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A friend in Program says:

As recovering addicts, we tend not to be very good with feelings. In our addiction, we either have too many, or they're of the wrong sort, or we suppress them so effectively that we're not aware of having any feelings at all. Unfortunately, when we enter recovery, our emotional selves aren't restored with anything like the speed of our physical restoration. Some of us can continue for many years without ever really confronting this business of where our feelings come from and how we're supposed to handle them.

One of the reasons that Step 11 recommends meditation is that meditation is a means of actually going and looking for those feelings -- where they live, what provokes them, what they mean. Going and looking for our feelings can be a scary business. This is an area we've deliberately stayed away from for all of our lives. Can any good possibly come from stirring up these dormant or elusive emotions?

Part of the effectiveness of meditation, in fact, is its ability to enable us to see feelings for what they are: simply experiences of the mind, which -- regardless of whether they are good or bad -- have no real power to hurt us because they are merely an invention, something we've made up and then pretended are real. It's this disarming of our feelings -- the insight that they are at root quite powerless -- that permits us to start to explore them in depth. We find that feelings accompany every single act we perform, every perception we have, every thought that passed through our minds, and as we watch this process in meditation we become progressively more able to act and think without being driven by the way we feel. As a friend in Program says, This is where the defects of character start to leave -- when we see that those defects are rooted in feelings which we invent and to which, without the help of meditation, we will probably cling for ever.

"The spiritual life is never one of achievement:
it is always one of letting go."

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