One of the biggest organizations in the New Thought movement is Centers for Spiritual Living. Their publication is the Science of Mind magazine, which has been in continuous publication for almost 90 years. At the front of every issue, they publish the "We Believe" statements written by Ernest Holmes, the founder of Centers for Spiritual Living. The ninth of the eleven statements says, in part, "We believe in control of conditions."
The first step of the 12 Steps says we are powerless. Go to any 12 step meeting, anytime, anywhere, and you will likely hear someone say proudly that they are powerless over people, places and things.
If you are a member of a 12 step organization and a member of a New Thought organization, how on earth can these two seemingly opposing beliefs hang out together?
Personally, I think the first step is spirituality 101. I think it is a doorway into a deeper and more satisfying way of living, not somewhere to park. I think it is for beginners, and I believe it when I read in the AA textbook that we get our power back in the 10th step. I've addressed this here and want to move beyond that for this post.
Getting our power back in the 10th step is not the same as believing in control of conditions. Control of conditions takes it a step further, and I understand how thinking that we have the power to control conditions might be foreign and scary and quite frankly, not possible to most 12 steppers.
Bear with me here, because I think that embracing the empowering message inherent in this bold statement allows for a more satisfactory life.
Both the 12 steps and what we teach at Centers for Spiritual Living emphasize that we work from within out. We change our insides, and the outsides follow. If we are willing, the 12 steps work us as we work them, allowing us to have "a personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism." (from the text book of AA, Appendix II, Spiritual Experience). That personality change then manifests as behavior changes and differing choices, which then results in different conditions in our lives.
At Centers for Spiritual Living, we teach that we change our consciousness (and we have a LOT of tools to do so!): our beliefs and our thoughts, which then change our feelings, which then changes our behavior, which then changes conditions.
Looked at in this way, the concept of control of conditions no longer seems so scary or impossible, at least to me. How about you?
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