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#324: Your Craving Mind | Kevin Griffin

2021-02-22

This is an episode about our craving, grasping minds. Whether you have struggled with a classic addiction or not, we all have addictive tendencies; we all wrestle with desire. I often think about a provocative question once posed by my friend, Dr. Jud Brewer, a Buddhist practitioner and addiction specialist: Are we all addicted? The implied answer is yes. 

 

My guest today thinks about addiction in a similarly broad and compelling way. He talks about addictions to substances like drugs and alcohol, but also addiction to self and addiction to racism. Kevin Griffin is a longtime Buddhist practitioner and 12 Step participant, and is one of the founders of the Buddhist Recovery Network. He has trained with many of the legendary teachers we have interviewed on this show, including Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. He has written many books, including One Breath at a Time: Buddhism & the Twelve Steps. His latest is Buddhism & the Twelve Steps: Daily Reflections: Thoughts on Dharma and Recovery.

 

This is the first in a two part series we’re doing this week on addiction. During the pandemic, we’ve seen alcohol use go up and drug overdose deaths rise. On Wednesday, we’re going to talk to a woman named Annie Grace, who has come up with what she believes is a powerful alternative to AA. But today, it’s Kevin Griffin. We cover a lot of ground here, including: How he connects the dharma to the 12 Steps, and a Buddhist list called the three refuges. But we start with what he calls the foundational addiction: addiction to the self.

 

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Full Shownotes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/kevin-griffin-324

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
From ABC. This is the percent happier podcast? I'm their Harris hello. This is an episode about our craving grass. Spinning minds whether you have struggled with a classic addiction or not. We all have addictive tendencies. We all wrestle with desire. I often think about a provocative question: I once heard posed by my friend Doktor Jed Brewer, whose a buddhist practitioner and addiction specialist. The question is: are we all addicted? The implied answer, of course, is yes, my guest today, thanks addiction in a similarly broad and compelling way he talks about not only addictions. Two substances such drugs and alcohol, but also addiction to the self and even addiction to racism.
Kevin Griffin is a long time buddhist practitioner and eight twelve step participant he's one of the founders of the Buddhist recovery network. He has trained with many of the legendary yours, we ve interviewed many times on the show, including Jack Cornfield. Joseph Goldstein he's also written many books included one breath at a time, Buddhism and the twelve steps I should say before we diving here that this is the first in a two part series we're doing this week on addiction as you no. During the pandemic we ve seen alcohol use, go up significantly. And drug overdose deaths rise, as well John, when, they went to talk to someone named any grace who has come up with which he believes is a powerful alternative to a especially for those excessive drinkers who don't meet the definition of alcoholism or who don't consider themselves to be alcoholics, but today its Kevin Griffin, and in this conversation we cover a lot of ground. Including how he connects the Dharuma to the twelve steps and we are
talk about a buddhist list called the three refugees, but we start with what he calls the foundational addiction which I mentioned earlier, addiction to the self one other thing before we get to the episode we would really appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to help us out by answering a survey about your experience with this show we take the show really here. We require a lot about our listeners and we are always looking for ways to improve. So please go to ten percent Dotcom Ford, Slash survey, to do us a solid. Thank you aren't here we go with Captain Griffin, ok, calving, Griffith greater meet. You think for doing this Nice to meet you damn so I'd love to hear your overall thoughts on the addictive nature of mind. I know it's a big big opening question but sir,
If I could just get you to hold forth on any little piece of that big topic, I ll start there. Well, when we sit down to meditate This is what we encounter and I think that what so hard for people when they start to Meditate- and we here all the time- and I know you hear this all the time that people say I can't meditate cause I'd- think too much which I will serve take as an insult like I can meditate, because I dont think that much. Are you implying that not if Iphone, but we encounter that. Just stream deluge of thoughts away. We immediately try to work with that. Just keep coming back to the breath and if we watch that process and kind of put it in the framework of the Buddhist teaching
on suffering, which is the suffering is caused by clinging. We start to realize oh, what's happening here, isn't just that, I'm thinking it's that I'm clinging to something, and so then comes this question. What is it that, I'm clinging to am I really clinging to water, I have for lunch or whatever it is that I'm thinking about is the content of the thought. Really the thing that's holding me that I'm trapped in and then, as we go deeper into this, we start to see that it's not that that there's broader deeper implications of what's going on in that process that and point being. Therefore, if I can cut to the end of the story that were clinging to self, because
such the thought. That turns out, as we get deep into this, that the thoughts are, what define us, what kind, eight this idea of a self, and letting go of thoughts is a threat to that the existence of ego so that's the ultimate addiction is the addiction to self. So I think I got in deeper than I was expecting to with your first question. Now is perfect. There's no such thing as too deep I struggle a little bit with understanding the notion of addiction to self can you say more about it because ice? It feels right directly. For me, but I am not quite sure. I've crystal, In my own mind what you mean by well. I'm not sure this is an answer, but
are Gennaro. I dont know if you know him great English, marking the Thai forest tradition, love stir the quota study that showed that people were more afraid of public speaking. They were of physical death and in conclusion, being that people are more afraid of ego. Death other make a fool of yourself in public, then they are of of actually dying and you know from your stuff- yes as well that this is becomes of machine territory somewhat because there Buddhist says that there is nothing we can do to that is self me, after a very careful how we talk about right get people say the Buddhist says, there's no self love the scholar say: that's not accurate and its important distinction rights, but there's nothing. We can point to that self.
