When Criticizing Others, Also Criticize Yourself For the Same Behavior

The quote “What we dislike in our fellows are often those things we dislike most in ourselves. We can turn this observation to our spiritual advantage. When we are stricken with the impulse to judge someone else, we can redirect the impulse in such a way as to recognize our own defects more clearly.”

I look at the quote from the Just for Today and wonder how much impact it has in my life. In some, I hardly look at other faults and spend most of my time contemplating my own faults before judging others. When most of your time is trying to critically judge yourself, trying to point other people’s faults become a trivial matter.

In my life now, I would feel the most significant area of application where that quote comes to is dealing with fear and resentment. When I see the amount of political anger, I feel that taking contrary action is the best measure to respond to the problem. Contrary action would cleanse me of the fear. To me, rage and anger at somebody would most likely stoke a corresponding increase in the level of anxiety.

For fear, it is a little bit more complicated. Some fears like fear of COVID 19 are rational fears designed for me to take the necessary precautionary measures to reduce the risk of infection down to a tolerable level. Fears like fear of relapse keep me from becoming complacent. Fear of dating is designed to keep my anxiety at a tolerable level. Engaging in things that let my anxiety increase at a time when the collective anxiety is so high is a preventative measure from letting collective anxiety from overwhelming me because my own level of personal anxiety has become too high for me to manage. If the level of collective anxiety was low, then engaging in behavior which generates a higher level of anxiety might be worth undertaking because I do not have to worry the consequences of collective anxiety on my anxiety levels.

When it comes to irrational fears of other people, that is something that I need to take stock of. I believe that in this area because I am already very aware of this. However, I still need to continue to work on this practice to make sure that I do not become complacent in it.

September 26, 2020 at 1:29 pm Leave a comment

The Black Hole of Addiction

The nightmare of addiction. I remember each day. It never goes away. The pain of drinking and loneliness. A vapid black hole of empty feeling. Something that I never want to feel again.

I hardly see people get drunk these days. My roommates are trying to do their best to keep their head above water. Me, I try to avoid not to drinking any cost. If that is a measure of success in handling the current situation, then I am a hands-down winner.

Who wants to go back to drinking a one half liter bottle of wine at the bus stop with no solution to live. Or trying to break wine bottle to get the cork open. It is a nightmare, indeed.

Living with a second term as Donald Trump is a nightmare. But not even a second term of Donald Trump can compare to the nightmare of addiction until actually experience having an addiction. Then, you know it is a nightmare. It is the horror that I want nobody to share in. If I take this disease very seriously, it is because it has severe consequences and that is why I can never forget what it was like.

September 25, 2020 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

Restoring Old Friendships

Yesterday, I got a call out of the blue from a person that I did not expect. I did not know how to react. I did not like how our last conversation ended. It did not end well. I do not think that any of us were at fault. It was a strain on two friends living far away when the relationships primarily rely on face to face contact, the other person going through personal issues that were difficult to deal with, and also major transportation barriers.
Anyway, probably due to psychological distress, the other person lashed out me. I might have been at fault partially, but that other person was dealing with difficult issues that I could not project. Now, I could be totally wrong, and things were completely different. However, it seems the distance between us and one of us who does not like talking on the phone (which is perfectly fine). For me, I hate talking people over chat because my attention span is so fragmented due to bombardment of information on the Internet. Also, people take pauses with text messaging compared to a phone call where conservation is instantaneous.
Text is great for sending short messages, especially with coordinating activities and events. However, entire conservation over text is not my favourite thing because I have major attention span issues. With a phone call, it much easier to pause and listen to people. In my professional relationship with my supervisor, we almost always use chat platform to coordinate work and hardly ever e-mail each other. I am extremely comfortable with IM message in a work environment, and it works extremely well in the work environment.
However, with this friend, reliance on communication is face to face. However, I have to remember that I do have a Zoom account that I pay for so I could easily talk to over the phone and even watch a movie together via the computer screen. So I do think there is definitely a way to bring back this friendship without having to compromise my quarantine routine. I could see him in October or wait until December. So I do think it is possible to bring back this relationship.
At the end of the day, I did not immediately respond. It was for a good reason. It was better to pause and collect my feelings instead of responding immediately and not respond in the correct fashion.

