Baffling, cunning and confusing addictive thinking ruins lives.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Albert Schweitzer - Reverence For Life

Reverence for Life:

Lost in thought I sat on deck of the barge, struggling to find the elementary and universal concept of the ethical that I had not discovered in any philosophy. I covered sheet after sheet with disconnected sentences merely to concentrate on the problem. Two days passed. Late on the third day, at the very moment when, at sunset, we were making our way through a herd of hippopotamuses, there flashed upon my mind, unforeseen and unsought, the phrase : “Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben” (“reverence for life”). The iron door had yielded. The path in the thicket had become visible.”

— Albert Schweitzer

Compassion is a precept in Buddhism and we are instructed to have compassion for all living beings.  We are also instructed to have compassion for ourselves.  
Part of the compassion instruction is often overlooked - having compassion for yourself.  We often hold ourselves to impossible standards and have little sympathy for ourselves when life becomes difficult and sometimes overwhelming.  Unfortunately, we are self loathing when we most need a little sympathy.

When you are barraged with self-criticism you have trouble seeing a way out of your problems having lost confidence in yourself.  This is a mental condition that creates depression and anxiety and ignores your ability to find any sort of creative reponse to your problems.

If you get into the habit of "self-medicating" your sorrows at these times with alcohol or drugs, you are likely to develop a bad habit.  Turning to the bottle is self-destructive and is never a good solution.  There is no situation so bad that alcohol can't make it worse.

At these times the Buddhist axiom to have compassion for yourself may seem of little comfort and to be impossible.  Accepting Albert Schweitzer's epiphany "reverence for life"  might be a great place to start.  We have been given the gift of life and all its wonders.  Take a little time to feel gratitude for your being alive on the one planet in our Universe that  has the natural conditions to support life.  
Stop mistreating yourself with drugs and alcohol and find ways to improve your situation.  Seek help, if your financial and emotional  resources are drained and you need help to get back on your feet.  Whatever you need to do will become more clear when you push the bottle away.  Alcohol is a depressant and it robs you of optimism and the desire to help yourself get out of the drinking lifestyle.

"One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity."
~Albert Schweitzer

"If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars."
- R. Tagore

Forget what you have lost as a result of the out of control drinking .  The past is gone. The present is where you have power to take action and recover your life one-day-at-a-time.  Just start putting together good days of sobriety and positive actions.  Time takes time so you will need to be patient and to persevere in your daily efforts to get sober and to stay sober.  You need to believe that things will get better with sobriety.  Have hope and don't get discouraged quickly when you find yourself bored or depressed.  You are not practicing magic and so there will be difficult  times ahead and you will need to summon your inner strength.  As Albert Camus said,"In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer".  Get started and know there is power in action.

Build a better life according to your ideal Vision.
Do not wait for perfect timing, get started now.
What you do today, is all that matters.
Do your best with what you have and start from where you are.
-- Jack Dawes