The importance of deepening our interior life and some more about AA
It was a good weekend with the AA group. We have different types of groups here that follow different formats, both equally valid for the needs of each group. One group that does the AA program is very much into sharing, staying up late at nigh, talking and having fellowship. It is wonderful having them, and I can see that those who come leave refreshed and ready to continue to live their lives in a’ Higher Power’ centered way. The last time they were here I think they did the 11th step.
This group that was here this weekend was of a different sort. They were more into silence, healthy foods, yoga and seeking to deepen their prayer life. So there was not as much sharing late into the night and much less coffee was consumed…..though enough was of course. Even the snacks were of the healthy variety.
Both groups doing the same thing, dealing with the different needs of those who on the 12th step program on a daily basis….which takes discipline and courage I believe. In both groups I met people who were humble in their self knowledge and loving and accepting of others.
This weekend I had the honor of speaking with a few of them and was amazed at their depth of commitment as well as their love of “their higher power”. I could sense the healing power of their faith and in their deepening trust in the process that they are involved in. They learn to take responsibility for their lives, to owe up to their mistakes and deeply hurtful moral failures towards others, without turning in on themselves in a self destructive manner. They seek to make amends, some traveling great distances over the years to meet and to ask for pardon for what they had done, as well as to make restitution if able to.
They understand paradox. Strength comes from letting go of control. Powerlessness, the concept, leads to allowing grace to work in their lives, which leads to greater freedom. To admit to being powerless is not an invitation to despair in the 12th step program, but a call to greater freedom by embracing reality as it is….in doing that they find the way out of destructive cycles of behavior that will, if left unchecked, eventually lead to death.
Perhaps most of us need to be brought to a point I our lives wherein we learn the importance of deepening our interior life. To seek a connection with the infinite and to allow the relationship to heal our lives by giving the strength to let go of all that keeps us from the deeper streams of living water that live in our souls and are released by the grace of a loving and trusting relationship with the infinite.
Religion can hurt; destroy others if used in a cruel and controlling manner. So often something is needed where the baggage can be let go of so a relationship with the transcendent can be reestablished on a deep, loving and trusting level One day a woman asked me why she can read from other traditions so easily but have trouble with her own. I responded that when we read from others traditions there is often little if any baggage that has to be shifted through. So we can be more open. I believe the 12th steps do that for many people. I do encourage seekers to go back and learn from their own religious past so that they can either re-connect or to understand what they are leaving behind. That way the intimate connection that anger brings can be let go of. Unresolved anger is a heavy burden to carry, and sad to say, religion can be one of those burdens.