Monday, August 10, 2015

Growing Love or Growing Fear

At my last AA meeting I shared about my experience with one of the promises of this effective 12-Step program – namely that I would come to trust the intuitive understanding of how to handle situations that used to baffle me. About the time I had nine or so months of sobriety I had begun to deal with the Fourth Step: “… a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
As I progressed in composing and completing my moral inventory, I began to realize – as most do – that in situations where I had been hurt, angered, or filled with resentments that there were parts of that for which I was responsible. In any situation that upsets me I have contributed something and I have to ferret that out.
This process of doing a moral inventory reminds me a lot of Maritime Law. When two ships collide both captains are held responsible – even if the “split” is 98% to 2%. The maritime rules for avoiding a collision list 8-10 steps, to be done in order, that a captain is to progress through to swerve or alter course to avoid an accident. However, the very last rule states: “If all the above has failed in the avoidance of an impending collision, abandon ALL THESE STEPS and DO WHATEVER YOU NEED TO DO TO AVOID THIS ACCIDENT.” Since, of course, an accident occurred, both captains are held responsible.
Now, when I am resentful or upset, I look for my part in the situation, rather than keeping my focus on how much I’ve been hurt, or angered, or upset. In some way I have contributed to the whole mess I am in. By concentrating on my contribution to the chaos, anger, resentment, or confusion, I am not paying any attention to the other people (and my perceived judgment of what they did or didn’t do or say). By focusing on me I am learning about me. I am learning how to deal with me. I am learning that the problem with my perception of the world is me. Not you. Not the Republicans. Not ISIS/ISIL. Not the housing market. Not the bankers. Me!
When I have done that, more often than not, the situation has melted away. I have not stuck my nose into other’s business because I have been focused on myself. I have not stirred up the hornet’s nest because I was dealing with my own expanding self-knowledge and my growth.
Where, then, did the situation go? What happened? By doing nothing relative to the situation I had perceived, the emotional reactions I had been having (or the emotional involvement I was invested with) simply had gone away.
I began to realize that one of the promises had occurred: “…We will intuitively know how to handle situations, which used to baffle us….” When I don’t know what to do, I generally do nothing about the situation because I’m focused on discovering the source of my emotional reaction. If I feel I’m supposed to do something, I deal with those feelings in me rather than trying to do the something I had thought was required. By the time I have “figured out” what was really going on within me, the situation has melted away.
It seems to be always about my thoughts and/or my emotional investment. Inevitably, I end up by remembering statements in A Course in Miracles (ACIM) that distill the issue: In the final analysis, every thought I think is either contributing to growing Love or it is contributing to growing Fear.
If I am growing Love, I will see Love and I will feel Peace. Why would I want to do anything else?
Why would you?
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.

#2 Aug 2015

Copyright 2015

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