Well, perfection is the “ideal.” The only way to get to Carnegie Hall is, Practice, Practice, Practice. Only God is perfect.
In the beginning we see simple slogans, and we hear simple aphorisms. For some, simple suggestions are the bane of our existence. How many times do I offer simplicity to my friends, and they look at me askance … as if to say … Are You kidding me, REALLY !!!
Is it that simple ?
Why YES, it IS that SIMPLE.
People tend to stay away from that which is simple, because human beings need to complicate their lives with complexity, always posing the childish question, WHY?
Because we know what works.
The sooner you get there, the easier your life will get.
A very long time ago, I picked up this book, The Course in Miracles, before I got sober the second time. And it seems I had read portions of the book, because I had used my yellow highlighter all over the place. Last night, I continued my read, and there it was, YELLOW, paragraph after paragraph.
The entire first portion of the book, is an introduction to spiritual principles, and the concept of the Atonement.
For the last decade or more, this book sat on my book-case, untouched. Until I picked it up a few days ago, and began another pass through the text.
The Atonement is the central tenet of most Christian practices.
My Spiritual Mentor Elder Spencer, my Mormon Missionary Best Friend, came into my life, and today, is still in my life. We talk about life, a lot.
We also talk about God too.
I had been reading the Infinite Atonement, which is a LDS text. Too clinical in its approach, trying to explain the minutia of the Atonement, I could not wrap my head around it.
However familiar I HAD BEEN, to the concept at an earlier time in my life.
There was a time, when, along with a handful of friends, were attending a non-denominational church on Miami Beach. I sort of think that I picked up this book, by the behest of those people I was hanging around during that time.
I am not unfamiliar with Spiritual Practice. And even though I was still stuck in the revolving door of alcoholism, there was, for brief periods of that final year of using, moments, or even days, of sobriety, peppered through that year.
The Course in Miracles tells us what is wrong with us …
We’ve disconnected with Love. We’ve disconnected from all that is Good, GOD. We’ve turned to fear, projections, fantasy, and delusion. And we took back our free will, and we’ve littered our brains, and our lives, with things that take us farther away from the Source of All that Is.
And in a few chapters, The Course in Miracles, attempts to begin a reorientation BACK towards God. Back to spiritual truths and practices. In the short few chapters I have back under my belt, the Atonement is the prominent teaching.
In the Mormon Faith, the Atonement is THE principal teaching. The reunification with God and the Son.
When we put into our bodies, Substances … Alcohol, or Drugs, or anything that takes us away from the Center … by creating an escape from reality so that we do not feel or experience reality as it is happening, we become addicted to something that removes us from Heavenly Father, God.
When we walk in the rooms, and we finally admit we are licked, and we settle in for the long haul that getting clean and sober is, we begin the process of Re-Orientation to the Spiritual.
The Fellowship IS a Spiritual Practice. A Way of Life.
For the whole of my sobriety, I’ve watched people come in and fight the process tooth and nail. Many go back out and never return. Few of us with serious time, survived them.
The Big Book gives us concrete description of who we are, what we are, and the problem we face, namely alcoholism. In the beginning we read the Doctors Opinion, then Bill’s story.
That’s where we are in the Big Book work this week.
Getting sober, is a spiritual decision. When we stop drinking, or using, and we sit and stay, and we begin to study the book, we learn all the pitfalls, along the way. We work Steps, We clean house, we get rid of the wreckage of the past, We make restitution where necessary, and finally, we turn around and we help others, do the same.
I heard one of my friends repeat words that I have said before …
When it comes to prayer, we should pray, Often. What does God have to do with it?
IT DOES NOT MATTER WHOM YOU PRAY TO, IT MATTERS THAT YOU PRAY, PERIOD!
I know too many people who don’t believe in God, and fought it all the way to insanity, only to be told, this hallowed advice. Some took it and listened, others did not.
Years ago, in year twelve, a long sober man from New York, here for a Sober Round Up event, introduced me back into Spiritual Practice, in the form of prayer.
Lifting the prayers right out of the Book.
That practice changed my life. I cannot tell you HOW it happened. But I can tell you THAT it happened that way.
When we orient towards the Spiritual, we usually find that instead of insanity and fretting over the unknown, that life tends to become smoother.
One of my friends, on the bus ride home tonight, told me about his barometer.
If he is spiritually centered, on any given day, at any given moment, that if he can sit in silence, and not be disturbed, he knows he is centered.
If he cannot sit within silence, and his mind is full of chatter, he knows, in that moment, he must Stop and Reorient. And Pray …
We cannot tell you how prayer works, or how you should pray, what words you should use, but the book gives us certain prayers, along the way, within Step Work.
The Serenity Prayer is a good start. Short or Long Version.
I have that prayer on a wall hanging above my desk, right at the front door. So I see it all the time, and one way or another, throughout the day, I am reminded to Stop and Pray.
I just know that if you are oriented towards prayer, one way or another, prayer does work. You just have to try it out yourself.
Prayer Works, Your method of Prayer is Optional.
Results are guaranteed …