But if we are to let go of our "old ideas" and the attitudes that foster them, if we are truly able to admit the fundamental unmanageability of the whole of life by us and "turn our will and our lives over to the care of God" as we understand (or grasp to understand) God, what will become of us?
To accept that we are powerless to run our own lives goes against all the instincts of the ego and the 'lessons' we've learned in life. We have been taught, in a certain sense, that life is a problem to be figured out, and that we must somehow figure out how to figure it out.
So what is the result of this big, existential and fundamental challenge we face? Usually, unless we can truly "admit complete defeat," as it says in Step One of the "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions," it is a profound reluctance to "Let Go and Let God," and an internal, reluctant dialogue and rationalization that goes much like this:
"Yes, respecting alcohol, I guess I have to be dependent upon A.A., but in all other matters I must still maintain my independence, Nothing is going to turn me into a nonentity. If I keep on turning my life and my will over to the care of Something or Somebody else what will become of me? I'll look like the hole in the doughnut."And this is the point. The hole is the essence of the doughnut. The rest is eaten, but the hole remains. In turning our will and our lives over to the care of a Power greater than ourselves and our egoic, self-centered thinking are we ready to trust (even on an experimental basis) that we can rely on the essence of our being?
("Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions," page 36.)
In the great Taoist treatise, Lao Tzu's "Tao Te Ching," we read:
(Tao Te Ching, XI)In a very real sense we construct our own mental prison that locks us into our alcoholic, self-centered and self-absorbed attitudes. "What will become of me? I'll be like the hole in the doughnut," the ego cries out. It is precisely this thinking that perpetuates alcoholic suffering, active or inactive.
"This," we read, "is the process by which instinct and logic seek to bolster egotism and frustrate spiritual development." To overcome this process, it is necessary to face and face down our instinctive fears of not being able to survive without trying to exert control over our world and the people in it, To overcome this process we need to slow down and quiet our logical processes that tell us we will find a solution that will take care of our illusory problems if we just give it enough thought.
And it is precisely here that the practice of Step Three needs to kick in. Every time we do not know what to do and our emotions are in overdrive we need to recognize, through the practice of self-examination, just what a perilous situation our egoic minds have once more put us into. Then, just as it says in the "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions," we are able to pause, recenter on the essence of our being, and from the quiet and stillnes of that essence, simply say:
There is only one thing we can "change" in an instant, and that is the level of our thinking. To know the fundamental difference between the thoughts of the ego and our inner essence - between the doughnut and the doughnut hole - and to recognize that the function of the quiet void below the raucous 'noise' of the ego is to provide "serenity" and safe haven, is true "wisdom" that is indeed worthy of the Tao.
"Thy will, not mine be done."