Sunday, March 24, 2013
How do I NOT rely on my senses? On my past experience? On my rational skills?
A subscriber wrote me recently and asked: “I like your messages and they make me think. Thank you. My uncle went to AA for only several years. He still doesn’t drink. From your messages I sense you’ve been in AA a long time. After all these years, why do you still need to go to meetings? My uncle didn’t.”
Thank you for another very good question.
Coincidently (although I don’t believe in them anymore), I received a message from a friend in AA who sent me his weekly message about continuing to go to meetings. He concluded his observations by stating: “I've always been in awe of the wisdom that comes from the rooms. Even today, when I think I know it all, I'm amazed by what can come out of a newcomer's mouth. When I'm feeling scared, or discouraged, or disconnected …. I remind myself that if I don't keep going to meetings, I won't keep hearing what God wants me to hear.” [You, too, can receive his messages – simply go tohttp://www.theWisdomoftheRooms.com]
To answer your question – yes – I’ve been in AA for over 25 years and – yes – I still go to meetings. Normally I go once a week. I still find my AA and ACIM meetings the primary sources of my spiritual nourishment and fuel for continued growth. This has been especially true for AA. I only began studying ACIM four years ago.
The key to my spiritual growth is coming to grips with the reality that I cannot rely on my physical senses and my perceived past experiences to define and understand my world. Relying only on my senses, my selective memory, and using my cognitive skills simply hasn’t worked. When I use this approach (and I’ve done it all my life, so it comes quite naturally) I do not end up feeling peaceful, calm, happy, joyous or free. I feel frustrated, angry, irritated, resentful, confused, anxious and fearful.
So - how do I NOT rely on my senses? On my past experience? On my rational skills?
As I came into AA, I was sick and tired of being physically sick and tired. After more than 25 years of sobriety I found myself being sick and tired of being anything but peaceful, calm, happy, joyous or free. I was looking for a better way of living – in terms of my sense of spiritual growth and fulfillment.
Going to AA keeps me from going back to where I used to be. If I go back, it’s all over. Studying A Course in Miracles (ACIM) keeps me on track in terms of learning a new reality that is teaching me who I really am. I am not a body, not what I think, and not what I perceive. I am an already-loved peaceful spirit currently having a human experience. I just need to find that “me,” and live that “me.”
In AA the old-timers would tell me, “Acceptance is the key. First, accept you are addicted. Secondly, accept people as they are. You can’t change them – nor places nor things. If you try, you will lose your serenity and drink again. And remember, acceptance doesn’t mean approval. Just accept (love) them and let them go. That’s the only way you can accept yourself with all your flaws. Once you’ve learned that you can begin to live and love in your serenity, and living your life that way will demonstrate acceptance and love to the rest of the world.”
Similarly, ACIM teaches me that my perception of things is always skewed by my fearful egoistic view of the world. So is everyone else’s. My problems always seem to begin when I try to force my perceptions on another while preventing them from forcing their perceptions on me. [Just watch a staunch Republican “conversing” with a staunch Democrat; or an Israeli with a Palestinian!] The one thing that seems to be universal is that all of us have to/need to BE RIGHT. By relying on our perceptions the only other thing that is universal is that we ALL are always wrong!
I’ve included a link to a video from Flixxy.com. It was filmed on-site by an anonymous source. It shows a group of young girls in black and white tights performing a trippy dance to the popular tune of the German folk-rock polka band Hiss. The video is very cute and creative. When I focus my sight on their legs, my brain (based on my perceived past experience) is telling me those legs do not belong to the correct bodies. If I focus on their heads, my brain tells me their legs are not connected. As I looked at the dancers, my eyes were telling me one thing but my brain would not believe it.
This video is a simple little reminder to me (and you?) of what the Course says about my ego's constant perception of things – it’s not reality, it’s only my perception. Yet I still have the audacity to be confident that I‘m right and justified in arguing with all who disagree.
No wonder I go through most of my life in logjam after logjam after logjam.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#4 March, 2013