September 23, 2020 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Skepticism of Self Help Gurus

A speaker in a meeting talked about some stuff from Napoleon Hill. I never heard of him tonight. I am really skeptical of self-help material like his.
Actually, such an attitude means that a healthy dose of skepticism would root of the wheat from the chaff. There is a lot of chaff in those books, but there could be nuggets of wheat in there that could be life-changing and profound.
However, I do not chase down self-help books for the motivational experience because the program teaches to break free of those self-help gurus. Even a person like me who does not believe in God, more accessible is easier to motivation through my own spiritual experience than hearing advice from a self-help guru.
Sorry, I do not put much faith in self-help gurus and positive thinking mantras. Both Christian bible teachers and numerous secular psychologists and scientists have debunked self-help movement enough for me not to trust it. Now, I found lots of success in AA. However, the success rate to be meager, but if you put a substantial commitment to it, the success rate drastically increases. In my case, it did, but I put a substantial commitment to it, so that is why it worked. It probably works the same way with Napoleon Hills devotees as well, especially with individuals of a certain temperament that are put in the right situations.

Am I going to read and try the Napolean Hill path in the future? My answer is Nah.

September 23, 2020 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

On Motivation and Prayer

Motivation is a topic that can mean lots of things. We have the political motivation right now, especially when you have a leader like Mitch McConnell, who embraces ruthless power politics. I have the personal motivation to tackle ADHD and Autism. Or the drive to become the best person at my position.

Today’s Just for Today talked about prayer. Prayer is a vital part of people getting the motivation to do something that they find very difficult to do. I look at some amazing feats that prayer can do in people’s lives. For me, I am going to look at an obvious example that I am aware of. Since Christianity is the background of my spiritual system of belief, I am going to turn to the Hall of Faith in Hebrews. Here is an excerpt

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
Now, in my opinion, all of the people mentioned in the story are mythological beings. But that is not the point. All of the people put used faith and prayer as motivation to do the extremely difficult actions that were tasked to do. I do not have time in the post to do a detailed understanding of the neurology and psychology of this. Still, my extremely limited understanding is that they tapped into a part of the brains that can be tapped to do difficult things. People are conditioned to do the easy and obvious. The whole point is that they used prayer and meditation to break themselves of conditioning only to do the obvious and easy. They had to condition themselves to do extremely difficult and challenging things. So they used spirituality to condition the brain to do tasks that involved massive amounts of fear and anxiety. Now, I consider these stories as mythology with the possibility of being remotely true.

As usual, the limited amount of time that I have does not permit to complete the post. The lesson is that using prayer is a great idea for one who if a persn spiritually inclined to learn how to do condition themselves to actions that involve a high level of fear and anxiety. I also one add to final caveat. When engaging in prayer, the goal would be actions that are seen as altruistically motivated instead of motivated by selfish gains.

September 22, 2020 at 3:21 am Leave a comment

Courage to Change

I had spent a lot of time about today’s Just for Today. I mean a lot. Who spends the entire time thinking about changing. For a person with mental health issues, the goal becomes a better understanding of your limitation and learn how to better function in society.

There are several challenges in this area. I would probably state that the most difficult would be human relationships and finding meaningful things to do with my spare time. I spent so many hours aimlessly surfing on the internet. A lot of it is out of boredom and also being alone. And also being alone this time is not because I seek to be alone. It is more that we have a raging pandemic that I take seriously, maybe too seriously.

I think that I take it too seriously, but I have enough horror stories from my own experience to know it is a disease that I do not want to mess around. Getting it is a scary thing. Getting it because I made a stupid decision that I do not want to make. Getting because I made a stupid decision and then unknowingly transmit it to my parents is a mistake that I consider unforgivable.

So, I do not socialize with people that often because I avoid the risk of getting the virus and developing unhealthy habits that result in minimization of spreading the virus. So I might restrict behaviour more excessively than I should but having excessive self-restraint with the disease is preferable to minimize this disease.

What happens as a result is that I have this enormous amount of spare time on the weekends that I have no idea what to do with. In some ways, I do know to manage the time effectively as I did today. The essential routine is reading some books, running about 12-13 miles, getting outside, and hitting a meeting.

The courage to change would mean that I would have lots of projects and personal goals that I won’t work on that do not involve people. The problem is that my window to see people is about a week each month before the two week quarantine period. In the quarantine period, my social contacts are limited to one on one meetings, and the number of people that I can see is limited. The quarantine period is two week period before I see parents who are over 70 in an environment with no social distancing and no masks.

The relationship with parents is probably the most important because the time is not my side. It is probably more important to see them than other people.

The courage to change would be developing personal goals and passions that I can work on in my spare time. I do not know about socialization aspects, especially with this quarantine period. My parents have a dog, which especially important to my mental health, and my mom loves me. So the concept of increasing my social circle or going to social events to help me improve my theory of mind, reading of social cues or other things are kind of off the table.

