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Director, Peak Recovery Program, Victoria, B.C.Canada. M.Ed.,University of Toronto. Trained at the Gestalt Institute of Toronto,Canada. Individual and Relationship "Recovery Counselling," Workshops, Seminars and Talks on Peak Recovery, Healing and “A Course In Miracles.”

Friday, December 24, 2010

Healing Challenges In Relationships

Everything seems to go well in relationships until circumstances or interactions activate some aspect of the pain and fear we carry within us. Unaware we carry this pain and fear, the probability is high we will become frightened and defensive when it surfaces. To us, it looks and feels like the person or situation that brought these painful feelings to the surface has CAUSED them. When this happens, through lack of readiness, skills or stamina, the pain and fear we experience often feels threatening and overwhelming. At this point, we usually turn to defensive patterns we have learned in the past to try and shut them down. They might include avoidance, flight, blame and anger to escape or drive away the seeming cause of the pain and fear we are being pressed to experience.

As long as we have pain and fear within us to heal, through the "Law of Attraction," these "Pain Body" vibrations will continually draw to us relationships and situations of like vibration that will activate and bring them unexpectedly to the surface. It seems to me that the only meaningful way to deal with this pain and fear is to find appropriate ways to feel, release and heal it so that it will not damage the good and valuable parts of our relationships or keep returning. It makes no sense to continue behaviour that does not help in some way to release and heal the pain and fear blocking the Peace, Joy and Love hidden beneath. This pain and fear is, as Joel Goldsmith says, “an appearance only and not the truth.” These are the “Mythical Dragons” found in the tales of middle-age literature that appear to guard the castle, a symbol of the heart, to try and stop the questing knights from finding, “The Holy Grail,” the Joy and Love hidden deep within. Finding Inner Peace and Love, therefore, depends on our willingness to face and defeat or dissolve the illusion of these Fire-Breathing Dragons, metaphors for the pain and fear, housed within the ego, that try to stop us from finding inner peace and love.

We defeat or dissolve these “Mythical Dragons” simply by facing and experiencing them. We need only breathe fully and relax into our pain and fear with each out breath. As you begin to calm somewhat with the realization you are surviving the pain and fear of the experience, use the Joel Goldsmith approach for dealing with this kind of situation. Confront these painful illusions with, "You are an appearance only. You are not the truth. I will give you no power over me!” Then follow the directions found in “A Course In Miracles” with, “Holy Spirit, I willingly give you these appearances that are not of love to dissolve into the nothingness from which they were born." (T-12.11.10) The more often you practice this exercise whenever your pain and fear is activated, the sooner you will come to realize, through experience, that it will eventually dissolve like mist in the summer sun. In the beginning, expect your ego to resist and want you to see the cause of the pain and fear coming from outside you and press you to attack or defend against it. This will keep you suffering as its hostage. Always remember, even though your pain and fear might look and feel like someone or something outside you caused it, this is NOT THE TRUTH. Our pain and fear is held within our own consciousness, projected and then reflected or activated by seeming outside forces. It is our willingness to give up our struggle with these outside forces and experience the pain and fear within us, without resistance, attack or defense that will dissolve it forever within our mind. “All that I do I do unto myself. If I attack, I suffer. But if I forgive (overlook with compassion) salvation will be given me.” (L-216, ACIM) To better understand and accept this “non dualistic” philosophy of “A Course In Miracles,” that the world we seem to experience outside us is really housed like a dream within our own mind, I encourage you to read the book, “ Is There Life After Death?” by Anthony Peake.

It is both possible and simple to develop more constructive strategies to deal with these Dragons when they become aroused within our relationships. In fact, the only reason we are here is to do just that, to undo our ego and its defenses. Usually when the pain and fear within us becomes activated, we become frightened and overwhelmed. Often our partners or others we interact with appear to cause our upset and we lash out at them with blame and anger attempting to stop the seeming cause of the pain and fear we experience. Sometimes we will withdraw instead. The purpose behind more constructive coping choices is to help us face, feel and release the pain and fear within us, instead of defending or attacking the situations and individuals that activate them. Unless we face and release this pain and fear, it will continually return to haunt us. If we attack, we will be attacked. If we forgive, (overlook with compassion) we will be forgiven. "All that I give, I give to myself," (L-126, ACIM)

When we have suffered enough from our relationship conflicts, dramas and the pain and fear that drew them to us, we will eventually become ready to ask for and try, “A Better Way” to heal and release this inner pain and fear. The readiness and willingness to surrender the old destructive patterns is always the hardest part the healing journey. It is sometimes difficult at first to discover the painful emotions and fears that are being activated within us. In most instances, they will revolve around issues like, unexpected change or loss, disappointment, betrayal, failure, the unknown, sadness, worthlessness, separation, emptiness, helplessness, feeling overwhelmed, trapped or abandoned. Their pain and fear will be physically experiences somewhere in the area of the heart or abdomen. These will be the areas to breathe, let go and relax into on every out breath. This will release and heal them. Once we begin to breathe more deeply and relax more fully into our “Pain Body,” it will lessen the intensity of our anxiety and eventually dissolve the pain and fear it holds. Be very patient and persistent in this pursuit.

