It is time. It has been about a year. What I'm about to do is set up an outline or a blueprint on how to obtain emotional freedom and find harmony in your life.
They say necessity is the mother of invention. Then perhaps desperation is the grandmother. In 2007, I underwent a series of events that altered my complete conscious reality of the world. It literally changed how I saw everything. Completely and permanently. I will never be the same nor do I ever want to return to that ego driven world of insanity. As a result of what happened to me, I am going to take you on a step by step journey of what happened. The only background that I can offer that is relevant- is that I was desperate and utterly insane. And out of that desperation and insanity, I found the answer. I was the problem. And the only person on the planet that could fix that problem...was me. As I underwent profound changes in perception and thus reality, the world came into focus. I eliminated nearly all of my ego driven and faulty belief systems and installed new ones. Truthful and fair belief systems. My relationships and my attitude improved dramatically. I was able to shut the noise off. That noise that goes on in our heads...that noise we call "thinking." It is fear driven insanity. That's what it really is.
In the fall of '07, I landed in New Orleans to get sober. I was drinking far too much and I just wanted to stop drinking. I walked into Alcoholics Anonymous. Within two weeks, I was convinced that I was emotionally and spiritually sick. I realized that just quitting drinking was far too simplistic. I needed a lot of additional work- far and above what AA could provide. And so in tandem, I worked the AA program with a divinely inspired spiritual program that included a lot of people. A lot of reading. A lot of reflecting. A lot of work. But I was committed to being the absolute best person I could be. Had I known at 20 what I discovered in New Orleans 25 years later, I'd have moved mountains. I try not to think about that. I focus on the moment and I am grateful for what I subsequently discovered. And while I believe much of what I am about to say applies to virtually every one, I can't make that assumption. In fact, that's part of the program.
Here then were my emotional prerequisites.
1. I was desperate. I came to believe that everything I thought I knew was potentially wrong or misguided. Faulty belief systems. Failed relationships. I didn't have a clue how to behave like an adult.
2. I was unflinchingly honest and determined to do whatever was necessary to become a good human being. I was determined to seek unconditional love for all people. How's that for a tall order?
3. I became WILLING to take direction. Open mindedness. Real open-minded-ness. I refused to offer opinions or defend faulty beliefs. I became willing to scrap bad beliefs and install new ones.
As I was committed to the AA process, and uncovering all of the fears that had driven virtually all of my actions, I was given a book title by a complete stranger I had just met. It was the "Four Agreements" by Ruiz. The book was a quick read, about 3-4 hours, and after my first pass I simply put it down. I was in awe. Not only was it incredibly simple but I realized that it was one of the most profound things I had ever read. The application of those four principles for living seemed easy at first, but it took a great deal of practice, understanding, and application. It took commitment. The book should be given to every student in every school.
The second agreement, "Take Nothing Personally" was very difficult for me to comprehend. In fact, I read that chapter a total of nine times before it ultimately sank in. People are just living their lives. They are simply reflecting who they are and that has nothing to do with you. Even when they say that it does. Ever. The concept seems abstract and irrational at first. At least it did to me. I was the ultimate watchdog, forever vigilant and on the defensive. I believed everything was an attack on me. That's probably why I had to read that chapter so many times.
That concept became an absolute cornerstone of my program. I linked the third agreement to it, "Make No Assumptions" which like "Take Nothing Personally", I violated all the time. Daily. In fact, once I realized how bad I was in terms of violating those two principles, it kind of made me sick. My heightened awareness of these two principles allows me to see and hear that mentality everywhere, with my friends and family, co workers, virtually everyone around me. It is truly an epidemic.
The other two agreements, "Use Impeccable Speech" and "Always Do Your Best" seemed less important to me. In fact, as I focused on the other two agreements, I found myself using impeccable speech and doing my best as a result of taking nothing personally and not making assumptions.
So "Take Nothing Personally" and "Make No Assumptions" became a cornerstone of my spiritual program.
Which leads me to the commitment part. If they truly worked, I had to find a way to actually implement them in my daily life. There was only one way to do that.
Each morning I meditated. For only ten minutes. I used five minutes to clear my mind. I used the final five minutes to focus on a list of things which at first I kept very simple.
I will not drink today no matter what, I will take nothing personally, and I will make no assumptions. That's how it started. Then I would go play golf, walk on the levees, work with others.