One of the greatest gifts I’ve received from living sober one day at a time is learning about spirituality. I don’t think sober people are the only residents in the 4th dimension, I think there is alot of us. It really is no different than practicing the philosophies of different religions or beliefs. I know people who have found spirituality in The Course of Miracles by Marianne Williamson, the teachings of Abraham Hicks, The teachings of The Torah or the teachings of the Quran, The 10 commandments… the list goes on and on. The one thing all of these teachings have in common is some basic principles of life.
I think The 12 Steps are just the same thing but for the really hard-headed , egocentric, self-centered types. It doesn’t ask you to believe in anything specific, just a willingness to belive in a higher power of your own understanding and most importantly that you are not your higher power (or any one elses for that matter!).
The first time I really got a concept of a higher power and was able to utilize it in my life was when I was pregnant with my daughter. I would go to the OBGYN for my regular check ups and see posters on the wall in the exam room. It showed a timeline of fetus development. It read, this week your baby is developing its heart, this week eyes, this week fingernails. Amazing! I really had to consider how marvelous this entire event was. Right inside me was a developing human and I wasn’t doing anything but taking my prenatal vitamins and drinking lots of water. Isn’t that amazing? I have no idea how to make a heart, liver or eyes but it wa happening all in perfect timing and synchronicity.
I had the same wakening when I thought about the four seasons. How does a Dogwood tree know that it’s spring and its time to bloom? Or an Oak tree know it’s Autumn and it’s time to drop its leaves? Who’s handling that? If I looked at two seeds and you asked me which one is a Marigold seed and which one is a Sunflower seed I wouldn’t know. But some how the seed knows. Plant it, water it and it will bloom into the beautiful flower that it is destined to be.
I had to admit to myself that there was an intelligence or a rhythm of life that I actually had nothing to do with. There is a life force that continues regardless if I am thinking about it or not. When I was 13 years old, I heard that John Lennon had been shot. I started thinking a lot about the Beatles and their story of fame. When I learned that thier first big hit “Please, Please Me” came out in 1962 I was shocked. I wasn’t born until 1967. This means that there was life before me! I know that sounds silly, but I guess I thought that the world really didn’t exist until I was in it. Silly huh? It was a humbling thought that life was happening before I was born and would continue after my death. Huh.
Thinking about that, and the life force that is organizing every single thing on the planet without my help, really humbled me. It was then that I realized I was just a small part of a bigger picture. Perhaps this life force, the universe, or as some people refer to it as God, was really the director of the show and I was a mere actor. That I wasn’t the star of the show and all of you just supporting actors. This would mean that life isn’t so hard at all and i was not the center of the Universe. (ouch)
Once I conceded to this line of thinking, things started to change. Life became easier, if I could turn things over to this Intelligence of the universe, aka God, then all I had to do was enjoy the journey. In the 12 step program they say “Turn it Over” or “Let it Go”. In that moment I believed that if I could not stay sober and no human power could keep me sober than perhaps this power could. In fact, since then, I have figured out that this power can do for me what I can not do for myself, in every area of my life.
There is a childs song that goes “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream”. There it is. Row gently DOWN the stream, not frantically fight up-stream. Not force my will and ideas on life and everyone in it and struggle and complain that it’s not the way I want. If I ROW (action word) down the stream (don’t struggle, just do the next indicated right thing) then life would be much easier. It worked. Once I figured out I don’t know everything, that there is a big picture, and I can only see a snippet of it, then I was forced to have some faith. Faith that the intelligence that rules the tides, the moon, the sun, also had a plan for me. Most likely a better plan than I had for myself.
The problem is that I don’t always know what’s best for me or for anyone else. I think I do, but I don’t. Fear sets in. Fear I won’t get what I want or I’ll lose what I have and I start to struggle. I put frantic plans into play and try to manipulate people, places and things to get what I want. Usually it just pisses a lot of people off and I end up wondering what happened. What went wrong.
Spirituality is knowing that the universe (God) has everything all figured out and I need to do is to have some Faith. As I have mentioned before I believe Faith is an action word. I have to take action right where I am at and wherever I happen to be. I belive I am supposed to be helpful, to be of service and try to add to the stream of life instead of taking from it. When I do this amazing things start to happen. I’m not chasing life…life is coming to me.
I’m sure you have had an experience where you needed to speak to someone and suddenly they call, or you’re trying to recall a movie and it’s on TV that night. Some people call it coincidence, I call it being in alignment.
Those moments of alignment or spiritual awareness are fleeting. It’s not a status you can maintain for a long period of time, as your Ego will rear its ugly head and make you think it is you that is making shit happen. Spirituality is a dimension of grace that you enter into when you are in the moment. Rowing gently down the stream. Grateful, content and helpful. Magical things start to happen. The Universe will rise up to meet you, there is not struggle. you know in that moment that whatever the outcome, it is out of your hands. You are powerless over the outcome and life will persist. You will be able to meet calamity with serenity. You will know peace.
You must have faith that this same Universal Intelligence or God is also looking after your family and loved ones as much as it is looking after you. You are not God. You are not in charge and you are not in control. You are a part of a big picture, being organized for the good of all. If you don’t understand this particular scene in the play, remember that you don’t have the entire script. Trust the process. Life is but a dream.