Friday, February 12, 2016

Stop, Be Willing, And Listen

From my friend in Alcoholics Anonymous, who writes a weekly communication called “Wisdom of the Rooms” [], who wrote a message entitled: "Directions to recovery: Just go straight to hell and make a U-turn."
“During the final dark months and days of my drinking and using, one by one, I abandoned my self-respect, my self-care, and ultimately the light of my spirit.... In a desperate moment a part of me reached out for help, and I made the u-turn that led me to recovery.
“The miracle that I found in recovery is the miracle that awaits us all - no matter how far down we have fallen, no matter the state of perdition or the depths of hell into which we have descended, we will recover if we are willing to work the steps. And when we do, we will find that the very experience that nearly took our lives enables us, over time, to help and save another. This is the enduring miracle that is available to all who keep coming back.”
The message – in both AA and A Course in Miracles (ACIM) – is  “Do the daily work.” There is no “sin” I’m doing nor “bad” things I’m doing. There is only error and these errors come from my belief in my perceptions and the subsequent actions I erroneously take.
So, how do I change my perceptions? The simple answer – and the blessing – is that I don’t do the changing. In fact, in and of myself, I can’t. Felix (my ego) is incapable of changing how he looks at the world. If he did, he might disappear. That’s the fear Felix has of a change of perception.
What I can do is acknowledge that I am not in a state of peacefulness or calm, or serenity.
Old-timers in AA have taught me that my state of serenity is directly proportional to the state of my spirituality. Early in my recovery my most significant error was that I wanted the result of ten years of sobriety to occur in 10 weeks.  However, by simply doing the daily work, I found my compulsion to drink had disappeared. From feedback after a meeting I found my honest sharing was actually helping someone. I was getting better. I was being healed. I hadn’t done anything other than the “doing” of my daily work as directed by my sponsor and AA’s 12-Step Program. During that process of daily work, my Higher Power was healing me through the acceptance, understanding and love expressed through the members present with me in those church basements.
ACIM says the same thing – stop and just be willing. In Chapter 30 it tells me I can (a) decide I do not like what I feel now. (b) Having decided that I do not like the way I feel, what could be easier than to continue with: ”And so I hope I have been wrong.” And (c) This tiny grain of wisdom will suffice to take you further. You are not coerced, but merely hope to get a thing you want. And you can say in perfect honesty: “I want another way to look at this.” [Excerpted from Chapter 30 (The New Beginning) Section 1 (Rules for Decision)]
In short, I can say to myself: “I don’t want to feel this way anymore today – help me see this differently.” How do I do that? By doing the lessons in the Workbook for Students. I’m far from perfect in working them, but I try. So what I end up doing is telling myself something like this:
"I am <angry, worried, disappointed, etc.> at/because <name, situation> but I am only reacting to a world whose meaning I created from my perceptions of selective memories of my past. I am determined to really see with spiritual vision! I am neither the victim nor the victor. I do not know what anything, including this situation, means, so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me.”
So, instead, I ask – “I really no longer want this; Help me to see another way of looking at this situation." Then I still my mind and listen for the message of the Holy Spirit – my Spirit Guide. This “stilling” of my mind still remains the most difficult thing for me to do. But I try. I am still willing.
For me, then, there are three steps in this process of asking for another way of seeing events or people – in short, the process of Forgiveness:
1.     I forgive the images my perceptions have allowed me to project onto others, and I forgive the people/events in these images;
2.     I forgive myself for making these projections based on my perceptions;
3.     I ask the Holy Spirit to help me see another way of looking at this situation/person – and then I still my mind and listen for the Holy Spirit's whispers.
I must always remember: Step 3 is not my job. It just happens! Just like the removal of my compulsion to drink just happened. Doing it daily.
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 Feb 2016

Copyright 2016

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