However, the way we relate to eye is through thought I think about myself all my thoughts. Two are about me, one of the reasons the charge people stop thinking is that there is a fear and you can feel it when you get to that age, usually the only get to that deeper place on a retreat, but you can, get to this entrance like you're. Looking into a chasm like what is myself. Who am I the perennial spiritual question. The thought then just provide us with stream of commentary. That Just keeps telling me I'm here, I'm here, I'm here ill and ending, stopping. That is just like a dependence like a dependence on a drug because
when you're dependent on a drug or alcohol or any addiction. There's this fear that if you stop you're gonna die, I mean that's kind of the fear. It's not that it doesn't manifest in those clear terms, but that's what the fear is: you're gonna lose yourself if I stopped drinking, who am I gonna? Be an It's very similar in that regard, that there's just this sense that I need this. I need these thoughts. So if I'm here you correctly, it's this addiction to self and what we were commonly think of as self centered, nurse or ego, centralism. You know I'm sorry Also my mother directive, that its senses solidity. It's this contain. You a solid reality in which we live. The fear is that that disintegrates,
When it does it mean that when you get like a bad trip on asset for example, or bad trip on psychedelic sits this idea that all of reality falls apart. If you can't, if you're not getting continual bumps of self Well, this is why I like listening to you, cast your very smart and your captured that much better than I did and me should maybe interview yourself some time you make that distinction really. Well, it's not self centered. And yes, this term. We have ego ego in our sort of psychological language and Friday and language means something different from what it means and Buddhists terms, and so it gets very confusing. But I think you do private, really well, some gonna leave it at that, because I dont need to say anything more about it. But off. Thank you for that, but the interesting thing here and I'm stealing this from somebody. I think I'm stillness from Doktor Mark Epstein, whose probably ceiling for somebody else just noting the provenance
seem to be of, and I'm gonna be a little cute here of two minds about the self because, on the one hand, its tariffs I too have our sense of self DE threatened, on the other hand, were looking for experiences where we are quota. Unquote, away or transcended where this self, where the chatter drops way. We that's why people do rock climbing that of existential risk, candid quiet, the voice in there Had we were blown away by Iraq concert or we get carried away by a movie or a dance, we're doing we look forward in love merging, so it's a complicated addictions. That's right! It sounds like we. Intuitively know that the letting go his freeing bought. We also have like an unconscious.
Fear of it so Maybe just for another of those paradox is that we run into with this practice. It's not a simple, is not a simple answer to that question here. We ve been talking in rather highfalutin terms, but let me just gotta bring it back down to where the rubber hits the road. How can we work with this addiction in our today, meditation this or an Earl want a moment lives well, it's takes vigilance where we practise, I think, there's a price. Says. The Buddhist Eightfold path candid describes this process. That starts with right view. That is why we need just. With some kind of understanding of the problem to realize oh yeah. This really doesn't work like.
Being on this train of thought all the time. It's not that helpful. So I'm gonna set an intention, the second aspect of the phone path to act differently. There's that behaviour elements of the path. Then we get into the meditative once the meditative aspects of aid for path then help us to first see that stream of thought and see how it they impact us. So one of the things try to point out to people in meditation that I kind of wish we had been pointed out to me. Maybe I wasn't paying attention when I was first talk, but that, The experience of meditation actually tracks the four noble truths, though the first novel truth, it's the truth, the suffering. So that's what you experienced, Your meditating in your thoughts are just out of control, and then
it won't, you realize. Oh I'm thinking, I need to come back to breath. You see that the thoughts, are driven by some kind of craving times it is a very specific craving, but sometimes it is this more sort of generic cry. Being too just fill up your head and you see the discomfort of it and that I would come back the breath we see like I Darted out now is relaxed, took a few depressed I settled in Nan five minutes later. Two minutes later, I just really as arms totally spaced out, then I realized my shoulders were tight. My stomach is tight. I see the Duke. I see the suffering when I come back. I see, well, just in that moment theirs. Would have release. That's the third novel truth that when I let go there will be freedom and then,
Fourth, truth is the process by which I got there tat understanding of how that happened in and seeing that that's possible to recreate that so This is what we have to engage in persistently vigilantly, because most just don't become enlightened and then to stop being attached to meditate. We had this experience. We start to see it and and because of the power of conditioning, were constantly falling back catholic falling back into these. If you will addictive patterns, and so we have to keep interrupting them and yet over time they become less powerful, particularly that element of identifying the irrationality the cruelty so we started
bring insanity and self compassion. We start to see. Oh you know I'm just telling myself this story, it's not true right that undermining the belief system. Crediting the belief system that then is really helpful, because then we can have the thought and go. Thanks for sharing and move on, and so there's the developmental process we start having to kind of wearing? manually interrupt everything and Canada just identified. Put it aside, but after a while just so still lose some of its power, so that that to me is the process it just You know it just takes a lot of time and work and persistence, There are some kinds of patterns that we will act We let go of in ways that we can really change.
