I created this meme as part of a project for grad school. I spend a significant portion of time most mornings in a delightful exploration of the inner. Awareness of and communion with self and Self.
And yes, there is indeed a time and a place for inner work, and a time and a place for action. For me, if all my action is based on what came of my inner work, I can trust that my actions were the right thing to do.
In recovery, I first learned about inner work through steps 1-4. It was said to me that steps 1, 2 and 3 were two conclusions and a decision. This implied to me inner stuff, not outer. It also implied to me that I only needed to come to those two conclusions one time, and I only needed to make that decision one time.
As I progressed in my recovery, I began to remember that I had never really believed in a god that was separate from me. I grew up hearing New Thought wisdom, the result of which meant that god was within me, a part of me, working in, as and through me.
As I progressed on my journey through the steps, I was told that steps 10 and 11 were where I would “live” for the rest of my life. They aren’t just maintenance steps, they are growth steps. And I learned that I got my power back in step 10.
As I continued to research and study the literature, I realized that the text book of AA, also known as the Big Book, was written for newcomers. “Substantial sobriety time” was two years. Check out the Foreward to the Second Edition, where it is talking about the first group having been formed in 1935, the second in 1937, at which time “the number of members having substantial sobriety time behind them was sufficient to convince the membership that a new light had entered the dark world of the alcoholic.”
This means that steps 1, 2 and 3 are for newcomers. It was good to realize that I wasn’t doomed to a life of victim hood, being powerless over everything. It was good to realize that the sanity referred to in the seconde step meant sobriety. It was good to realize that I only need to make a decision one time, and that immediate action was necessary to cement that decision. It was good to realize that steps 10 and 11 are for a deeper dive into personal self awareness and communion with god. A way of living that increasingly allows me to feel and know the presence of god in everything I do and feel, and a way of living that not only allows me to know what I am thinking and feeling, but to be ok with all of that, and to change what I am thinking and feeling if it no longer works for me. Can you say “no more unworthiness?”
In New Thought we advocate and teach about inner self awareness. Meditation, journaling, affirmative prayer, looking at belief systems, values and thought patterns are all ways to go within and discover just what makes us tick, and what used to make us tick that no longer serves so well. And likewise, those same practices also allow us to go deeper with that god stuff.
For me, Steps 10 and 11 are where the true power of the program lies, and it is also where the power of New Thought lies as well. I find that I am much more at peace and joyful when I can spend a little bit of time each day in inner exploration and communion.
Buy the book A New Thought Journey through the 12 Steps here.