September 21, 2020 at 1:40 am Leave a comment

On Understanding My Teenage Years and How It Shapes My View of Christianity and Spirituality As an Adult Agnostic in Recovery

The twelve steps of AA are a huge part of my life. They guide me in all aspects of my life. The 11th step is especially important in my recovery.

However, if somebody asks me why I don’t believe in God, the answer is very simple. I have yet to overcome the narrow view of God that I inherited from Christianity.

I find that science provides a simple and clear model for the creation and end of the universe that are proven through mathematical models. The universe started as a singularity in the big bang and will end as an endless infinite expansive of space trapped in eternal death.

When it comes reading the bible, I was taught a theology of conservative evangelical and reformed teachings. Instead of rejecting that teach outright, I believe that I have a real difficulty putting the biblical God in a realm of current scientific understanding. From a theological perspective, I have come to 100% acceptance of a moderate conservative understanding of the gospel and its message.

How can I practice a faith where I have surrendered to the theology, but I have not surrendered to its view of cosmology, creation, and eschatology? And how can I find a God when I already settled on what the concept of God is?

The simple answer is to say that the question of God is beyond my understanding and not worth dabbling. The issue with God is settled business except for the great question of science and God. Is it worth dabbling in others faith trying to create my God when I already came to acceptance on other religions concept of God?

The idea of “Design a God” I find absurd, especially when I still have not given up on the current concept of God that I draw from a 2000-year-old religion. I can borrow various spiritual teachings from an ethical and metaphysical sense for other faith traditions to understand the world better around from me. But that is more for anthropological view and not one that is going to lead to a relationship with a divine creator.

I would have let to go of the shackles of a religion that I never found true belief in but one that I have entirely rejected. In a sense, a relationship of God is stuck because I refuse to embrace my current concept of God or reject my current view of God and let myself feel and explore God. But when you are on the spectrum, it becomes almost impossible to feel God because you are not wired to understand an emotional concept of God.

That is always the limitation of why I did not go anywhere in finding God because I am precisely not an emotional person. I do feel emotions but usually in a narrow band of emotions such as fear and anger. Things like extreme sadness or happiness are feelings that I do not feel. I can get bouts of extreme anxiety or anger but never happiness or sadness. I am feeling a calm sense of serenity also an emotion that I feel as well.

But then how do you connect to a being who is outside of time and space, and you constantly struggle with the youthful lusts. It turned out that the lust that I faced as a teenager and which stifled a true relationship with God was a normal teenager and young adult behaviour. I thought the lust that I felt was abnormal and that the other guys in the church did a much better job of coping with it than I do. Now, I am not so certain. Perhaps, they struggled as much as I did, but they were better at feigning their struggle and did not struggle with the idea of being “pure” in the sight of God. In some ways, they played the game of the church to find their mate, meet friends, and eventually grow up and raise a successful family. They did have a “relationship” of God, but they were able better to struggle with it because they did not struggle with extreme guilt that I did. Also, if you are getting attention from the opposite sex and having emotional intimacy with your partner, it might be easier not to look at pornography. You struggle with having lustful thoughts about your partner a lot. Still, if you are constantly surrounding yourself with things of God, such moral self-regulation does become possible over time. I understand that because there is a lot of behaviour that is easier to control now, especially that I am in recovery.

I always thought that pornography was worse than I experienced was worse than other males of my age that were in my youth group were. Now, I know I was mistaken. Many of the guys in the youth group might have strong self-regulation with not having sex with their girlfriend but bitterly struggled with the lustful thoughts that went on in the male brain. Also, the church did a poor job probably of understanding the rites of passages in young men and women, especially in such a hypersexualized era that we live in today. They wanted to have this strict father mentality towards sexual desire instead of understanding it was an innate drive of a man and that the goal of man is constantly to seek God to drive out the temptation at the same time not getting bogged down in torrential feelings of guilt and shame.

And strict father mentality that sees weakness and humility as not being virtues is antithetical to the message of Jesus. Rather, like in the program, the message of Jesus is live in humility and be weak. When a person in such a spiritual state, they are more likely to see the awesomeness of God and have the desire to follow him.

So at the end of the day, my spiritual development as a youth was a total misunderstanding. What I did gain was an excellent understanding of scripture of teaching that helps have the correct perspective of what true teachings of the bible are. Yet, I worship science more than the creator. I admit that. I put observable facts over the unseen any day of the week. Yet, I also understand that there is collective unconscious wisdom that is totally beyond my comprehension that science does not provide the answers. If I do combine the two, it provides a worldview sufficient enough to hold me away from another drink and also a complete meltdown going to an insane period of human history.