And then there are some that are just so deeply embedded that They seem to be intractable and so with those we have to really change. Our relationship to them, there has to be, Acceptance of all these are the tendencies that I've got that I live within this lifetime. I mean I'm a depressive, so you know by February, I'm just treading water right now, I'm just trying to get through because it's like, oh it's, the middle winner of I feel like crap and oh yeah there's a pandemic and you know we almost blast our government, a few other unpleasant things and that's external so that stuff- I can't change anyway, so there's that just the way I relate to them. What do I do?
okay, well I'm carrying that thing today. I guess that means I'm going to go. Take a walk. You know I'm going to meditate, I'm going to do something for myself that self care you described it as taking a lot of work and persistence and yeah that all kind of socks, but no the only thing that such work is not doing it because then you're, just Europe, way by the addiction all the time again. As a depressive. You know I started to experience depression even before I started to drink a news when I was fourteen, I may I start to drink unusual sixty inside first get depressed at least one identified as depression. When I was fourteen and what it told me was, there's no point Just lie down just give up, so I dropped
a high school and like just became really passive and waterways, and that's the message that that feeling gives you. So it's such a tricky thing interacting with your feelings. This kind of what am I believing your feelings are telling you ass. You said there earlier childlike while dont bother and then you get. It would be easier to just have another drink or whatever their self destructive behaviour. I'll have another cupcake. I don't want to trigger people, but talk to you about addictions but and yeah. It's work I mean the whole spiritual path I mean I think about this. At the end, my sets in each morning I go through the refugees. Refuge in the Buddha. The dogma the sombre mean that I'm trying to live by the principles,
That I understand from Buddhism and when I do that, I also I recognise that I'm not doing that hundred percent, that that's my ideal, but if I were fully refuge I'd, be wearing orange, robes and soda that also that piece of acceptance. What am I willing to do to change willingness. You not considered a really critical thing in the in the recovery world, part of the that twelve step were on this line. They talk about honesty, open, mindedness and willingness and there's a couple of steps that ask you to check your willingness at so interesting. We can have these ideas with. This is who wanna be. This is how I want my life to be, but then, when confronted with the tasks involved, in doing that like well, but not that
Joseph girls do like the code. I don't know what some saint who says you know Lord make me chased, but not yet. I want to talk about tall, Stepan Addictions, all sorts of worldly addictions, I think this is an area where even I have some things in common, but I just let me just go back to one thing. You said there that just just kind of You put your finger on something I've been wrestling with a little bit in my own mind with that if you were really willing to commit here, You would be wearing roves here and you I had a conversation About this recently we had a guest on recently a monk who is where robes brother for young. Guys born Vietnam, but raised here in the United States and allay and can return to the faith of his ancestors, and although I don't know if you would call a faith, so much is approved.
Ascend now is a monk in that order founded by tick, not Han, and you know we were talking about the fact that the Buddha wasn't delete to my knowledge, saying that you know it or to be a real follow where you need to ordain. He had kings and merchants and all sorts of lay people in his community the saga so Those of us who lay people like you know that those of us who are like Workin, therefore all one Kazan may be saving up to buy a thing or go and vacation do we need to consider ourselves in Sofia. Can we committed I try to be really are With myself, and also not beat myself, for who I am and what I'm willing to do. My view? Is.
Yeah, I'm not fully committed, I'm pretty committed, more committed than most someone asked Joseph once why he never became a monk permanently, because I know he rarely ordained and his answer was not enough merit as that which is too Joseph answered like what, if it's not what you were expecting him to say, right, meaning that his car didn't allow for a year I mean it's true- that the Buddha taught all kind of people and he was very welcoming and even did say that it was. Become possible to become enlightened without being ordained None the less the way I've heard it put. Is it easier to become enlightened fear monastic cause you're in
a full time job. I think that were not fully committed and I think that's ok. You know I mean I teach In secular settings for people who are just gonna learn to do a little bit better mindfulness and that's valuable. I mean I'm part of that old teacher training that cornfield entire Brok or doing very secular and and its valuable and there's debatable are. We watering down the teachings by just offering mindfulness, and I don't think it's of watering down. I think it's just a matter of giving people what they are willing to do. The end to say you have to be all in or what I can give you anything on that point harsh and it's not very compassionate sir try to bring the same attitude to myself of compassion for my own. Pass D. I mean for me the fact that I am puzzled
life I haven't and have the spiritual life I have is somewhat miraculous, given where I started out so well to what we can do. The remarks that I am in economic owes a great example of men. He was like Twitter or something and wandered into Charles Monastery in Thailand, it was like this is perfect. I'd love. This is just the way we live in, oh yeah. I don't wanna have sack sir. Like a money or anything? I just want to meditate with these monks twenty years old. I mean how many of us, twenty, oh yeah. No, I don't want any of that stuff, so it just really say that, maybe It was onto something when he suggested that he didn't have the karmic sort of circumstances. Background you know wasn't meant to be I'll. Tell you what I think is important about refuge, though not so much. Oh, am I in a fully.
