Over 2,500 years ago, a man named Siddhartha Gautama revolutionized the spiritual world with the philosophy he called, “the Middle Way”. This new spiritual approach discarded much of the dated and stale spiritual practices of his time, while preserving revising much of the good pieces. Siddhartha, in his moment of awakening, discovered that all that we cling to, including dogma and ritual, causes our suffering in this life, and he dedicated the rest of his life to helping people liberate themselves from suffering. Upon his awakening, Siddhartha became the Buddha, and his teachings have freed millions of suffering beings ever since.
The Buddha’s crowning philosophy was his realization of the Four Noble Truths:
- That all beings suffer
- Suffering is caused by clinging or attachment to impermanent phenomena
- That the freedom from suffering can be attained through the path of non-attachment
- The dharma of the Eight-fold Path leads to the end of suffering.
Now, over two millennia later over four hundred million people are following this path, and effectively living in a manner that frees themselves, and all living beings, from samsara and suffering. These people are called Buddhists, and Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world. But Buddhism itself is so much more than the term religion. It is a philosophy, a way of life. Buddha himself taught the “middle way” between extreme dogmatic religion, and loosely based spirituality. Buddha’s dharma is a path fraught with balancing and harmonizing one’s own life with compassion and joy, action and non-action, and achieving equanimity in all areas of life along the way. Through cultivation of mindfulness, compassion, love, tolerance, and internal peace, one truly achieves a balance and equanimity that resonates with the true nature of their being, minus all the suffering they have created for themselves during countless lifetimes.
Refuge Recovery: recovery based in mindfulness & meditation
Refuge Recovery, therefore, is the recovery community’s “middle way”. Refuge Recovery is called a “Buddhist inspired path to recovery.” It is called Buddhist inspired because it uses the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, heart practices, and insight meditation techniques that are used by traditional Buddhist communities, but does not require its members to be Buddhist, nor does it teach any of the religious aspects of Buddhism (i.e. reincarnation, bodhisattvas, etc.) Refuge Recovery simply uses the methods of techniques that have freed billions of people from suffering for over two-thousand years. The program of Refuge Recovery suggests that it’s members work with the Four Noble Truths. In this work, they write out inventories of their suffering and the causes of their suffering, the take refuge in the program, community, and their recovered nature, and they practice the actual Eightfold Path that will cease their suffering of addiction. A main key of the Eight-fold path, and the program in general is mindfulness/meditation. Members are encouraged from their very first day to practice meditation, and the program gives very clear-cut, and simple instructions on how to meditate. This is one of the most vital, and rewarding parts of the program; unlike other fellowships, Refuge Recovery actually teaches you how to meditate!
Refuge Recovery & The 12 Steps
I have personally felt the immense rewards of working this particular program in conjuncture with my 12-step program over the past nine months. Through working this program, I am able to sit in quality meditation for at least fifteen minutes a day, and am able to physically see all the subtle ways I suffer in life. I am able to cultivate true and genuine compassion and appreciative joy for all beings, and it truly helps me be of service to as many people as I can. I am able to be present in the moment most times in the day, and not beat myself up with negative self-talk when I fall back into old behavior. Refuge Recovery has truly been the crown jewel of my recovery over the past year, so much so, that I started my own meeting. What started as a group of five grew to over forty in less than a month. People are hungry for awakening, for something fresh and new, for liberation. Refuge Recovery provides this in such a beautifully straight forward way. If you are ready to love deeply again, to be radically present in every moment, to walk in the ancient way of mindfulness and compassion, to truly walk against the stream of your own base nature, I urge you to join us as we take refuge in the path that frees all living beings from the suffering of their addiction.