1112 words on this. I am nuts. But I am again writing about my own spiritual experience and getting know my spiritual self better. Like writing my own spiritual biography.

September 19, 2020 at 5:37 am Leave a comment

On Understanding My Teenage Years and How It Shapes My View of Christianity and Spirituality As an Adult Agnostic in Recovery

The twelve steps of AA are a huge part of my life. They guide me in all aspects of my life. The 11th step is especially important in my recovery.

However, if somebody asks me why I don’t believe in God, the answer is very simple. I have yet to overcome the narrow view of God that I inherited from Christianity.

I find that science provides a simple and clear model for the creation and end of the universe that are proven through mathematical models. The universe started as a singularity in the big bang and will end as an endless infinite expansive of space trapped in eternal death.

When it comes reading the bible, I was taught a theology of conservative evangelical and reformed teachings. Instead of rejecting that teach outright, I believe that I have a real difficulty putting the biblical God in a realm of current scientific understanding. From a theological perspective, I have come to 100% acceptance of a moderate conservative understanding of the gospel and its message.

How can I practice a faith where I have surrendered to the theology, but I have not surrendered to its view of cosmology, creation, and eschatology? And how can I find a God when I already settled on what the concept of God is?

The simple answer is to say that the question of God is beyond my understanding and not worth dabbling. The issue with God is settled business except for the great question of science and God. Is it worth dabbling in others faith trying to create my God when I already came to acceptance on other religions concept of God?

The idea of “Design a God” I find absurd, especially when I still have not given up on the current concept of God that I draw from a 2000-year-old religion. I can borrow various spiritual teachings from an ethical and metaphysical sense for other faith traditions to understand the world better around from me. But that is more for anthropological view and not one that is going to lead to a relationship with a divine creator.

I would have let to go of the shackles of a religion that I never found true belief in but one that I have entirely rejected. In a sense, a relationship of God is stuck because I refuse to embrace my current concept of God or reject my current view of God and let myself feel and explore God. But when you are on the spectrum, it becomes almost impossible to feel God because you are not wired to understand an emotional concept of God.

That is always the limitation of why I did not go anywhere in finding God because I am precisely not an emotional person. I do feel emotions but usually in a narrow band of emotions such as fear and anger. Things like extreme sadness or happiness are feelings that I do not feel. I can get bouts of extreme anxiety or anger but never happiness or sadness. I am feeling a calm sense of serenity also an emotion that I feel as well.

But then how do you connect to a being who is outside of time and space, and you constantly struggle with the youthful lusts. It turned out that the lust that I faced as a teenager and which stifled a true relationship with God was a normal teenager and young adult behaviour. I thought the lust that I felt was abnormal and that the other guys in the church did a much better job of coping with it than I do. Now, I am not so certain. Perhaps, they struggled as much as I did, but they were better at feigning their struggle and did not struggle with the idea of being “pure” in the sight of God. In some ways, they played the game of the church to find their mate, meet friends, and eventually grow up and raise a successful family. They did have a “relationship” of God, but they were able better to struggle with it because they did not struggle with extreme guilt that I did. Also, if you are getting attention from the opposite sex and having emotional intimacy with your partner, it might be easier not to look at pornography. You struggle with having lustful thoughts about your partner a lot. Still, if you are constantly surrounding yourself with things of God, such moral self-regulation does become possible over time. I understand that because there is a lot of behaviour that is easier to control now, especially that I am in recovery.

I always thought that pornography was worse than I experienced was worse than other males of my age that were in my youth group were. Now, I know I was mistaken. Many of the guys in the youth group might have strong self-regulation with not having sex with their girlfriend but bitterly struggled with the lustful thoughts that went on in the male brain. Also, the church did a poor job probably of understanding the rites of passages in young men and women, especially in such a hypersexualized era that we live in today. They wanted to have this strict father mentality towards sexual desire instead of understanding it was an innate drive of a man and that the goal of man is constantly to seek God to drive out the temptation at the same time not getting bogged down in torrential feelings of guilt and shame.

And strict father mentality that sees weakness and humility as not being virtues is antithetical to the message of Jesus. Rather, like in the program, the message of Jesus is live in humility and be weak. When a person in such a spiritual state, they are more likely to see the awesomeness of God and have the desire to follow him.

