"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path."
These can be the first words you hear at many AA meetings. The irony is thoroughly following their path includes entertaining the concept of something bigger than you, a higher power as you understand it. It is God centered without being religious. The focus of the movement is to not drink, or drug, or engage in the multitude of other things that grab hold of us and keep us wanting more than we should.
Yet, it's centered in God.
To the dismay of some.
The approach that accompanies this program is not intended to make religous fanatics out of people, but rather, to provide a way to their higher self, to what is bigger and beyond them. The only way we experience this is to let go of thinking we know everything. It is gently suggested that something must be bigger or smarter or more powerful than the person who walks in those doors defeated. The concept of a higher power gives us a way to let go of the need to control our lives - just coming through these doors is a fairly strong indicator we're not very good at it anyway.
This is meeting people where they are.
They don't tell you what to believe about a higher power, they simply ask you to consider something greater than you may exist because your need for help right now is apparent. What we don't know at that moment is it's the human condition. We are never in perfect control of our lives at any moment, no matter what our outer lives demonstrate or our feelings tell us. This is an illusion.
They are inviting you to your own personal experience.###
This invitation is accompanied by dignity, trusting that your desire for happiness is stronger than your desire to self-destruct.
The twelve step program of recovery has an agenda, but its a very different agenda than we've become accustomed to in church. Their agenda is your health and happiness. Not to convince you to believe what they believe. They don't want you to come to your own understanding of a higher power to be religious. They are offering you a tool that worked for them. For many, it was the only thing that worked really well.
The idea of a higher power is a peace offering in the form of a tool that helped them change their life for the better - usually after they'd tried every other avenue. They are simply saying this worked for us - and we encourage you to try it, but these are only suggestions.
They are clear about the goal.##
The only desire for membership is a desire to stop _________(fill in the blank). Their shared purpose and goal is a powerful component of this recovery program.
Everyone in the meeting is there to get well. Or, in the case of a visiting DUI recipient, the court hopes they'll find inspiration.
This shared common purpose is grounded in a genuine concern for each other.
Thwy show up broken and hurting, mostly. They are in need.
Their relationships are reciprocal and emotionally honest, for the most part.
They experience their growth and success together, through the process of growth. Growth is the journey, not behavior.
Although the membership requirement is a desire to stop drinking - note that it says 'desire to', not to stop - which suggests behavior, but it is the process itself that breeds success. It is the honest and raw truth of who they are that shows up so authentically that others can't help but respond.
Our heart knows no other way in the face of authenticity.
God is, too often, rolled into a little ball that makes sense and can be controlled by those who need a black and white imagery of God.
But this isn't God...or perhaps it can be for those who need a little ball all rolled up. Yet, it's not God. No matter how you look at God.
God is both expansive and relatable. God is Spirit and God is love. God is all that is, and beyond our understanding.
Grabbing the concept of 'all that is' is not hard. But grabbing this concept, and then integrating it into a personal relationship who cares about all you do is hard.
But, that said, the most important aspect of understanding this perspective is that God is all that. And although he can count every hair on your head, he's likely not doing that. It's a simple mataphor for all knowing. You were right the first time you heard this, he probably has better things to do. It's just in his computer. And he can.
But that doesn't mean he does things like pay attention to each and every struggle or challenge. Instead, God is all awareness. It's much more akin to all knowing, and the full exuding of love, spirit, goodness, standing in it with you kind of stuff.
Think about how language creates division when describing God. Sure, theology is a language all it's own in this regard, and will use scholarly and educated synopsis, interpretation, and theory to explain their perspective. But, seriously, it is still all about language, story, and interpretation.
For some reason, language is constantly dismissed as a given in conflict, while the issues become the means, not the ends.
Sometimes I feel as if I'm on another planet because we're puttin our future, and our children's future, in the hands of how we interpret language.
THIS INCLUDES WORLDVIEW.
Worldview is included in the general category of language, in my perspective. Worldview is an idea that we like, or dislike. It describes a perspective or vision that best fits how we see the world, of life. Now, what differentiates it from reality?
As important as I think vision and language are, they are not the reality. Only the reality is.
When the left and right argue about issues, do they become the means or the end? More often than not, they are the means, not the end. But that's not how it's supposed to be.
The right doesn't want to give money to the poor or unemployed, or raise taxes, or provide benefits to citizens. They want small government, and little dependence on government for social services.
The left wants us to come together as a society to help the poor, and provide benefits for those who cannot help themselves - or choose not to, and prefer a country that allows all people to come in its doors.
Now, who in their right mind, would agree that we want all these things wihtout a limit, cap, or boundary if we want to suatain ourselves as a nation?
There is literally no logic to it, unless we are also willing to surrender our desire for public schools that compete with the rest of the world, don't care if we have highways and byways and city streets without sinkholes, paving, and other normal upkeep. Something has to give if we are willing to take anyone inside our borders, AND give them anything they want in order to live.
There is a limit to what people can receive as a hand out, without doing anything for it, or being of value to society.
A tribe would never allow this unless someone was dying, or disabled, or truly not able to care for oneself. However, families are no longer able to take care of each other because demands have become too hight.
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has not thoroughly followed our path.
What's interesting about this sentence is the word path. Or it can be translated to way.
How can this be compared to living a Christian life, and following the way, being on the path?
Is there a
The secret is in the surrender. The surrender demands trust, and releasing. What this really translate to is lettin ggo of the ego, and moving into another state of consciousness when it concerns our emotions, creativity, and thought processes.
It's about letting go of control completely, while still remaining conscious of choices. The difference is the choices are driven and made through another part of the brain, which doesn't hyper focus on the road right in front of them, so to speak. It isn't micro-managing. It's allowing.
Allowing means it gets thrown into the abyss of who we are. The expansiveness of who we are, and is given permission to work itself out.
Think about how the ecosystem works itself out, and is self-correcting.
Its not dependent on one thing to survive, but balances itself with everything in it's environment. On the other hand, it requires certain conditions to live and sustain itself. So it is with our mind, our bodies, and our ability to sustain ourselves. We allow our reality and decisions to flow into the whole, and work itself out - while remaining conscious of how it is doing so.
It's our responsibility to steer. Towards what is good and right and healthy and light. We must go in the right direction, and be willing to let go of what takes us down the wrong path.
This is what was originally intended to define the word, sin.
Over time it has come to mean something attached to shame and behavior. But that's not what it means.
It means we do stupid things. We do really stupid stuff, and then want to grovel for forgiveness. But, the truth is, there is no way to really release stupid choices and outcomes without taking responsibility for them, understanding we were moving in the wrong direction, and working to correct our path.
It's the only way.
And making amends for our wrongs, which is part of the taking responsibility part.
The question is if people are given a path, at what point does the path become a prison? At what point are we in a box, feeling oppressed or controlled by how people define this path?
Was the point all along to provide a space to work things out in? Was it to give us a way to allow for creative tension and live out our own life lessons, instead of trying to conform to what we are told to do?
It's a little like driving. When we're driving down the road, our driver's ed instructor teaches us to keep our focus on the road ahead...not right in front of the bumper.
This is similar in approach because it gives us a mental picture that extends to our spiritual/soul side, and removes the control we're trying to maintain over our lives by surrendering it to what's bigger, more knowledgable, or beyond us - even if connected to us. Like God is.