“The eternal inquiry concerning God is an inquiry into the nature of our own being.“. Ernest Holmes, Living Without Fear
”We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found.” Alcoholics Anonymous textbook
”...enter into the inner secret communion with that great Reality, which is our Universal Self—God...” Ernest Holmes, Science of Mind textbook
When I first entered recovery, I was not religious. I never understood the concept of a God separate from me, which is what most religions teach, at least on the surface. I never cared to explore such things, instead preferring to explore the nature of this substance or that, and how it effected me. When I stopped exploring substances and began to explore the nature of God, I was very frightened.
I was frightened because I did not want to drink, and what the steps seemed to be telling me what that I had to believe in some sort of outside God in order to not drink. It wasn’t the belief in God that was bothering me. I got the concept that it was a God of my understanding. It was the belief in a God separate from me that did not make sense to me.
Today I know that belief in a God separate from me is a sort of Religion 101. It’s beginner religion. I accepted that outside God for a while, which is probably a good thing for a newcomer to do. My mind was still a dangerous neighborhood back then, and not only did I not know how to explore that unknown territory, but I was afraid to do so.
But the steps set me up to do inner exploration that I continue to this day. Back then this exploration was also a bit surface, but it was a beginning. Today, inner exploration means deep communion with God. The Great Reality is indeed deep within me. I will never forget how much fun I had when, in my research, I realized that both Bill W. and Ernest Holmes used the same phrase to describe the same thing in their writings. I do not know who got it from whom, but it is important to me to know that two wise spiritual teachers used the same phrase for the same concept.
Inner exploration is a beautiful way to live. By going within I commune with God as well as discover the nature of my own humanness. Daily I realize new insights, discover new aspects of spirit, and feel the presence of a power that feeds me with faith when I would feel fear, with peace when I would be agitated. This daily practice also is a source of no small amount of humor as the opportunities to laugh at myself are endless. This Inner Presence allows me to know the right things to do, and when to do them.
Today I am so grateful for the 10th and 11th steps. The 10th encourages me to continue that daily practice of inner exploration. The 11th encourages me to continue to explore how God works in my life. Taken together, these two steps provide a strong and unshakeable foundation for successful living.