Life Recovery: The Three Major Factors – Part 1.
The First Key Factor – Willingness
If there is one massive barrier to change, what do you think it is?
I hear resentment from practically every person I ask this question to – often to the point of nausea (this is mainly due to the influence of A.A. which HEAVILY stresses the importance of removing resentment or else…), for instance,
“Resentment is the ‘number one’ offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 64).”
Certainly, this is correct, I would never argue that point. However…
On the other hand, before resentment can even be confronted two specific barriers must be approached and torn asunder.
- Apathy – “I don’t give a shit”
- Procrastination – “I’ll give a shit later”
Now it’s time we have the talk…the one that’s overly simplistic and burnt out in its usage, but absolutely essential… Yup, its attitude adjustment time!
The Attitude Indicator
I have never piloted an airplane per say, but I am confident in my competency and proficiency as a wingman in Microsoft Flight Simulator. So, ipso facto, I’m sort of a pilot 🙂
Glad we got that out of way…
So one day while I was manning the yoke I pondered the many different elements that existed in the cockpit. So many instruments, so many gadgets…they make it seem far too easy in the movies!
One instrument, however, caught my attention – the “attitude indicator.”
It’s a spherical instrument with two hemispheres – north and south – mimicking the atmosphere. The top half representing the sky (blue), and the lower the earth’s surface (brown).
It’s used for landing purposes. It enables the pilot to evenly land the plane on the earth’s surface. Specifically, it DETERMINES THE ANGLE OF APPROACH.
If you were to do a quick spot check inventory and examine your inner attitude indicator, what would your angle of approach look like? Clean landing? Or nose dive in the tree’s?
Attitude Is Therefore Likened To Position
Why is position important? Well, let’s harken back to our boy Copernicus.
Copernicus held a heliocentric position, respectively. He was adamant about the sun being the center of our universe. Many of his peers, however, did not share his sentiments.
Nonetheless, the earth as the center of universe failed to meet the litmus test – it could not withstand the rigor of scientific scrutiny. It led to an incoherent, dominantly irrational, and an overall nonsensical universe.
Yet, many stubbornly clung to it.
- Refusal to abandon their post.
- A core belief.
- The wrong attitude.
- The nosedive into the bushes as it were.
Their “better” judgment would not allow them to abandon their philosophical position. EVEN WITH EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY.
“Doing” Recovery The Wrong Way
No one in Copernicus’s day would rationally deny that the earth-centered universe conveyed disorder and confusion.
All around life danced – at times as gentle waltz and others as an aggressive conga – in a seemingly harmonious order.
Yet, when one looked to the sky – from the position of the earth as the center – disorder reigned supreme.
What could one make of the incongruence?
- Option 1: Chalk it up as a mystery and proceed in swallowing dissonance.
- Option 2: Change one’s position.
All that is necessary is a slight shift in perspective from the earth as the center to the sun as the center and…waalaa, harmony happens.
No great and momentous moves – just a proper positioning to ensure movement is in the right direction. Change your starting point, your position, your attitude, and harmony happens.
The 12-Steps and other modalities attempt to achieve this shift – so do the work because “shift happens” 🙂
How In The Hell Does This Relate
Very similar to a self-centered perspective: life looks bleak, hostile, and irrational.
From a people-centered (spirit-centered) perspective: life looks friendly, potential-laden, and rational.
The position, therefore, determines the “doing.”
Let me explain…
The self-centered person will live much differently than the community-centered individual. Just as Copernicus’s universe looked much different from his predecessors and this determined his scientific activity and conclusions; thus, the self-centered perspective will precipitate a wildly different lifestyle and conclusions about life.
Furthermore, his predecessors “did” astronomy but reached far different conclusions than he because they had opposing starting points – different positions.
Ultimately, what I am attempting to articulate is that you can “do” recovery the wrong way, by holding to the wrong position – the wrong attitude.
The Right Attitude – The Barrier Breaker
Consequently, the proper position or more accurately attitude is interpersonal in nature.
The idea is to live and rely on one another – in community.
Because every individual has a unique set of gifts, and each original in their contributions (See Article on Humility). Ultimately, we are all dependent upon one another – hence we are INTERdependent.
That’s how community works
How Interdependency Conquers The Two Barriers To Change
Epicurus, a philosopher of Ancient Greece, believed transcendence or enlightenment was found in only one dimension of living: friendship.
In other words, a community of real friends was necessary to achieve self-actualization. Shout out to Abraham Maslow 🙂
Thus, we arrive full circle back to the two major barriers to life change: apathy and procrastination.
Illustrations Of The Epicurean Solution
For the apathetic or the procrastinator, motivation can be a foreign concept. Luckily, in true communal fashion, translators exist.
Accountability is a huge factor here.
What is accountability?
Well, it affirms one’s true identity.
It’s when peers refuse to allow you to be anything other than what your potential determines.
In A.A. it’s called, “loving you until you love yourself.” We must not be naive in thinking this is a solo mission.
When Epicurus Meets Moses’s Staff
Check out this pointed narrative of Moses; pay attention, the symbolism be though rich and telling can easily be missed with the rapid movement of the story. It’s found in the Bible in the book of Exodus 17:8-13.
Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.
Even the most spiritual of men need a stone to sit on (which was provided by others mind you) and assistance in their life task (if your hands aren’t in the hands of others perhaps that is the reason you for your struggle).
One More Analogy To Drive The Point Home
The Redwood Forest, who isn’t aware of these magnificently daunting skyscrapers of lumber?
I once heard that these trees are so enormous that they cannot support their size; in reality, they should simply tumble. Why? No root system can compensate for the sheer volume and mass. Yet, they stand…how?
The roots of every tree intertwine, lock, and support the weight of the tree next to it. In this way, they all stand only in support of one other – the collective is just as vital and necessary as the individual. Just as the hands of Moses are only as powerful as the hands of Aaron and Hur holding them.
How Does This Relate To The Topic Of Willingness?
Willingness is like a car without gas if it’s selfishly exercised.
First, willingness must meet the right attitude. Second, attitude must be positioned correctly, that is with “the other in mind.” And third, this position must become a permanent residence, a way of life as it were.
Which leads to the second factor for life change: directed passion.
Timmy G (2020)