A Buddhist or not or whatever. I don't even like to call myself a buddhist I'd rather com, self, an alcoholic than a Buddhist there's less baggage in our culture in today, the night of the election when things were not can great for my team. I really sunk into a funk, and I couldn't even watch tv and watch the news I just I went upstairs and lay on my bed, and I thought. My only refuge is the Buddha, the dogma, the soccer they spiritual principles that I live by all the rest of it is impermanent its suffering. So, as I lay there, I just thought you know what best May I thought what do I have? And America
it's not my refuge, the Democratic Party isn't my refuge. Joe Biden isn't my refuge. You know my refuge is the truth, the dogma. And truth is everything is impermanent, and so if America falls the Dharuma there will still be there. That's the only thing I trust, ultimately a storm That's why I have to keep reminding myself it's one of the reasons why I take refuge each day just reminded us of this, What's really important, I mean I get caught up in how many books gonna, sell and to people love me and my personal obsession is golf. So how what's my handicap right now, but boy, that's Duca in oh, I don't know if you use that word, alot Duca the burden and put ism we translate is suffering, but it's it's a complicated work. That's my
more subtle than that in the eyes that I like about Duca is things And satisfactory, nothing ever is fully satisfactory the gray meal in the World CUP, hours later, your hungry again after perfect sex. The smoke a cigarette like what wasn't enough, not that I, don't do that anymore of a well smuggling? that's anyway, just to again to be real. Here I mean if I could be fully engaged but his path, I think I would be a month, but I think I'm doing pretty. Well, ok, the Buddhist take refuge in the Buddha the teacher the Dharuma teachings and the song of the community of adherence to the aforementioned teachings.
It sounds like this is a way for you to manage the addiction to self, so, yes, Handicap comes up in your mind. Yes, your book sales. Come up in your island and sometimes get carried away because of course, but and sometimes you remember area. Does this really matter? Yes, that's exactly, and it just like coming back to the breath coming back, the breath is in some way is kind of a metaphor for what we do in our broader practice. Coming back to the refuge coming back to the diamond. Coming back to the truth and remembering what really important I mean, I always hear this from people when it's like they get the cancer no sir sir. The some big thing and so that a real, man. What, but what was really em to me. Was my family. It's like yeah, but you were ignoring them twenty years, where you belong
billion air, and now all of a sudden you care about them and to me this practice is very much remembering every day that I have a cancer diagnosis that I'm dying, that's the other flexion, that's the daily reflection on aging, sickness and death and loss than what reminds us that this is how precious says so, would it be corrected say that we can create new and healthy addictions like I, notice of my own practice that were used this earlier of us, I'm just kind of saying what you already said, but that He carried away in some ridiculous thought: Pattern yap like them or what are my book sales or how's the pod cast Billinger, whose getting jobs that I want in the tv industry or blah blah blah just embarrassing stuff and then oh room oh yeah, you feel much better if I just cannot flowed along on whatever.
