Ernest Holmes: “Turning from everything that denies this and quietly contemplating the Perfection of the Inner Man, who is an incarnation of God, we meet the Great Reality in the only place we shall ever discover It, within our own hearts and souls and minds.”
Alcoholics Anonymous textbook: “We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that It may be found.“
In my research I have found more than one example of common language between Ernest Holmes and Bill Wilson. This is evidence that those two chatted, and I have a lot of fun imagining what those talks must have been like!
This concept of going within to find a Higher Power is one of those paradoxes that we frequently find in spiritual teachings. Surrender to find strength they say. Give up to find a solution they say.
This concept of going within to find a Higher Power is also a paradox, and can also be quite scary. I’ve had newcomers tell me that the idea of using something within themselves to get sober simply does not work for them. I get that. When we are first in recovery, our insides are scrambled. Perceptions are skewed, ideas are....to put it bluntly...a bit “out there.” It truly is a dangerous neighborhood inside.
But it does not stay that way forever. I believe that the Big Book was written for beginners. You can find evidence of this throughout the book. The “great reality” statement is in step two of the book, which tells me that it is a good idea to begin to change our beliefs of where God is found sooner rather than later.
I can tell you that it was only when I began to contemplate the idea of a great reality deep within me that I was able to move from a consciousness of victimhood to one of personal empowerment.
In New Thought, we teach that there are 4 levels of consciousness: life happens to me (victim), life happens from me (beginning to sense our own power), life happens through me (I am a channel for God), and life happens as me (I am One with God). In the steps, this process begins in steps 2 and 3, continues through 6 and 7, and is deepened and enriched in steps 10 and 11. We get our power back in step 10, and in step 11 the Big Book encourages us to strengthen our connection with a God of our understanding by exploring other spiritual paths. By the time we get to step 10, going within should no longer be a frightening place to go. We truly do find that Great Reality deep within us.
This means that what happens “out there” no longer has the power to affect us, because we have an inner strength upon which to draw. It is a great way to live.
Explore the deep reality deep within you by joining me on a group camping retreat in Death Valley. March 6-8. Details and registration here.