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Monday, October 10, 2011

"We Were Reborn"

"This is the how and why of it. First of all we had to quit playing God. It didn't work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal, we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom."

"When we sincerely took this position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life."

"As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear or today, tomorrow, and the hereafter. We were reborn."

-- Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 62-63 --

Continuing the analogy of "the actor," the basic text observes that as we come to believe that there is "a Power greater than ourselves" that can restore us to sanity, that we can find a new "Director" in life, and that we can, in fact, "be reborn." What, then, are we to make of such promises?

In the Step One essay in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions we read that we have so "warped our minds" with the obsession for drinking that "only an act of Providence can remove it from us." Thus, unless the obsession to drink is lifted, we are doomed to go on drinking. However, we are also told that there is something already provided and established within us - i.e., "Providence" - that can remove the obsession to drink. Our task, then is to tap into this "unsuspected inner resource." To do so is to be "reborn." How, then, is this to be accomplished?

First, it seems, we must acknowledge that there is in each of us (i.e., "deep down within every man woman and child") a spark of the Divine. Although in nearly every instance this Inner Divinity is covered over and obscured by the unrelenting thoughts of the egoic self-consciousness that has firmly rooted itself during our active addiction - and, perhaps, beyond - it is there. Our job, then, is to get past "the calamity, pomp and worship of other things" that obscures our true being. (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 55.) This is the purpose of the first three of A.A.'s Twelve Steps.

Recognizing our own Inner Divinity (literally 're-cognizing,' or becoming 'cognizant of' once again) is to re-establish a conscious contact with "the God of our own understanding." It is to recognize that there are many inner realities, the Primary Reality being that we are part of a Unitive Whole. This is, indeed, Providence, as it is innate within each of us. Learning what separates us from this Providence, however, requires an inner housekeeping. "Trust God, clean house, and help others." we are often reminded. This inner housecleaning (and keeping our "inner house" clean), in turn, is the purpose of Steps Four through Ten - i.e. the second phase of the Twelve Steps.

Finally, if we are to "be reborn," we must learn to live life on a different basis, and within our newly rediscovered higher God-consciousness. To do so, we are warned again and again, we must be free of self. Thus, we devote ourselves to how we can contribute to life and help others, rather than focusing on what we can drag out of life in order to gratify our narrow, self-conscious egos.

It is in endeavouring to live life on this Higher Plane, that we truly express the God-consciousness that Providence has provided each of us with, irrespective of how others act. It is a large and elusive existential challenge, but in the end, it is the challenge of our lives. Before, we unknowingly tried to seek and maintain a higher consciousness by getting high on alcohol and/or drugs. Now, we seek to attain to a natural Higher Consciousness by consciously striving for the Divine in reality. In doing so, we are reborn to our natural lives, and to the highest challenge that any of us can meet.  "We are," indeed, "reborn."

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