Contempt and Close-mindedness
“I don’t have an intention. I don’t even want to do this man,” was the answer I gave, abrasively, to the hippy-looking jerkoff.
It was also the most honest and sincere answer I had given to anyone in a long time. The question had been posed about what my intention was for a meditation group I had never done before, nor wanted anything to do with.
The answer I gave was, really, a cry for help barbed with sarcasm; my go to defense mechanism.
I questioned the absurdity of someone telling me that meditation, sitting quietly, was going to somehow provide anything remotely useful for a never-ending, cyclical, heroin addiction.
The only reason I was here, anyway, was for fear of the emotional torment I had felt in active addiction.
Continuing to endure that emotional suffering, indefinitely, was finally more terrifying than the idea of death. I wasn’t happy loaded, I wasn’t happy sober, and I just kept unintentionally surviving.
However, I had finally arrived at a place where I was so horrified that I threw my hands up, momentarily; understanding full well that things weren’t going to be alright with the understanding that I had exhausted every possible strategy I had implemented.
I, effectively, finally understood that I was in deep shit and was left with more questions than answers after each failure; knowing full well that it was only a matter of time before it took my life or, worse, I continued to exist as a shell of a human, unable to stop my rampant drug use in fear of the incomprehensible shame and guilt I was left with when I drew a sober breath.
I was finally, fully aware that I was dealing with an obsession that would, inevitably, lead me back to the needle and once there, a compulsion that wouldn’t allow me to stop at will, only when it was finished with me.
See, I had lied to myself for over a decade and after over a decade of failure I had finally been honest enough with myself to conclude that I was, well, “fucked,” in the classic sense and I was not going to be able to deductively reason my way out of this one.
Given years of historical data, I would somehow need to come to terms with the fact that, in regard to addiction, I would have to put my contempt aside for unwavering willingness, regardless of my “certainty” that a suggested action was not going to work.
So, I decided that I’d play along and let this hippy waste my time for an hour, after all, I was in rehab and had, literally, nothing better going on.
First, let me describe the situation I began to frequently find myself in right before making a, knowingly poor, catastrophic decision to seek relief, once again, through intravenous drug use.
I would find myself, after a period of abstinence, in a position, usually prostrate on my bed staring at a television I wasn’t watching contemplating a rationale that left me miserable, bored, discontent, and restless.
After months of external gratification seeking, to fill the void, I would always conclude that there was no number of women, amount of food, exercise, steroids, or money that was going to improve my general morale or the uneasiness I felt internally.
I was always left uncomfortable and unfulfilled.
This was usually followed, in short succession, by a justification for seeking chemical relief and a rationalization that convinced me that this time it would be different; or sometimes it would just be honest and say, “Yeah man, you’re going to fuck your life up for sure.”
Sounds good, I’m in!
Anything to block out that discomfort without having to do any, perhaps uncomfortable, internal work so I could one day be a civilized human being and less of a mental case.
You’ve read some of my stories and we all know how that ends up.
As a result of the most recent one I, once again, found myself in rehab more confused than I’d ever been. The only difference was, a certainty, that this would continue if something didn’t change this time.
If I only knew then what I know now.
At the time I was unable to comprehend anything, besides the primitive nature of addiction itself, being harmful and shit; and I knew enough to know that it would take priority over everything.
All these years of pain and suffering I had never bothered to ask myself, “why,” I did the things I did or thought the way I thought because I had adopted a position of ignorance on the insignificance of, “why.”
Quite simply, I believed the, “why,” of anything was inconsequential to the, “how.”
Never had I ever put any emphasis on the consideration of why I was this way, to attempt an understanding of myself or the causes and conditions because I was certain it wasn’t going to be of any help anyway.
Once again, I had grounded myself into a firm resolve of opinion I regarded as fact and was, therefore, unwilling and, therefore, unable to see it any other way.
Steadily, I was presented empirical data proving that my contempt had done very little, if any, good for me in my life and without even the smallest inclination towards open-mindedness I would have no success.
Even with the knowledge of the position I was in, I was hesitant.
Although my stubbornness was irrational, I didn’t agree but still knew that I would have to give a little if I was to have any chance at success.
A crazy person doesn’t know they’re crazy.
Looking back, the mere idea that I would even consider questioning an alternate line of thinking or suggestion at this point in my life was bewildering, not to me, but to most who knew me.
There was a litany of documentation suggesting that I would have to be downright foolish to entertain alternative suggestions to my philosophies.
Timidly and obstinately I began the trek down a road to the unknown and, at times, contemplated turning around at the slightest inkling of distress or distrust.
It had initially begun as a life preserving assignment ultimately became a lifelong expedition for growth seeking understanding and honest self-appraisal.
These byproducts of which were love, empathy, tolerance, and acceptance when implemented properly.
A live and let live mentality coupled with an exchange; judgement for authenticity. I was about to embark on this journey, I just didn’t know it yet.
