Sunday, April 8, 2012

My Thinking Has Two Sides: Demonic Insanity or Easter Joy

I used to pride myself on my ability to think and reason. I got myself in a lot of trouble doing just that. I have since learned to get my self out of trouble, too.
When I wrote my book, I had begun by trying to unify – for me – the spiritual experience with my Higher Power that transformed me as I got sober in AA with my formal theological training at Princeton Seminary.
For example, in AA we recited the Serenity Prayer – which I’m sure you’re familiar with: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  What can’t I change? What can I change? I understood pretty quickly that I can’t change people, places, or things. Well, what’s left? What I finally learned was the only thing I could possibly change or control – at least sometimes – was my attitude.
The first time I experienced that was a 2-week span that was really hell for me. I was about 18 months sober at the time. My boss at work, a Pakistani Hindu who believed employees were simply a resource to be used and discarded was driving me nuts. My car, a tri-toned (silver-gray-rust) Toyota station wagon I had nicknamed “The Gray Goose,” was on the fritz. Sometimes it would start and sometimes it wouldn’t. It also seemed it would never start on those mornings when I couldn’t afford to be late. There appeared to be little rhyme or reason for its behavior. The blower motor in my condo’s HVAC unit, like the car, was intermittently erratic. I was having severe issues with the woman I had been dating.
I discovered when I changed my attitude my universe changed! I was able to change my attitude by changing my focus – concentrating on my real mission in life  – to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety. I cannot take credit for this change in attitude. My sponsor kept telling me to keep my eye on the target – my daily usefulness to my program and to THE Program. “First Things First.” My boss got better. Problems got handled: The Gray Goose needed spark plug wires; the condo fan blower simply needed a loose wire tightened. My relationship got better and finally ended on a friendly note. By changing my focus and concentration, I got better, and my universe got better.
It was always a miracle to me when this occurred. It still is! And it is still very difficult to communicate. You can read about my difficulty in Chapter 9, as I try to communicate my spiritual transformation, which A Course in Miracles (ACIM) says is really beyond words.
That same message – in a little bit different language – is what I hear in New Thought congregations (Religious Science or Unity) or read in Buddhist or Kabbalah literature: Thoughts are things. Change my thoughts and my life changes. Learn to understand spiritual laws – they are as real as physical laws – the spiritual Law of Circulation is as real as the physical law of gravity - and, instead of fighting them, use them. The universal Spirit of Love wants me to flow with it, not fight against it.
So, I wanted to integrate these kinds of realities I had experienced with the formal theological training I had received at Princeton. Now, having studied ACIM for over three years, I understand the “bounce-back” effect of the projection of my thoughts (If You Spot It, You Got It; Msg-4-March, 2012).
I comprehend AA’s bumper sticker wisdom that tells me daily: “I am to go to meetings, share, pray, not drink, work the steps and the rest of my life is none of my business.” I comprehend what ACIM teaches me: My ego body-bound thoughts create my interpretations, which color my perceptions of my world. For me to respond, as if it’s real, to my perceived interpretation of an event or person is truly insane. Stop! Forgive my perceptions and myself for projecting them. Ask the Holy Spirit for another way of seeing my situation, because I am never upset for the reason I think I am.
Even though I comprehend these truths, nonetheless, the most difficult thing for me to accept is that, if my “world” isn’t living up to par, I need to change my thinking / my perceptions / my projections. Whatever the situation, I am slowly learning that MY THINKING IS MY PROBLEM.
Damn! Although I now know it is true, it remains really tough for me to swallow.
However, more and more often I do stop, pause and listen for the whispers of the Hoy Spirit.
Every time I learn that lesson – over and over and over and over again – I am experiencing the miracle of Easter. My body-bound image of myself dies a little and my Spirit-Self I call “Little Donnie” rises a bit in my consciousness. The reality that I am not a human body that has a soul/spirit but an already-loved eternal spirit that is having a human experience breaks through again and again. For a brief respite I am calm again. My thinking regains its proper balance.
On a personal note – my journey to sobriety began on April 17, 1987. That was the date of my last drink. It was also Good Friday. My ego-self began to die that day and my spirit-self peeked around the corner of my mind to let me know my Real Self was still there. That was the beginning of my spiritual journey.
It still amazes me. It is still a miracle. I am a miracle. I have begun walking out of my self-created tomb.
Happy Easter, everyone.
Thanks for listening. As always and with my blessing please share this with your friends, family, and other spiritual partners.

#2 April, 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment