Brian N.

When I pause and get calm I feel a sense of clarity. Even though things around me don’t change, something within me does. This makes all the difference. When I’m at peace I am slow to react and I lash out less.

When I first started to practice pausing and getting calm I used my breathing. For some reason taking a slow deep breath and paying attention to my breath interrupts my attention on the thing that’s disturbing me. As I inhale I get a sense of space beyond the disturbance and as I slowly exhale the emotions fade down so they don’t push my thinking into harsh reactions and negative resentment.

When I pause and get calm I feel a sense of relief and ease. I feel safe. I feel protected. I have time to consider my words and actions. I have a chance to respond instead of reacting.

I started the practice by putting up sticky notes that said ‘pause and get calm’. I put them in places in my environment that I knew I would end up at so that I would come across them as my day progressed. I put one on my phone so when I woke up in the morning I saw it. I put one on the bathroom mirror so when I found myself there brushing my teeth I saw it. One on the refrigerator so in the moment that I went to get food for breakfast I saw it. I put one on my car dashboard so when I left in the morning I saw it.

But it wasn’t just seeing the reminder notes that mattered, it was the action. Each time I saw it I paused, I stopped and got calm by taking a few deep, slow breaths and focused on my breathing. I noticed how it felt. From the very start each time I did it I could feel a sense of ease and peace, although brief, it was developing more and more.

After just several days of practicing this I began to sometimes automatically think of it and do it when things in my day started to disturb me.

Before long most of the time that I become disturbed I noticed I mostly automatically would take a deep breath and my awareness and attention would go to my breathing and I would slowly let it out. It was becoming more and more spontaneous an automatic. And I felt more and more peace and more and more freedom and belief that it was working.

It worked so good that i thought it was the answer and that it would always bring me deep peace. But after a couple of weeks practicing I began to notice it was not removing the disturbances completely anymore. This alarmed me and I thought maybe it wasn’t going to work after all. Of course, that disturbed me and so I paused & got calm and in the stillness realized that it was still taking me beyond the disturbances just enough so that I could recognize that space of inner clarity and calm while also feeling disturbed. It was then that I realized the disturbing emotions weren’t going to disappear completely, but perhaps they were just going to soften enough or I was going to just rise a little bit beyond them enough to get into a clear state of mind that was beyond my emotions.

I began to call this inner place of peace my spirit. And begin to understand it as me awake to my spirit. I was able to recognize my spirit. I begin to identify it as the agent or child of God that the A.A. book suggest we decide to be on page 62.

I would say that the practice of pause and get calm by moving awareness to breathing whenever I was emotionally disturbed or indecisive was the doorway into my spirit and gave me the peace and clarity to recognize and claim my spirit or to awaken to and put a name and a feeling and an experience to what it’s like to be spirit centered rather than be self-centered.

At this point I began pausing and getting calm by focusing on my breathing even when I was already peaceful and clear headed. I noticed that by doing this I could sort of bask in that refreshing safe and protected space over and over again. This began to give me a much greater flow of new power and positive power and positive energy which translated into a feeling of well-being. In general I just began to feel well overall-  no matter what the ups and downs of my personal life or personal disturbances were.

After that every time I pause and get calm by focusing on my breathing I associate it with being in my spirit and being a spirit having a human experience. This simple practice has helped me recognize and claim my spiritual identity beyond myself or apart from my personal life. So I guess what started as a way to alleviate disturbances has turned into a consistent reminder that I am a spiritual being first and I am having a human experience second. This position has allowed me to face my life successfully, removed any problem of drug or alcohol dependency and abuse. I “just know” that I have found a way out of myself that works under any condition.

If this weren’t enough, from here I have been able to approach my life from a whole new perspective. I have been able to use my imagination to describe the good things and connect with new power through the emotions these images bring up. It makes prayer and meditation a simple, practical, effective, understandable and accessible activity.

At any time of the day when I am doing well – or after pausing & getting calm from a disturbance, I can preview alternatives, new options, memories or other great things in my imagination- and then feel the good feelings they bring up. It’s a sort of recharging of energy.

Using my imagination to tap emotional power has shown me an unsuspected inner resource as these positive feelings are created from within me, not from people, places, things or substances.

I find that at any time I can visualize (pray) and behold (meditate upon) my highest ideals or anything I honestly sense is good. Then, after feeling them as if I were experiencing them I can simply pause & get calm to let them go. This puts me in a more hopeful, positive, uplifted and fearless position as I go thru my day.

As this new power flows i just find I am in the present moment more and more and i intuitively know things to do and say. It feels like being unblocked from “The sunlight of the spirit”. Its a position of neutrality, awake as a spirit, safe and protected, free from the bondage of myself. This has removed the problem of alcoholism. It simply just does not exist for me.

I can finally employ ‘my self’ and use it for living well in this world. I can draw on it’s strengths and its unique ideas and aspirations. Knowing life in this way has led me to see that others too are spirits wrapped in selves. I have come to appreciate them more and trust they can live well too.

In short, I live one day at a time, one moment at a time, in the present, spiritually awake, handling unpredictable emotional disturbances or indecision with my breath after pausing. I claimed my identity as a spirit and I employ my imagination and emotion to clear a path for Absolute Good to inspire, motivate and flow into the world through me.  – Brian N.

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