It all started with my contempt towards a hippy with an “intent” to prove him wrong.
I laid back on the Yoga mat after carefully ensuring that I understood the instructions, precisely. I didn’t want the hippy making excuses at the end, as if completely certain he really gave a shit anyway.
When the music began I immediately proceeded to begin the breathing process I had just been taught. I remember, about 5 minutes in, thinking it wasn’t working because my mind was racing even more than it normally did, yet I persisted.
Approximately, at the 15-minute mark I recollect that my mind began to slow, as I recalled memories that I had long since forgotten with no decipherable way to interpret their meaning.
That was the last thought I had, consciously, until I was resurrected by the hippy 30-minutes later from a complete state of subconsciousness that left my body twisted up like a pretzel and tears spewing from my eyes like a child.
I was completely speechless…and sold on it! Like the good drug addict I am, the first question I asked prior to requesting the playlist was, “Is it possible to overdo this?” Go figure.
I didn’t know it at the time, but this was going to be my direct line to increased awareness, honest self-reflection devoid of ego, and the beginning of a, hopefully, lifelong journey to spiritual growth.
The true blessing was a momentary change in behavior, a contrary action, a choice to try something counter-intuitive at just the right time to prove that open-mindedness was, perhaps, the seeds to a plant that would grow into a miracle one day.
I now had indisputable evidence that an idea, not originated by myself, could hold validity despite my doubt and contempt; to be completely honest, I have had very few experiences in life where I had put contempt aside, in favor of open-mindedness that didn’t leave me with a perception change.
What started as a simple task, ultimately, began to chip away at the armor of my ego, grounded in fear, that I had worn for so long, falsely believing that it protected me from the world; but it had truly just isolated me emotionally and ultimately, physically, from humanity.
It, effectively, severed any human connection I once had and left me with no foundation to stand on; absent a true identity, the only option left was seeking relief, alternatively, through drug use and self-centered desires.
Where my open-mindedness increased my self-awareness followed, eventually, solving the ancient question, “Who am I?” I realized this was inconsequential and replaced it with a more evolved question, “Who do I want to be?”
Armed with this question and a defined code of conduct I followed to the best of my ability, I made a conscious effort toward continued open-mindedness, or growth. Seeking to further my growth became my primary focus along with an awareness of others and the active utilization of a concept completely foreign to me, empathy.
I began to have a consciousness that no longer revolved around me and my self-centered desires…and I became content with that. Most days. At least half.
Meditation not only served as the greatest lesson I was taught in open-mindedness but also the most precious gift I was ever given; a lifelong tool to combat the restlessness, irritability, and malcontent I suffered from and replaced it with an ideal to strive for, growth.
However, it is my responsibility to use it for its intended application and at times when thoughts of, “good enough,” arise and I consciously, or unconsciously choose to omit it, usually out of laziness or a mistake in prioritizing, I am quickly reminded as my gratitude falls short, and the selfishness, ego and fear arise.
Understanding the source of my suffering, a deficiency in spiritual connection, and a sustainable, effective tool to fix it is the most precious gift I have ever been given.
It’s, truly, the solution to a lifelong problem that I could never, and would never, have solved without help.
The longer and more actively I have endeavored to sustain a constant state of growth, the further my mindfulness has expanded to an absolute confidence that the puzzle of my life fits together seamlessly; as if only a series of trials, triumphant and tragic alike, so perfectly aligned and choreographed could have, ultimately, concluded with the beginnings of a transformation so profound.
A man, once unequivocally deficient of any perceptual aptitude, miraculously developing a new system to cognitively think and understand concepts so foreign to his own and utilizing a newfound open-mindedness.
On good days, I know that the life I have and the people in it are too incredible to conclude it’s just a coincidence.
When meticulously examined from a vantage point of awareness and gratitude, you can see the carefully aligned chain of events that fell in a flawless order, like the precision of the deliberate collapsing of a domino set.
When this comprehension is made, we can begin to love the PRESENT again; living in its richness with the satisfaction of accepting that the past was perfectly designed and has now concluded.
We are here jointly, for this moment, sharing it together.
I implore you to take a moment to appreciate it for what it is, a short-lived and unique distinction, before it passes into the next one, vanishing forever.
This is the essence of absolute freedom, a total gratitude for an awareness to a life that’s lived in the PRESENT moment.
We have the opportunity to experience the abundance of this moment in its entirety and cherish it together, right here and right now. Then it expires, disappearing into our past forever like a vague memory that we had either relished in or let it pass us by; completely unconscious to its value.
As we navigate through life, moment to moment, until we’ve expended them all, finally reaching our final destinations; when you glance behind you, stealing one final gaze at the past, how many moments will you want back?
Reflecting, as you turn back to cross over into your last one, it will surely be either one of lasting content or regret, as the clock finally slows to a stop; your moment of truth, etching your story into eternity.