Sounds or coming up in my mind, because sensations are rising youth, their unpleasant, but I feel much better if I'm just with ever happening right now, is that a new and healthier addiction or is an inappropriate way to view this? Oh, I have my own ideas about what addiction is, I mean to me for it to be a useful term. It needs to be. First to something that harmful either to you or to others or to the world? so to say that were addicted to oil, as I believe George W Bush said, I think, fair, but I'm not say that I'm addicted to meditation in because it just kind of like there. I think it s kind of it misses the point that a different kind of relationship, because
not harmful, I think of healthy habits, not as being addictions. Much more of my conversation with Kevin Griffin coming up red after this and twenty twenty one, it's finally, okay to talk about our mental health. But what is there appear its whatever you wanted to be? Maybe you're feeling and secure in relationships or at work or not? very motivated right now, whatever you need it's time to stop being ashamed of normal human struggles and start feeling better because you deserve to be happy better help is customized online therapy that offers video
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to you by the capital when venture guard with venture you're an unlimited double miles on every purchase every day, and you can use those milestone. Travel expenses like flights, hotels, rental, cars and more just book and pay for your travel. Using your venture card and redeem your miles toward the cost capital one. What's in your wallet, credit approval required capital, one bank, USA, Anais. So, let's dive in A little bit on this sort of classic addictions that most people think of on wheat when the word addiction is uttered youve invoked a few lists. The four noble truths which is sort of the buddhas foundational list. The first speech he gave after use enlightened here unveiled these formidable is the fourth of which is another list, the eightfold path. Would you also talked about and then that you made one brief reference and now I'm going to ask you to go deeper on this to a third list, not from the Buddha, the twelve steps
of your work is focused on merging these lists. As I understand it correctly, if I put a a foot wrong here and in my description of your work? So when you try to bring Buddhism to bear on the twelve steps, what does that look like? How would you describe it? Well like us, have to talk a little bit about my history with them to make sense of that. I started as a buddhist practitioner before I got sober one. Yeah it's over, I didn't Really see how the twelve steps could fit with Buddhism, so I kept them separate in my mouth. And because I really very quickly realized that variety and- and ever I was getting from it, which is not just the twelve steps but the sword that world was repairing my life in a way that nothing
had done that in a way that Buddhism had not done, and I can say that that largely because I didn't approach Buddhism with the whole heartedness that I might have There is a precept and Buddhism that you're not supposed to use and talked gets or others debate about how that written, but eventually five six here's into my sobriety, I kind of was hitting spiritual wall around, the language of the steps around God, particularly and my discomfort with that and I was getting back into- Buddhism more and so I started to really ask is there some way these can go together? And what would that mean? Because I can't feel like I'm living in integrated spiritual life, so I just started to get kind of look at this certain steps, were more obvious, but I would try to going through the steps and the first steps says were powerless
new over alcohol or drugs or whatever yard addiction is but That seems pretty apparent to me that I could connect that with my meditations sit down to meditate like I'm kind of powerless over my mind, and if I sit for a while. I actually discovered powerless over my body to so ok, which doesn't mean, of course, when I SAM it is over apple, doesn't mean I have to drink so from I was over. My thoughts doesn't mean I have to think it just means that I have. Changed my relationship that stuff and so that we saw the starting points than theirs. Step, two is about coming to believe that a power, restoring sanity, well yeah, my meditation practice really serve that function. It that function on a daily basis. In fact, often I sit down, in my mind, is just like war, crazy
not in the literal sense, but seems crazy and meditated China comes down. So I realized a mindfulness itself is a power, so maybe that could be a higher power and as you investigate Dharuma more fully realise that the door, it is full of powers, loving kindness, the key meditation practicing viewpoints of diamond practice, is powerful fact. I remember seeing a billboard. When I was a kid, God is love Ok, well, does that mean that the steps as I turn my well in my life over. Could I say I turned my well in my life over to the care of love. I turned my well in my life over the care of mindfulness, so that started to make sense and in fact it made more sense to me. He didn't turn invades over to God that I didn't really believe in and out
oh yeah right that this whole, warlike, like relationship to my practice, is kind trust, processed and letting go process and acceptance process. That's all of what those opening steps are about that go through the whole inventoried process, step fours, taking a searching wireless moral inventory, you taken it I'm sorry, you share with someone you try to let go of the negative You discover in there you make amends all of that very much in harmony with the armor, because its investigating The inventories this investigation now, when you don't and the steps it since, forgetting the harm you did in the past, but as meditate her in as to getting my mind and the harm that happening in my mind. Right now is a lot of
I'm doing a lot of time and letting go of that so that all made sense for me as well step. Eleven is the one that says you're supposed to meditate, so that was a fit and then step. Twelve says: having had a spiritual awakening as the result of the steps we tried to carry this message and practice principles nor affairs. That's a beautiful step in its talking about awakening. Well, ok, that sounds very familiar and it saying that once you have that awakening what you do with that I d be of service, that's exactly what the Buddha did no the story of his awakening when a sort of questioning whether he should go teaching supposedly a god. The brown around comes and says you know there are some with a little dust in their eyes, so that this is also traditions. Have this element of service, but Buddhist?
and the twelve steps both share that very clearly that once you have a spiritual awakening your job? Isn't then to go. Spiritual retirement or to rest on you spiritual laurels. Your job, then, is to carry that and to be of service to people exactly what you do in your work and its a spontaneous response right. It's not like oh now you're supposed to do this because you had this. It's like now, you have this awakening in like I want to share. This is so beautiful and lasts line and the steps practices principles nor our affairs, if you read the how to put on a suit of the teachings of the one, the four foundations of mindfulness the Buddha says you should be mindful in all your affairs, so I thought I would that's that fits too. So that's my quick tat to the Buddhism and twelve steps. I love it. S really interesting. It actually.
