener is in their garden. The proof of a great
teacher is in the quality of their students. The Five Elements are an ancient
way Chinese sages saw the world. It is a relationship between different kinds
of energy or QI and how those energies relate to one another. The Five Elements
can be used to better understand our world and our places within it.
We Are Nature
We often hear about the need to take care of the natural
world. While it’s admirable to want to preserve our green space, this outlook
is wrong-headed. Human beings are a natural resource. We are products of nature
share the same energies as nature. In fact…we are nature! The principles that
govern nature also govern human beings. Understanding and maximizing those natural
tendencies is paramount. Round pegs do not fit into square holes. Try as we
may, it will never work. Often we are forced into roles we cannot assume.
Instead of maximizing our natural gifts, we sometimes adopt a “one way fits
all” philosophy. This is a catastrophic error. People are not machines. On the
contrary, we are organic and flexible. The Five Elements teach us how to grow a
garden, not how to build a machine. The Elements teach us how to cultivate a healthy
and happy self.
Once we start to find that organic harmony within ourselves,
we can begin to bring it to others. Working harmoniously with others is a gift.
Especially in a company or team setting. If an executive cannot co-exist,
thrive and inspire his people, what good is that executive? Intelligence,
cleverness, shrewdness, handsomeness – these all fall to the wayside. If we
cannot work in a balanced harmony with ourselves and with others, then we
cannot make music, we make only noise. Each person’s unique note needs to be
organized in such a way that music and harmony abound. Not just noise and
chaos. Life is relationships. Without human interaction, we have nothing. But
first we have to love our own company. We are only lonely when we don’t like the
company of ourselves. No thing and no one can live in a vacuum.
Part of a Glorious Oneness
Having harmonious relationships with others means making an
effort to understand someone and to see things from their perspective. To know
a person, we must know the environment in which that person exists. To
understand a footstep we must understand first what the ground is and its
natural relationship to the myriad things that are placed upon it. All things
are a combination of other things. This provides the texture of our reality. We
are not separate from anything. We are part of a glorious oneness that seeps
into every nook and cranny of our existence. When one of us is strong, we are
all strong. When one of us weeps, we all weep. When one of us laughs, we all
laugh. There is nothing worse than believing the lie that we are alone. We have
never been alone, and never will be.
Less Is More
The twelve-steppers have a saying that goes, “Let go and let God.” If you’re getting hung up on the G-word in the second part of that saying, don’t fret…we’re here to take a look at the first half. Sometimes doing nothing and getting out of our own way is the best source of action. Most likely you are traveling this path of sobriety because of the things you “do.” It is the action you take that has led you here. By learning how to do less or nothing at all, we will gain a huge advantage against addictive thoughts and behaviors.
Adapt and Improvise
Those who suffer from addiction also suffer from delusions about control. Control is an idea. It is a bedtime story. It is a warm fuzzy blanket that lets us feel brave and secure from the monsters under the bed. However, control does not exist. It is a figment of our imaginations. Don’t take our word for it though. Try to control every aspect of your day. Try to control other people. I think you will soon see, as we did, that control is exhausting, frustrating and fruitless. To live happy, successful lives, we need to learn to let go. We need to adapt and change rather than try to control. Control is not a useful tool in recovery. In contrast, flexibility, adaptability, detachment and meditation ARE useful tools and we will learn how to use them like a master carpenter.
Be Here Now
In one sense and at its roots, addiction can be thought of as the refusal to accept the present moment. It is an attempt to mold the now into something it isn’t. In other words, an attempt to control it. Addicts have a very hard time being fully present in the moment. Now, if your present moment is pleasant, like getting a massage, we have no problem being present fully. It’s when the now is unpleasant that we seek a reversal of this feeling or a way to suppress it. Drugs work marvelously well in this regard. They change the present moment immediately. They are an instant replacement of the now. However, the duration is short and the cost of this solution is very high. We are searching for a long term, low-cost method in dealing with the present and our place within it.
The name Carl Jung is familiar to many members of
Alcoholics Anonymous, including its founder, Bill Wilson. Jung proposed that
the yearning for addictive substances is really a yearning for communion with
the higher self or spirit. In essence, he thought of alcoholics as people
desperate to have a spiritual experience and only through a process of
spiritual enlightenment could the addict emerge as a new person free from the
bondage of addiction. He often referred to alcoholics/addicts as “frustrated
A New Sheriff in Town
Addiction begins when we throw away our free will and turn it over to our substances of choice. They become our ruler. We want to encourage you to revolt against this dictator. We encourage you to stage a coup in your own mind and elect a new leader. The new leader’s aim will be to spread love, compassion and well-being. Like a good king, this will be the new leader’s aim.
Walking with Clarity and Focus
Focused and at ease. This is how we handle the trials and tribulations of life. Modern living is slowly but surely bringing attention to mental wellness into the forefront. However, it is just as surely exacerbating mental health issues. For example, multi-tasking has become the norm, quickening the pace and multiplying the stresses of life. Unfortunately, for a person who struggles with mental health issues, it can often be too much to bear. However, we revitalize lives by calmly and peacefully putting the pieces back together. Clarity and focus replace anger and unease. Barn Life Recovery was created to help put the pieces back together one breath at a time. We draw upon Oriental Healing Methods that have transformed people’s lives since before the words stress, bipolar, or PTSD existed. These methods, along with cutting-edge, modern mental health treatment, Barn Life Recovery addresses the entire continuum of recovery care.
Best of Both Worlds
Barn Life Recovery is a ground-breaking, community-based, mental health treatment program designed to get to the root of mental health issues and bring joy and presence back into our clients’ lives. Our patients get the best of both worlds as progressive modern mental health therapy is coupled with ancient healing modalities of the Far East. Our philosophy has one aim in mind: to manifest and nurture an environment in which our residents can have a unique personal awakening. We believe that through our suffering we are encouraged to turn inward and focus on what truly matters in our lives. Through these ashes of anguish, we are reborn as spiritual beings walking a path not toward joy and freedom but a path of joy and freedom. Free from the bondage of self.
Rediscovering and Rebuilding Your Self
In addition to modern modalities such as cognitive and
dialectic behavioral therapies, Barn Life Recovery’s holistic program includes a
spiritual component. Eastern philosophical studies as well as meditation, Tai
Chi, Qi Gong, Martial Arts, Yoga, Chinese Herbal Therapy, and Reiki help propel
clients into a life of serenity, peace and enlightenment. Enlightenment is a
word often associated with eastern philosophy yet widely misunderstood in
American culture. Enlightenment means liberation from one’s self. It means that
we have realized that something has gone wrong and we vow to bring this wrong
back into balance and harmony. This is a state of enlightenment. The active
participation in rebuilding of one’s self. You have always had the ability to
create a future vastly different from that which past events would predict.