One last thing, if we consistently felt the security and love we shared at the beginning of our relationships or in past ones, the necessary activation of our inner pain and fear for healing would be absent. If we want to heal this pain and fear and awaken to the Peace and Joy hidden in our consciousness, beneath these clouds of fear-based ego, it is somewhat naive and unfair for us to blame our current partners for playing their perfect activation and healing roles within our relationship dramas. On the other hand, it is just as naive to think that we will not experience this same Inner Peace, Joy and Love within all our relationships, after we gain the courage to face and dissolve these cloud-layers. These are the mind, body, emotion defenses and appearances of pain and fear that hide from us the Light, Peace, Joy and Love of our Spiritual Identity, buried like a treasure beneath them.

If you are interested in a more detailed article on this topic, please click onto the link below that will take you to an article I had published September 2010 in Jon Mundy’s “Miracle Magazine,” out of New York. It is “A Course In Miracles” based and titled, “A Better Way.”

David Ott, M.Ed.

What Is Peak Recovery

Peak Recovery is not just a recovery process or program for individuals using destructive substances and activities to cope with life. It is the process that every human being on this planet is engaged in at a conscious or unconscious level. We all search for the RECOVERY of our peace and happiness, a sense of belonging and safety in a world filled with insecurity, fear and pain.

All of us feel frightened, lost, wounded and alone, to varying degrees and for varying periods of time as we journey through our uncertain life here. To free ourselves from our feelings of fear and separation, most of us search for peace, love, meaning and security within our relationships, careers and activities in the world, or escape through various forms of coping strategies. In time, each one of these pursuits will fail, disappoint and hurt us leaving us feeling empty and anxious once again.

Whatever security or happiness we find within the world is, by its changing nature, always uncertain and temporary, leaving us with underlying anxiety, depression and fear that drain our energy and joy. The good news is that suffering from the loss of peace and the disappointments we find in the world will eventually press us into the readiness to ask for "a better way." This readiness and request will then draw to us information like this and teachers who begin to guide our journey inward. This inward journey awakens us to our Eternal Identity, the Identity we forgot with the evolution of our left brain consciousness that allowed us to think, remember, dream, worry and plan in search of security from the future and past.

This was the "ORIGINAL MISTAKE" that led us away from the PRESENT into the dream within our minds of a past we could hold in our memory and a future we hoped to plan and control, both in a futile attempt to gain our security. How can we find security from a past or future that exists only within our mind, is not present and therefore, is not real? Lasting or REAL SECURITY, the peace, power joy and love of our Spiritual Identity, can only be accessed in the Here and Now of the PRESENT!

In this blog, I hope to share some ideas and cast some light on this Inner Journey that will awaken our forgotten Spiritual Identity, the peace, power joy and love within. To help guide my comments for this blog, I urge you to send me questions, comments and feedback. I am especially interested in your personal recovery journey. As we share our experiences we help ourselves and others find Inner Peace. "Thoughts strengthen when shared." ("A Course In Miracles") If you haven't already done so, you might check out my "Peak Recovery" web site

David Ott, M.Ed.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Coping Choices And Healing: Reply To Addiction Question

Any destructive coping choice is the way we attempt to reduce anxiety, pain and fear to find peace. However, no medication or sedation we use to free ourselves from the pain and fear of this world can bring us the peace we seek. Drugs of any kind, legal or not, will give us only temporary relief at best and lead to addiction and the destruction of our mind and body at the worst.

The only thing that will bring you lasting peace and freedom from your pain and fear is meditation. This is a process where you learn how to still and silence your mind, body, emotion, or ego self.  All you need to do is find ways to relax your muscle tension through exercise.  Hatha Yoga and Ti-Chi are great because through your need to focus on each exercise, you still your thoughts (mind) as well and let go your body tension or armour. Yoga also works a great deal with relaxation, breath techniques, another important way to still your mind and let go the muscle tension, stored in your body from past trauma.

