an email to my sponsor:
Then at an MA meeting the topic was Step 6, and there’s a line in our book that says something like “the difference between a virtue and a defect is its effectiveness in helping us lead clean, spiritual lives.” It also talked about defects being a crutch. Occurred to me that despair is one of my favorite crutches. I mean, if all is hopeless, then (A) I didn’t make it happen and (B) there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m off the hook! A poor victim, showing off his pain to get sympathy. Except that hopelessness is the opposite of a spiritual life, and is the road that leads to using. If all is lost, might as well get loaded.
So, again, it all comes back to facing fears and listening to the tapes in my head, to see what they really are. My fear of alone-ness is driving me because I have never really sat with it and saw it for what it is, evaluated its power over me, given myself the space to make some other decision.
All of this might be wrong, but it feels a lot better than what I was churning out a few days ago.
My question is, how does one do that — face fears? Sit with them? “Breathe them into your heart” as the dharma talk said.
I think I got a hint of an answer. Today I was at a party for a friend, and there were a lot of attractive women there, so I am sitting there being the charming author/joke-maker/friend, and women are digging it. I’m a fun guy. And up comes the voice: Ask ’em out! It’s the fear saying, “We can control this situation, and we have to, because as it is, it won’t suit our needs.” The opposite of being in the present.
So am I right that hearing that voice but not giving in to it, and also not fighting it, just letting it be, and then enjoying the experience of entertaining a bunch of women just for what it is … that maybe that is something like sitting with the fear? Like not scratching an itch while meditating? Just notice the itch, notice the desire to scratch, and then let them both go?