I'll admit didn't know much still don't know much about the twelve steps. Notwithstanding the fact that I have struggled with substance abuse my past, I I just have never I'm involved in twelve sap community you're, one of those people who was all too Gunnar resolve that, through your own spiritual, listen to your own personal growth, and some people can do that. You know inured your phone, In that regard, I mean I remember, reading that in ten years, happier and taken the skies and act like a North Sea working programme, but by clearly- a lot of it, I think, has to do with turn of other developmental aspects like for me I was so under developed as a human being. When I sober that I really needed this whole lengthy rebuild process. I was a high school dropout, not that I went
the to school. At the age of thirty, eight in I had to start my life over think you're a little further along in that regard, so the work you have done been enough to keep you out of that behaviour again. I think that's right, I think from me Also, I my dream. Use career was not very spectacular, We was pretty short, lived, an intermittent, and you know I went to see a psychiatrist after I had a panic attack that was caused by drug use and the psychiatry did not think I needed to go to rehab per se, but he did thing I needed to go, see him and I don't think he was saying that out of the mercenary impulse. I think he just thought you need thereupon once or twice a week for a long time which I did do and I still see their past. The egg is the point
how to make is that in part. I think this is due to the fact that I not with ILO older and well resourced. When my bottom, if you will came the other thing, is that I hadn't been using that long, that much dad He said I dont want to pretend that somehow, like everything's hunky dory at mean, I did very possible for meeting watching a really good tv show where the young people her partying and to feel like. Oh, yes, I would like to do that and not in theory like right, now, try to be quite aware that complacency is not helpful Phil. Well, I guess, part of what I was wanting to say. Is that the time when I thought anybody who's got any kind of addiction problem has to get an twelve that programme I don't see it that way anymore. That's what worked for me, but I see the terror, particularly in the last really probably last,
accurate, maybe a little longer than that more workable approaches to recovery. Because there is no doubt a lot of people really struggle with the language of the twelve steps maybe other aspects of it as well as maybe the community's whatever, but I think it's important for people to realise that the other four ways for different people: everybody's, not the same in the people, started up, Alex Anonymous or similar in many ways and particular besides being white male Protestants they were also oh really hard core drunks, and so In view of what you had to do to recover was driven by that experience and as people come along, who are not hard core drunks or drug attics. They don't necessarily need the same intensity.
Same exact tools for recovery We are, as everybody, Knows in the middle of a pandemic, and many of us are struggling with mental health issues Cutting addiction while we're locked down, dude thoughts about how many patient, Michael nurse. The Dharuma can help in this current context,. I can imagine not having it. I mean. Particularly now in their like that. Just every day, when we wake up freedom, reading people's minds from say every day when people wake up they kind ago go grown little bit their day and just the power of the calming that comes from sitting and I have to sit for a while to get there, like, I often say
down and for ten minutes, fifteen minutes, unlike ah ah just head is just spinning in it, I'm kind of like doing the little dance like if you do a little of this, may be a tool of that most. The time I just give up and disco just sit here, come back when you can, but at some point twenty minutes Thirty minutes in this cooling happens in it such a relief and it's exactly the kind of relief that you want. The people from that first glass of wine after work now I feel back now normal her. Now, I feel like myself, so I mean just meditation? What can I say? You know that it's incredibly powerful and I'm not
really a technique. I am enough one of the things I notice about your shows and I think it makes sense your help. Trying to give people tools- and I know you like to function well- do you have a practice for that and my practice in some ways is devolved over the years into just sit down and wait. I just sit and wait for calm too. From what I ve come to believe. Is that what we think of ass tools of meditation or not. Lay the ones that do the work, even the breath itself or counting, the breaths are coming back to the breaths or any kind of contemplative practice that I've come to believe, and I could be wrong. I'm not putting this, this awareness, but can it by experience, is that what
seems to do. The work is just sitting still with my eyes closed or and are not looking at anything and being quiet for, while and right now, for each of us to be quiet, still for a little while Justin that our continent a minute so hard. When you're alone, or just with a couple of people to turn off the phone and her get away from the distractions and just be still. But I really believe that that's a very powerful thing. I think it's very ancient thing that very ancient common thing to just be quiet and still that meditation arose, I think out of people just being quiet and still and then discovering oh there's the state that arises if I'm quiet and still for a while.
And then they part they kind of came up with things to keep people busy long enough for the actual work. So, ok, do this count. Your browser do this mantra. The magic word. This is the magic practice that will bring you to this state, but it's Really that method. It's really just the two I'm in the stillness quiet I mean you ve been But your retreats, you know, like you, show up like you're doing everything I mean it following the schedule here. In a yard you're, noting every thought that comes up here, you eating every grain of rice, mindfully. Your mind, is still going and going guy a menace certain point for me. It often happens in kind of a moment it just like poof. Ah I am here
Ok, all that work, all that intention. All that effort. I made that's what made this happen or Was it just that you were there for a few days being quiet and still and extending the time to do. I had expiry many times, that's the moment of surrender and then lets. You serve surrender, give up what you ve been chasing so hard comes to you. It's so annoying. It is annoying his very annoying. I wonder, this on this point, let me gently challenge, because I don't know whether official right or wrong about this, but I really don't. I wonder you know this devolution of your practice. You described where asked if I just sit, forget doing thing like coming the brass or having a Montrose or loving kindness or whatever, noting every at the technique. I'm just gonna sit here and at some point the com will come
I wonder if it's a little bit like modern art that you yeah, I could go through a bunch of paint at the wall, but it's not going to look like Jackson Pollock, because I don't know if Jackson Pollock was they trained, but most of the modern artists doing things it looks like my six year old could do I've been classically train and then there they can they're bringing sir, something in a lot of something to the table when they do this. No rules, art and So I wonder if your many many decades of practice allow you to sit jettison the technique and the car. I'll come, whereas the beginner listen to the show actually might really benefit from a formal training. I don't know, but that I wonder what you think, think that's a really legitimate question her behind talk something like to become a jazz physician. You have to practice Your scales learn all the music theory.
