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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

From Self-Centered Resentment to a Quiet Humility

The basic problem of the alcoholic addict is "selfishness," or "self-centeredness" - our basic egocentric, self-consciousness - which is the very fabric of the inner narrative, or "painful inner dialogue," which seems to continuously run through our minds.

"Being convinced that self, manifested in various ways, was what had defeated us," we read in the 'Big Book,' "we considered its common manifestations." First of which, we read, is our pent-up anger or "resentments."
[Alcoholics Anonymous, page 64.]

"I must cease trying to forgive those who fretted and wronged me," we read in our meditation for the day. "It is a mistake for me even to think about these injuries. I must aim at overcoming myself in my daily life and then I will find there is nothing in me that remembers injury, because the only thing injured, my selfishness, is gone."
["Twenty-Four Hours a Day," May 3rd.]
 To let go of this inner narrative, to cease even thinking about such powerful old ideas as our long-held resentments, is the key to spiritual awakening and the essence of humility - being who we are in the deeper and higher portion of our consciousness and nature.

"Humility," reads a plaque on Dr. Bob's desk, is "(p)erpetual quietness of heart. It is to have no trouble, It is never to be fretted or vexed, irritable or sore; to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. . . . (I)t  is to have a blessed home in myself where I can go in and shut the door and pray to my Father in secret and be at peace."

True humility, true peace and selflessness - the freedom from "the bondage of self" at the heart of our Third Step prayer - is the essence of a spiritual way of living. It is to be free of the self and egoless. In the most literal sense it is to have true peace of mind, the inner quiet that mystics, saints and contemplatives from  all the world's great religious or wisdom traditions have spoken of.

To seek such peace of mind, to practice "self examination, meditation and prayer" in order to realize one's true inner being is a luxury for ordinary men and women; yet, for the alcoholic addict it is vital necessity. Ultimately, the alcoholic addict must find such peace of mind in order to save his or her life. To do so, he or she must give up even thinking of old resentments. Thankfully, the 12 Steps are specifically set out so that such old, ego-centric thoughts and ways of thinking can be alleviated.

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