Video: GARBAGE BAG BUDDHA: A Birthday Message

It’s my birthday and I’ll make saccharine Buddhist videos if I want to 👌🏻

May contain: My thoughts on the year that passed and what I’ve learned, unsubtle metaphors, Michoacano handicrafts, accepting and letting go, mind-bending earnestness.

Find more Buddhist and Refuge Recovery videos on my YouTube channel, like the Guided Breathing Meditation, and Oral History of the Refuge Recovery Book.
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Refuge Recovery Breathing Meditation (guided meditation video)

This is a 20 minute, guided mindfulness of breathing meditation. By watching our breath, we can cultivate concentration and a sense of peace that will help us get through the hard moments in life. The script for this meditation comes from the Refuge Recovery program.

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Refuge Recovery Lovingkindness Meditation (guided meditation video)

This is a 23 minute, guided “metta” (lovingkindness) meditation. In lovingkindness practice we cultivate a sense of friendliness, compassion and acceptance by mindfully wishing ourselves and others well. The script for this meditation comes from the Refuge Recovery program.

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Achievement Unlocked: Meditated for 365 days in a row!

screenshot of insight timer app showing 365 consecutive days of meditation
Proof from Insight Timer that I’ve kept it up for a full year 🙌🏻

If you like meditation, sobriety or Refuge Recovery, take a minute to celebrate with me: Today I hit 365 days in a row of meditation on Insight Timer! It’s possible 🤘🏻

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Refuge Recovery Forgiveness Meditation (guided meditation video)

This is a 23 minute, guided meditation that encourages you to ask for forgiveness, forgive others and finally to forgive yourself, with a brief introduction. The meditation is derived from the Refuge Recovery tradition with modifications.

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Buddhist “Intention Setting Ceremony” for New Years (and Refuge Recovery)

Several candles laid out ceremonially with meditation bells and a copy of the Refuge Recovery book
A quick photo of the candles from our New Years intention setting ceremony at the Montreal Refuge Recovery meeting.

“Intention setting” is a concept you can find in a variety of Buddhist contexts, either as a daily practice done by an individual, or a communal ceremony performed by a sangha (community) of Buddhists. Often intention setting ceremonies are performed around the new year, as a more wholesome replacement for “New Years resolutions”.

This article describes an intention setting ceremony I synthesized for my Refuge Recovery group that meets each week. I’m sharing it for the sake of any Refuge Recovery groups, other Buddhist meetings, or anyone else who wants to try a ceremony like this!

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Refuge Recovery: An oral history of the book with Gary Sanders

Gary Sanders, one of the original founders of the Refuge Recovery program, sits down with me to discuss how the Refuge Recovery book was written collectively based on the meetings that were already happening in LA.

We discuss the program itself, the early days when the program was being developed by a group at Against the Stream LA, the process of collectively assembling the book and much more!

TL:DR; The book was not written by just one person, it was assembled by a group based on the the group experience of running years worth of Buddhist Recovery meetings. Whether we consider Noah our teacher or not, the RR book is a necessary and invaluable resource for our meetings and our lives.

Read on below to find links to everything mentioned in the video and a full transcription with timecodes!

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Refuge Recovery meme: I was alone before

I love wholesome memes, and couldn’t pass up the chance to extoll the virtues of Buddhist practice and community to finally defeat addiction:

Animated image of dracula, labeled 'addiction" and saying "You couldn't stop me before", followed by an image of three people, labeled "meditation", "me" and "community". The person labeled "me" is saying "I was alone before"
Meme by me, Jer Clarke. Inspired by Refuge Recovery

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Celebrating one year of sobriety with Refuge Recovery

Today marks the one year anniversary of my quitting pot completely and hopefully forever. On November 22 last year I packed up what I had left of it, gave it away, and haven’t looked back once with regret. Since then I also got sober from a bunch of other other things that were dragging me down, like alcohol, video games and porn.

photo of the refuge recovery book being read, with candles in the background.
Me reading the Refuge Recovery book last January. Accepting that addiction is suffering is the first step.

Living a clean life is easier than I thought it would be, and as far as I can tell, completely worth it. If you are currently in a place where you do things you know you shouldn’t, and wish you could stop, please know that it’s possible.

The challenges of doing what’s right are significant, but the suffering of doing what you know is wrong will always be worse.

refuge recovery logo

Maybe I could have made it here without Refuge Recovery and Refuge Recovery Montreal, but at this point it’s impossible to say. RR is an amazing set of Buddhist teachings about awakening from the suffering of addiction, as well as being a fantastic and supportive sangha (community) of fellow renunciants to practice and celebrate with. The RR community has been there both in person and online. If you are looking for help, please investigate their book and meetings. For a Catholicism-addled atheist like me, the RR program was a much-needed reprieve from the theistic approach shared by most of the 12-step programs.

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me over the past year. To my family who is always there and trusting me to do what’s best, my friends who accepted my sobriety without making it weird and especially to the Refuge Recovery sangha who have welcomed and supported me.

Suffering in this life is unavoidable, but all beings have the potential to awaken and experience freedom from it.

May we be safe and well 🧡
May we be free of suffering ❤️
May we be happy and content 💙
May all beings live at ease 💟

image of a buddha statue wearing a rosary
Mexican Buddha prays the rosary too just in case 🙏🏻📿🇲🇽