Hours and hours years of study and then when you get up on stage, forget everything you learn and just play so yeah I will say the first time I had kind of a break through it felt like a real breakthrough in my practice, was where I was working really hard and noting I was doing the noting practice noting every thought every sensation every sound and it just I feel so stressful and I just got frustrating and his in point I stopped and the I felt, like everything opened up and when I teach meditation now, I try to guide people to that place of just Being aware of the kind of big picture body sound mind,
mood. I often were really try to let people like notice your mood, cassettes affecting your thinking and then to just hold that as an open space, because I I thought, like. My own everything got in the way of the development of my practice. But, as you say, cause and effect chase is really hard to anguish and for sure I had some time under my belt, its inner again it question. I ask myself because. You know how tricky effort is the fun My question of all of all meditation practice is what is right effort and I point out to people and their point this out.
Some people and mentoring as teachers most of the questions you get from someone on questions of effort than people typically asked? How can I stop thinking? How can I fall asleep. How can I not have pain and we can try to give them answers to those questions but we always have to remember, and I get Forced remember this by both Jack Cornfield Joseph Goldstein early in my practice every time I would ask these kind of questions. They would always come back with just be aware of it. And so we know that affording trying to If something happened, trying to stop my thoughts is counter to the process. Of letting your thoughts? Stop, because the trying itself cream
some agitation that striving it the central paradox of practice, need to do something. How does this happen things will happen. If I don't do anything. Which actually is an interesting run, that back nothing is gonna. But if I don't do anything might be good. But how can you convince somebody to just sit there and do nothing concert in the meantime there going crazy. So then you say a well. Why you're doing that, make a mental now pay attention to your breath. But you're, probably right that you have to later a certain amount of effort before you can just not make effort- and I said a whole lot of time spacing out my meditate too. I just gotta if I've fight with that it just
it's like you have to look for the little wedges. You know in he's sitting with it and you're like a camera. Can I try to make myself stop thinking, but then you realize wait. There's an opportunity here in our fight to top ten breaths, though enough, and those are those moments when just enough now I can effort its labour. To hear actually because I've had plenty of meditation sessions where you don T tired or whenever spacing out, and then I be myself up for the spacing out, but that doesn't actually help- so can I sometimes no one strategically went to just gonna sit back a little bit. That's an I wanna play with and a little story of along these lines and right effort. I was on a retreat recently with the teacher name, Alexis Santos and he was telling a story about how, there was one teacher. He knew who would ring the bell,
In the middle of the meditation session, everybody would all of a sudden exhales it's over and he would say out over, but that exhale that that you just now that's the real meditation so keep gone, and I think there's something to the auditors. And the thing to look for or one thing to look for in that striving is to see that its way you're. Trying hard in meditation is it's locked up with desire, you know, you're trying to get to a place instead of just patiently allowing things to be as they are so yea. It is a paradox, so one of the things I suggest a people when begin said. Mister, really, check in like where am I right now, I am I relaxed or my agitated sleepy am depressed,
did. I just have a fight with my boss, whatever just check in because it's like. We think that when we meditate which are stepping into some other world, and I should just be able to do I'm just meditation. Now as soon as I do that, then everything changes now you're bringing all that energy with you and if you recognize alike, relented, difficult space right now, So I dont have to have a lot of expectation about this meditation then I am gonna be easier on myself, because that beating ourselves up about our practice talk about it unproductive thing right I'm gonna sit down and meditated and then I'm gonna think but what a bad meditated for us was. I do what was I thinking like it's kind of like people who, through other golf clubs, causes dude you're playing off what what's your problem. They should be relaxing it's the idea. There's a book about Gulf called a nice
lock, ruined air. There was some. Mark TWAIN supposedly said but supposedly Mark TWAIN, said pretty much everything TAT Emma Yogi Barrett Let me go. Let me ask about one last form of a dick, in that I've, they understand that you ve been thinking talking about a little bit recently, which is an addiction to race. What's on your mind, when you talk about that, what are you talking about? Well, to think about that last summer. In the midst of all the painful Offer enjoyed Freud's murder, her eyes about american history. First of all, as this kind of attempted recovery followed by relapse, starting with it reconstruction being this attempt to let go of our addiction to slavery, which
We were economically addicted slavery in economics is, one of the ways that addiction happens. Certainly there the oil is also economic addiction. So we could say thought we were in recovery and then re relapsed in eighteen, only six went the end of reconstruction and then in the summer- Two era thought we were in recovery again and then you know we relapsed with the southern strategy essentially and then We elected a black president so now were definitely solve that addiction. Problem anymore, but there, of course we had our worst relapse, but the next president, we elected, so that was one kind of strange way of talking about it. But of course, its internally