As you learn to 1. Stay present, still and silence your thoughts, 2. Release (let go) your muscle tension, 3. Experience and release your emotional pain and fear without defense or resistence and 4. Breathe in a more full and relaxed way, you will begin to find a deeper sense of calm and peace flowing from WITHIN YOU. This inner peace will dissolve your sense of anxiety, pain and fear that has, in the past and even now, pressed you to self medicate. We live in an insane and fear-based world. The more sensitive we are, the less we can survive without using some form of medication or sedation. When we are ready, as you are, we begin to search for ways to find real and lasting peace. Before we are ready, we search for our love, peace and security in all the wrong places.  It is, however, the further pain we create for ourselves through these destructive substance and behaviour choices that eventually forces our readiness to search for a better way. The good news is that we need not look anywhere for it. The Peace, Love and Joy we search for is deep within our own consciousness, beneath all the clouds of our ego's pain and fear.

Once you begin to experience, through stillness and surrender, your inner peace, both your need and desire to use destructive behaviour and substance choice to cope will begin to fall away. In point of truth, once you begin to experience the Peace, Joy and Love within you, your use of "weed" or any destructive substance or behaviour coping choice will become painful and impossible for you to tolerate. You will give up these choices willingly and without regret. I have experienced this truth for myself.

All we need do to find the Peace, Power, Joy and Love we seek is "Be Still." This awakens what I call our Energy-Self. Our ego self, which holds all our pain and fear and indeed survives on this pain and fear becomes terrified as we begin to "Be Still," so expect much resistance at the  beginning stage of any form of mental stillness work.  It is best to do lots of exercise first, even just walking.  Attempt to stay present in the here and now; see, hear, touch, taste, smell, etc. This is also meditation. Then have a hot shower to further relax your muscle tension and spend 10 or 15 minutes either sitting up or lying down doing relaxation breathing. Just breathe through your nose and experience your breath flowing gently in (abdomen rising) and out (abdomen falling). Let go and relax deeper (heavier) and deeper (heavier) into the mattress or chair with every out breath. Say to yourself a few times, "Peace be to my mind. Let all my thoughts be still." If thoughts or distractions come into your mind, let them go (fly by) and bring yourself back to experiencing your breathing. Begin to listen, watch and wait with infinite patience for the experience of the Peace and Love (Gratitude) within you to arise. We are here to find and experience just that. Be grateful that you now understand the rules of the game of life. We are like Jason Borne. We have lost our identity and don't know who we are or where to look for it. The first stage of the game of life is to recognize we are lost. The second stage is to search for ways to discover our identity. The third stage is to reclaim what we have lost, our True Self.  I call this True Self our Spiritual Identity.  It is the experiencing of this True Self that brings our freedom from fear and Inner Peace. Meditation in the form I describe will begin the third stage of the process.

I am excited that you have made it through this far in the game of life and have asked for help in finding a better way to gain peace and joy. "Ask and you shall receive," but understand that the ego part of your mind will resist its destruction. It must die, however, for you to experience the peace you are entitled to and have come into this school called life to find. Before you begin this final stage, just say to Spirit, "Please help me learn to be still. I truly desire to find my "Inner Peace." Then begin the process I have outlined with whatever you feel to do to learn stillness and surrender. There is a "Zone" exercise on my web site that is a guided meditation you can try. I also urge you to go through the Power Point presentation and while there, read the article on "Coping With Stress" and the "Peak Recovery" article as well.  If you want me to mail you a CD of this "Zone" meditation, then email me your address. If you are near a phone, I could guide you through this mediation in person.

Good luck and write me if I can help or explain further. Try and find a Hatha Yoga or meditation group if you can. Groups like these will make your healing or awakening journey much easier and you will find support there when the ego begins to resist your efforts. Do not fight or resist your ego. Listen to it with compassion like a frightened child and remain firm on your path for a better way to live your life. Whatever you resist or fight against will persist and strengthen. Like the rebellious complaints of a child, you can listen and still say no without fear or anger when you know you are right. You are right and it is essential for you to learn ways to be still through any form of meditation. This is the only way you can find your inner peace and free yourself from all fear-based destructive coping choices.

David Ott, M.Ed.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Christmas Prayer

A Christmas Prayer”

Into the Lowly Manger

Of a Still Mind

And Humble Heart,

May the Awareness of

Your “Radiant Self”

Be Born Again,

To Bless, Heal,

Guide and Direct You

According to

Your Deeper Will.


David Ott