So at the end of the day, my spiritual development as a youth was a total misunderstanding. What I did gain was an excellent understanding of scripture of teaching that helps have the correct perspective of what true teachings of the bible are. Yet, I worship science more than the creator. I admit that. I put observable facts over the unseen any day of the week. Yet, I also understand that there is collective unconscious wisdom that is totally beyond my comprehension that science does not provide the answers. If I do combine the two, it provides a worldview sufficient enough to hold me away from another drink and also a complete meltdown going to an insane period of human history.

1112 words on this. I am nuts. But I am again writing about my own spiritual experience and getting know my spiritual self better. Like writing my own spiritual biography.

September 19, 2020 at 5:37 am Leave a comment

On Hobbies and Interests

When I have my initial discussion with my therapist today, I need to tell that are I have limited hobbies. However, I also need to clarify to her that I have a wide range of interest. When you are interested includes science fictions, criminal justice, politics, astronomy, human behavior, history, running, dogs, and Burning Man, it means that you have a wide range of interest.

I should tell her that I spend a lot of time on web spending time on those interests. Either researching thing, writing about stuff or watching content on Youtube.

And there are hobbies connected to my interests that I cannot really engage in due to fine motor skills issues. For example, if I was visual learner instead of a verbal learner, it would be easy for me to spend hours on drawing sci-fi art. As a verbal person, I could learn how to write fiction about my own world that I have created along with existing universes.

However, there are other issues in brain development that prevent it from happening. My brain is overtly compensated on the left-side brain, which is more cognitively biases towards analysis and memorization of facts. It does have a strong competent on the right side of the brain in some areas of creativity. However, it works mainly towards the left side of the brain as well.

The other issue is that my brain has specific wiring issues caused by ADHD and Autism. It makes things like focusing on time and effort towards structuring free time as very difficult, especially when it is given the task to schedule hours and hours of unconstrained free time.

When you have fine motor skills limitations and extreme difficulty with structuring free time in a constructive manner, then it becomes difficult to achieve your goals.

September 16, 2020 at 1:14 pm Leave a comment

Spiritual Emptiness

Spiritual Emptiness.

The void of spiritual emptiness is something we are facing in such a dark time. Titanic wildfires spew ashes and smoke that create a toxic haze in the sky. You cough when you try to go outside and all around the orange sky seems endless. You see a petty tyrant of a President trying to grasp on another four years of power which spells nothing but another four years of trauma, loss of freedom, economic misery, and disease. You see an endless pandemic that robs you of your ability to see your friends and loved ones. It makes thing like going to concerts impossible, robs your children of learning in the public schools, and so forth.

It seems like there is no end. You feel an empty void where you cannot understand. Where do you cling to and where do you go.

I read several passages in the Bible, and they address the answer to the tremendous emptiness by drawing near towards God. The emptiness of idle pleasure like lust, drunkness, and other vices seems to be meaningless pleasures at this time. For some, living a pleasurable and nihilistic lifestyle at this time is certainly a rational view. I mean the world is absurd right now, and everything is falling apart, what do you do?

In the case of a recovered alcoholic, the answer is heading towards the bible advice even though God is an imaginary being created in the collective unconscious of man. As an atheist/agnostic, it is that collective unconscious that created the idea of God where the answer to this dilemma is found.

Does living a life of vice in the age of tragedy help propel our survival? The answer is no because we developed poor coping skills. A rational person who engage in behavior that helps him instinctually survive in difficult times

Thus, the answer is to find the answer by expanding your spirituality. Spirituality is a limitless road on how you travel it. However, while the path might be broad in a sense, it also narrows. Indulging in seven deadly sins brings back to the abusive behavior that makes us in recovery make poor choices. Therefore, it is important to live by the spiritual path to gain the strength to walk the narrow path. The answer is not what higher power you answer to but what you are actions that are the result of walking that path.

I cannot advise a person on how to walk down the same spiritual path that I did. My path, which relies heavily on free-response writing to a passage or topic, might not be appropriate to other people. My mind wanders too much to engage in meditation or has issues with prayer due to a narrow view of Christianity that I still accept even though I do not believe in it. So I find that writing provides the best method to channel one’s thoughts about these issues.

So as I conclude another writing session, we need to ponder whether the role of vice is a rational response to living in a time of difficult disaster. For some people, that might be perfectly fine response. But our pursuit of vice led to disaster and tragedy in our lives. It is not a path that we want to walk down again and one that we want to avoid as much as possible.

September 16, 2020 at 2:07 am Leave a comment

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