Tag Archives: spirituality

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I've been thinking.

Sometimes that gets me into trouble, but sometimes....it is highly productive.

Lately I've been thinking about how life sometimes just kicks us in the ass over and over again.  Those of us who have a strong foundation of the steps under our belt can usually handle such beatings with relative ease.  After all, look at where we have been, and we survived that didn't we?

But have we really handled it?  Have we really moved on?  And what is UP with the repeated beatings anyway?  This is not some sort of "the beatings will continue until morale improves" situation! Or is it?  From a New Thought perspective, the overall trend of our thinking tends to create what happens in our lives.  So....if we have had a lifetime of drama and trauma, even if we have a good foundation in recovery, what is to stop that tendency from continuing to happen?

Turns out there is a lot.  The appendix at the back of the AA text defines a spiritual awakening as a personality change sufficient to bring about recovery.  To me, that suggests that such a personality change is possible.  Inevitable if we do the work.

In New Thought we like to say that we change our thinking to change our lives, and Ernest Holmes puts it like this:  "Man’s experience is the logical outcome of his inner vision; his horizon is limited to the confines of his own consciousness. Wherever this consciousness lacks a true perspective, its outward expression will lack proper harmony. This is why we are taught to be transformed by the renewing of our minds."

And there have, and continue to be, many scientific studies that say that our brain chemistry changes because of all that early trauma and drama, but that there are things we can do to change it.

I don't know about you, but when science and spirituality both say that we can effect deep and lasting change within ourselves to live happier lives, I believe it.  And I believe that such deep and lasting change means we are no longer subject to the regular beatings, because something within us has declared, "I am done with that kind of life."  It reminds me of a tiny little awakening I once had, when I was a kid.  Someone told me that my mother was a strong woman, she could handle this.  "This" being the latest dramatic trauma.  And I remember thinking, "I do not want to grow up to be strong like that.  I don't want to be known as the person who can handle that kind of stuff."  Today, I think we can be strong...and not attract that kind of stuff into our lives, simply by doing the inner work necessary to effect deep and lasting change within us.

Then there is good old fashioned faith.  I was chatting with a person recently who was lamenting that her daughter was a tweaker (addicted to methanthetamine) and she was worried because she thought no one could ever come back from that.  She said she took a lot of comfort when speaking with another person who said, "I was a tweaker, and I came back."  This is faith.  When we haven't had the experience, but others have.  We can draw on their faith.

So, faith, inner work, action, repeat.  This is how we change our lives for the better.

Every faith and spiritual tradition I know of advocates some sort of introspection.

In 12 steps, the inventory process tells us to go within and examine our thoughts and actions and attitudes.  This is not so we can shame and blame ourselves.  It is so we can set things right...make amends by changing those thoughts and actions.

In New Thought, we are told to change our thinking to change our life.  The Law says that all manifestation begins in thoughts and beliefs, so if we wish to change our life, the place to go is within. Again, we need to have an awareness of what is and isn't working in order to change it.

Lately I've been studying a book by the Dalai Lama called "Ethics for a New Millennium."  In it, he says that spirituality is about going within and finding and developing traits such as compassion, tolerance and unconditional love.

I'm also reading a book called "Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential within us All."  That's where I got the quote for the meme.  The authors, David and Tom Kelley, say that unexamined failures limit us.

I love it when I keep getting the same message everywhere I turn!  I believe introspection to be one of the most powerful spiritual practices we can do, and yet, so many people either cannot or will not take advantage of it.

If you don't have a regular introspection practice, why not?


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I wrote my book because I have experienced the power of the 12 steps and I have witnessed too many people deny themselves that power.  And because I want everyone to experience the absolute freedom and happiness that can be experienced in recovery.  Recovery does not have to be a struggle.  In fact, I believe it should NOT be a struggle.  These steps are the way to move from struggle to rest.  From lack and limitation to prosperity.  From fear based lives to love based lives.

These simple tools have the power to turn fear based lives into love based lives full of joy and freedom.  And yet...I know so many people who live unsatisfactory lives because they refuse to employ this power.  They say things like, "I can't get past the religion."  Or, especially in New Thought circles, "I'm not powerlesss."

I think these are self imposed obstacles.  What if...just think about it...what if you thought of the obstacle as simply something that is getting in the way of what you want or need?  Instead of embracing the obstacle and saying, "no, I won't do these steps...they are not for me because....".  You could instead say, "I will give it a try.  It can't hurt."

So...let me just address the two most common arguments I hear.

Let's take the powerless one first.  Working these steps is a process.  You get your power back in the tenth step.  And, I submit that if you are drinking when you don't want to, or eating when you don't want to, or fighting the urge to consume that substance, whatever it is...isn't that a type of powerlessness?  If you are experiencing a life that is unsatisfactory in some way, isn't that a type of powerlessness?  What's so wrong about asking for help?  Especially if that help could facilitate a movement into a life greater than you ever dreamed of?  Especially if asking for help could move you into a state of power?

Declaring powerlessness isn't an obstacle, it is a doorway.

Now...let's take the religion piece.  It is written right into the literature of every 12 step program:  it is spiritual not religious.  And yet, it talks about God.  I know.  I had the same problem when I first entered recovery.  In fact, I crossed the word God out everywhere I encountered it and replaced it with a word of my choice.  I have news:  god isn't religious.  It's just a word.  There are as many words for god as there are for the color blue.  More in fact.  All are valid.  Perhaps you have been wounded by religion.  Many of us have.  This is where the struggle with the words come from, usually.  Wouldn't you like to be healed of that struggle?  This is where New Thought comes in.

New Thought recognizes that there is great wisdom in the ancient writings.  All of them.  Not just the Bible, but also the Torah, the Koran, the Bagavad Gita, the Buddhist writings.  All of them.  Unfortunately, the wisdom is hidden because of the way the people spoke when those things were written, and the way they taught back then.  The 12 step literature is the same.  The founders of AA, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, came from an era when religion was the only way to speak about spirituality, but they were beginning to realize that there were other ways to speak to this profound wisdom.  I have evidence that Bill Wilson and Ernest Holmes, the founder of one of the biggest New Thought organizations in the world, Centers for Spiritual Living, had conversations.  I have found similar or exact phrases in the writings of both of them.  In the original text book of AA, called the big book, written by Bill Wilson (with collaboration) there is a reference to "The Great Reality deep within us."  In a book written by Ernest Holmes called How to Use It, he has the phrase, "the Great Reality within."  This is not the only time I've found examples of this.

So.  If you are living an unsatisfactory life, try this path.  I don't care why the living is so unsatisfactory.  What I care about is that it becomes so much more.  What I care about is that you are empowered to live a life beyond your wildest dreams.