Normal Enjoyment or Addiction?

As a priest/pastor, I need and hope to help people to conquer their addictions, for example, alcohol. At first, we need to distinguish what might be considered normal use of alcohol, for example, from dependent or addictive use of alcohol (and a variety of other substances and “things”).

In his book, “Addiction and Pastoral Care”, Nicholas Roberts quotes different experts’ definitions of addiction, addiction “is a syndrome in which a reward seeking behaviour has become out of control” and “an excessive desire for the consumption of a variety of drugs and difficulties in giving up their use…”

According to these definitions, I do not think my normal enjoyment of coffee should not be considered an addiction. At least, I can have my days without coffee, but what about my cell phone? Are there any harms if I have been addicted to the cell phone?

The way to handle negative people

We may need to cope with negative people in our daily life. In his book “The Tao of Daily Life”, Derek Lin has offered us the way to handle negative people:

“Criticizing others while being unaware of their own faults is something that many people do. We can even say that it is something we all do from time to time…when people lash out at us with venomous criticism, we should not accept it passively. We should certainly protect ourselves by putting some distance between us and them if at all possible; protect ourselves in other ways if not. The crucial point is that we can do so without feeling offended or insulted because these people are simply being themselves. It is their nature to be critical and judgmental, so it would be absurd for us to take offense, It would be pointless to get angry.”

The question for you and I to ask ourselves at first is if we have recognized and accepted our negative nature. We have to keep ourselves away from being negative toward ourselves and others.

I have the experience – opening up to physical pain

In her book, “small bites: mindfulness for everyday use”, Annabelle Ziner wrote,

“Most of us have never been taught how to deal with physical pain in a positive way. (I agree with Annabelle) Emotional pain often arises as a result of physical pain, and this can cause us to suffer. We suffer because our mind builds a resistance against the unpleasant feeling of physical pain. The mind says that this pain shouldn’t be there…No one can escape this fact. The body is not set up to exclusively produce pleasant feelings; there will also be unpleasant feelings…Adopting an open, compassionate attitude toward pain is one of the most important steps you can take toward suffering less….After you’ve carefully investigated pain, you can move your attention to a different or more distant area in your body where there neutral or pleasant sensations. For example, when you’re experiencing a headache you can focus instead on the sensations in your feet or hands. This helps enlarge your field of perception; the pain is no longer the only thing in your mind. You allow the pain a wide space in which it can exist with other sensations…At the end of the practice, you should be aware of feeling your entire body one more time and smile at it kindly…”

When we went to a dental clinic for teeth cleaning and filing, I used this method to cope with my pain. My head hurt a lot when I was suffering from COVID, the practice of this method in a mindful way helped me not only cope with the pain but also had the energy to take care of the other three people in the same house.

Ordinary mind and meditation

In the book, “Labyrinth Meditations: labyrinths for mindfulness, meditation, and centring”, Madonna Gauding’s writing deepened my understanding on medication:

“Meditation is a practice for cultivating deeper awareness, a way to gain psychological insight and, if you choose, a method of communicating with God or a higher power….is to help you overcome the limitations of ordinary awareness and expand your mind to high consciousness…Our everyday lives are like a waking dream. Rather than being truly awake and aware, we are usually preoccupied or lost in thought…We also have a habit of projecting onto others what we think they are feeling or thinking, without truly knowing whether this is so…Rather than being awake to reality as it is, and truly aware of what is going on around and inside us, it is as if we are living in a dream world – a small, confining world of our mind’s creation. Yet we are convinced that we know what is real and what isn’t…The good news is that rather than waiting for the world to shock us into awareness, we can choose to live in an awakened state all the time. Meditation is the antidote to living in a dream world…to live fully in the present moment…From this peaceful mind spring insight and awareness…”.

You are invited to follow my posts to: learn & practice meditation, and experience the power of the now and awareness.

 

effective leader and people’s dysfunctional behavior

In her book “How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season” Susan Beaumont points out that:

“Anxious people tend to behave badly.  And when they do, a leader’s energy is often directed at coping with the dysfunctional behavior of a few, rather than focusing on the health of the whole.  An effective leader resists being drawn into the dysfunctional and remains focused on health and hope”.

I used to try my best to please, comfort, and calm the few with dysfunctional behavior.  I usually end up becoming very tired and losing all my energy (and even hope) to serve and lead others.  I myself so often became dysfunctional when I was drawn into the dysfunctional.

Therefore, we should not give all that we have to those with dysfunctional behavior.  We have to remain focused on health & hope.