we're talking about the dust conditioning, the deep conditioning and what it does for us in a white people have been supported, They ve had this sense of power and not to sense of power. They have had power through this relationship, claiming a superiority and to let go of that. First of all to see it is very painful, just like you in addition, particularly for liberal whitefoot, to see, are racist conditioning very painful. So that's like coming out of denial and then letting go of it seeing its persistence. It was easy for me. I was born in the north. You know I knew was southerners or racist in on I've played in bans where I was the only white person, the band, and while that means I couldn't be a racist so that whole story and being attached to
I mean it's almost that's like the flip side of it being a. Of not being a racist racket. Icing The racism by the racist within me is very much like that pain of seeing an addiction and and having to really do work around it, not enough to just see it at tat to do the work is alive, Like two and twelve stop work has there's an inventory process. That's ongoing that exploration, one of the dixons that I see come up on my mind, one of the hardest part of working on my own biases, whether its race or sex or body image, hierarchical biases around see, Your versus junior employees were all sorts of biases that I've wrestle with my own life is the addiction to viewing myself as a good person
and that when my buys user pointed out, you're really threatens my sensitive. Then I I fall into this abyss of being a monster and I think that I'm not alone on this one too. That's good very interesting. Definitely it's really a threat to our self image, and yet being able to say oh I am a racist is not unlike saying I'm an act something that nobody wants to admit. And so there is a real resistance to it, and just like when you ve gotta, be an aim in India. Name's Kevin, I'm an alcoholic its incredibly freeing because, like ah, I dont have to pretend that that's it not there anymore and I dont have to demonize. And for me, what what was really help was reading um stand,
from the beginning April, ten days book on the history of racism and to see how this is like wave, bigger than me and my story about me. This is the best local phenomenon that I'm just a victim of I'm not the suffering in any serious This way- and I don't mean to imply at all true victimhood, but it's just to say that I've been caught up in that everyone else and two demonize myself doesn't help, because it just want a being a nut kind of ego on such a ban. So terrible that I have these risks. That starts like now get over yourself you're just another. Person. Who's been conditioned in this destructive off away and your work is dead.
Let them to get over it and to be an ally and to do everything you can do and that's exciting, Like many liberal white people, I've been immersing myself in this literature the last nine months? trying to really understand and am also in a couple of De I trainings diversity equity. Inclusion and it's really really free. Just like an addiction thanks. We repress are the things that causes the most pain they become, like you said, monsters that they grow far locked, Than they really are once we face them. Aren't we face? Are demons them much less, threatening into Anders than we are I urge them to be higher up. That's a pretty nice place to leave it
before I let you go go. Can I could show you in to plugging your books in your website and tell us that, for people want to learn more about you, how can we in Hell Way, bans on your content on my website is then Griffin DOT net. So if you go, Bill Kevin Griffin, you'll get either me or the Lydia tar player for better than Ezra, even though I am a guitar Clare, I'm not him, and yet my best, book is one breath at a time, Buddhism and the twelve steps, which is also- I did an audible version of that, my newest book, is a daily Reflections Book Buddhism, the trust it daily reflections can my brand. His Buddhism and the twelve steps and I'm doing. As I said, a couple of zoom placidly each week, people can just drop in their own. You get the Lincoln the website- and I have a year- channel were posted a lot of those zoom classes. So I have six books actually
what name them all, but there's one that's about higher power and wondered recovering joy. The that's not on. Recovery is called living, kindness, which is kind of an expert Russian somewhat avert critique of the loving kindness movement trying to bring what I view as more and more what the booty is really talking about that. So a lot of stuff. There that convention Great Wapoota one, links in the show notes for people who want to develop. This has been a pleasure. Appreciate you taking the time to do it. Thank you great. I have been looking forward to it really enjoy talking to your dad's, a lot of fun right back at you, thanks again to cabin really appreciated talking to him. This show is made by Samuel Johnson, Dj Kashmir, Maria were tell and Jan Point with audio engineering by ultraviolet audio as always big, thank you.
And shout out Terrain Kessler and Josh CO hand from ABC News and, as a reminder, we're gonna continue are series on addiction coming up on. This day with the aforementioned Annie grace very interesting stuff. Was you all on Wednesday? There is much talk of the big question he wants to get out. There is no way out from best case studios and ABC Audio list. In plain sight, Ladybird Johnson, a new pact asked about the power of a political partnership somehow it doesn't show up in the many many accounts of Lyndon Johnson presidency, told who ladybird own audio diaries and available now, wherever you listen to podcast.
Transcript generated on 2021-03-10.