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Renato on True Recovery and the Absence of Doing

Kylie Beattie | Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

| Addiction | Health and Wellbeing | Healthy LIving | Mindfulness | Recovery |

Renato brings to his work at Byron Private over thirty years experience and a deep wisdom and grounding presence that stems from his love of transpersonal therapy and Buddhist psychology. He has a direct, dynamic and compassionate approach that is valued greatly by those who cross his path.

Here are his thoughts on the limitations of traditional psychology and how we can move beyond just 'functioning' to touch our true nature.

Q. What informs your work Renato?

While I come from a traditional psychotherapeutic background with gestalt therapy and family therapy, I am focussing more and more on the transpersonal aspects, especially Buddhist Psychology. Working therapeutically for 30 years provides an insight to the limitations of the traditional psychological approaches, they only go to a certain extent, meaning they help people function within our society, but how well is our society really doing? The values of our society are highly questionable, and we see the effects of those values on a daily basis in form of stress, depression, addictions and general alienation.

Q. So while therapy can help us function, it’s to a somewhat unwell society?

That’s right. We have to function to a certain degree within our framework, our society and our culture and that is certainly one focus I have in my work, but if the work stays there it becomes very limiting and therefore problematic. We are so identified with values such as more money, more success, more friends, more likes on Facebook, more, more, more. We are so dependent on that, that we truly think that’s who we are. Here is where the transpersonal aspect comes into play; we are more than our thoughts, our emotions and our mind-based concepts…we are the empty space that contains our emotions, our achievements and beliefs. To pay more attention to that surrounding space and become aware of our true nature, our true home, we can finally find deep peace. And this is quite different from the happiness everybody is seeking which causes so much suffering. Presence and non-identification with past trauma and future assumptions is the key for this healing of our lost souls.

Another transpersonal aspect is the exploration between being and doing. In our society this is completely upside down, we do as much as we can because we do not know how to be. Being is potentially spiritual – doing is mostly ego.

I would say this is the crisis I see in our culture, our contemporary life; we are completely consumed with doing and have lost our connection to being and presence. It is our responsibility to create a base of being, which is rooted in non-doing. Ask yourself, what is happening to you if you don’t do, don’t act while simultaneously not collapsing ….

Here we might touch on a deeper state, the state of limitless being, the base of true creation.

Q. Do you think we can over identify with recovery, with therapy, with self-improvement?

To transcend ego, we have to have an ego first, that is what psychotherapy is about…to create values and success and wellness, among other worldly things, but then there comes a point when we have to go to the next step, otherwise we stay trapped there. Of course with recovery and therapy there is a drive for improvement but it is also embedded in the 12 steps that we have to go to the next step of meditation and spiritual practice. There is a phase in early recovery where people are really identified with recovery, which is psychologically necessary but at a certain point one has to open up that identity otherwise it becomes a limitation.

Q. And more embody recovery rather than do recovery?  

Yes. If recovery is based on being and once this foundation is maintained, from there the necessary doings can hopefully emerge. This may mean getting a new job, maybe starting or changing a relationship, or looking for new friends and interests etc

Q. But it comes from a more intuitive place rather than seeking?

Yes, it does. You mentioned seeking, but I would go even a step further and say we often seek because we can’t accept that we are found already. Seeking can be the avoidance of the fact that we ARE the answer if we really connect to the space of presence and being.

Renato Conroy

Q. So how do you find that balance on a daily basis when to strive, to create, to achieve, to work, to do?

Again, the daily practice of mindfulness and awareness is the key. Self-inquiry is needed, whatever I do, I ask myself who is acting here, on what motivation am I acting? Am I connected to my deeper self, my beingness or does it come from my mind based ego?

Do I react, am I invested in a belief, a concept or a mental identification? If we really can get underneath that, meaning let go of that as much as possible, we come to present moment, the space of beingness and from there the right action emerges. How I deal with my kids, the attitude towards my work and career, how I am with my friends, how important these things really are …it is an intuitive response that grows out of the being state.

It’s in ongoing daily practice, to be aware, what is happening and how am I affected right now. To become aware of my emotions but not to identify with these emotions and react. - I feel angry, I feel sad, I am hurt -yes its ok to feel and express emotions but there is more to it; to be reminded: I am more then my emotions and my thoughts.

Q. And that identification is where addiction dwells?

Yes. Identification, holding on to whatever means suffering, means pain.

As Buddha states as the first of the noble truth: life is suffering …and as we all know addiction starts with pain and ends with pain. But the Buddha also says there is a way out of suffering, let go of clinging, let go of identification.

There is certainly more awareness these days about this all thank god for the New Age – but where there is light there is shadow and there is a danger of the spiritual bypass – but that’s another story.

In general, if people have more guidance towards the transcendental, a daily awareness and practice of presence it will manifest in our culture and politics, in our jobs, our relationships and how we educate our kids.

Let’s be reminded. We come from formlessness, we incarnate into form for a while and then we leave to formlessness again. This is only a little chapter here on this earth; let’s be aware of the bigger picture, our true home...

About Renato Conroy

Renato is group therapist and clinical supervisor at Byron Private. He has worked in world renowned clinics and treatment centres across Europe, Asia and Australia for the past 30 years. Renato holds qualifications in Gestalt Therapy, Systemic and Transpersonal Therapies and has extensive experience and training in group facilitation, team management, supervision and process consultation.

Specialising in Addiction and with a passion for developing highly efficient individualised treatment programs Renato brings his compassionate and dynamic approach to working with residents at Byron Private Treatment Centre to achieve their treatment goals. Renato was a valued member of the team at The Buttery Drug and Alcohol Centre in Byron Bay for over 8 years before joining the team at Byron Private.

About Kylie Beattie

As co founder and Director of Byron Private, Kylie has played a vital role in the vision, establishment and development of Byron Private Treatment Centre. Kylie draws on her experiences and qualifications to ensure the program at Byron Private continues to be not only reputable and professional but most importantly heartfelt.

Kylie holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Counselling) and has completed extensive studies in Family Systemic Constellation work, a cornerstone element of therapy for clients of Byron Private.  Kylie began her own journey in recovery over 18 years ago from disordered eating and addiction and understands first hand the challenges and wonder of recovery.

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