Al Anon

I attended my second Al Anon meeting last night.
You see, sometimes you reach a point where you may find it impossible to just "sit through" your experience and considering that my days of "sitting" are now almost nonexistent, Mindfulness Meditation is the absent tool in my bag. My frustration and anxiety, along with the feeling that "I need my day in court" so to speak, has left my body feeling tight, and my heart experiencing palpitations. Along with a deep feeling of loss and grief, feeling disconnected from my family and soon to be ex-wife.
I felt the need to do something! I felt an overwhelming sense of disconnect. As most seasoned mediators will tell you, feelings of disconnection are uprooted and slowly replaced with an awareness that just the opposite may be true. We are all interconnected, one with the other. I needed to remind myself of that! Disconnect is a projection of mind. Connection is found via the peace of awareness.
Al Anon was recommended to me by my family physician, my acupuncturist and a few other supporters that I give ear to. Within the confines of my blog I began to lay out the events of last week that brought me to the point of making this decision. But I think not. Suffice it to say, I was brought to the full edge of feeling powerless, helpless as a naked baby laid out for the carrion's feeding. And my first response was to grab the sword and plunge forward.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

I went to my first meeting last Friday morning. Held in the basement of the Unitarian Church a small group began to assemble and we began. There was a reciting of the twelve steps of Al Anon, some opening business and then the group began with a topic; a suggested jumping off point through which we opened the floor to anyone who wished to share of their experience. It reminded me of the Quakers, wherein we sat as group, silent and humble, until someone was moved by the spirit to speak. And the process was repeated again last night only at the Congregational Church down the road. The Serenity Prayer shown above, is yet another view on the truth which we behold as self evident as we travel on the path to liberation, enlightenment or spirituality. It is but another finger that points the way. To use once again my favorite Alan Watts quote:

"The common error of ordinary religious practice 
is to mistake the symbol for the reality, 
to look at the finger pointing the way 
and then to suck it for comfort 
rather than follow it."

It is hard for me to envision a life wherein one is dependent on attending several meetings a week in order to find serenity, connection and liberation. In true Buddhist fashion, when you get to the other shore, you leave the canoe behind. You don't carry it with you everywhere you go.  Once transported you leave the it behind. As with the finger pointing the way, one follows where it is pointing and does not suck it for comfort. And I'm afraid that programs such as Al Anon and AA may possess an inherent danger of forever finding dependence on meeting after meeting in lieu of finding transcendence.
Don't misunderstand what I am saying here. And please do not project an arrogance upon me. I know that AA and Al Anon have been instrumental in helping thousands gain healing and independence from the ravaging disease and pain of being under the thumb of alcohol and/or alcoholics. That is a glorious thing. And I am finding my attendance and participation with Al Anon healing. And I am thankful for that.

And I am also thankful that I will know when I have reached the other shore.