"Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely."
Alcoholics Anonymous, "How It Works," p. 58.
The first of these challenges, admitting that we were wrong, is explicitly dealt with in Step Ten. When we are wrong, we "promptly admit it." In time, and with practice, admitting we've made a mistake and/or acted wrongly becomes much easier. It is a valuable discipline which leads directly to ego-deflation and self-abnegation (i.e., the "forgetting" of "self").
|Dr. Wayne Dyer|
"There’s nothing (the) ego loves more than to be right," Dyer notes, "which makes it an important and satisfying attachment to practice letting go of."
The second proposition - admitting that "we do not know" - is not as explicitly addressed in the Twelve Steps, however. But it is an integral part of the Step One admission that our lives were, are and will remain unmanageable. After all, if we rather than God were omniscient, omnipotent and all-knowing our lives would not be unmanageable, and we would be just fine, thank you. But that is decidedly not how it is.
In his many talks, A.A. pioneer, and author, Chuck C. ("A New Pair of Glasses"), would point out that he was brought up to believe he must "out-think, out-smart and out-perform" all comers in order to get what is needed out of life. He, like all of us, had fallen victim to the "delusion" that all would be well and we could "wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if (we) only manage well." ('Big Book,' page 61.) It is this delusion, our pride, and the fear of the unknown that grips us when we encounter the unfamiliar that makes it so difficult to admit, even to ourselves, that we are not all-knowing.
If we admit that "we do not know" what to do in a situation, "we do not know" the answer to a question, or, perhaps, "we do not know" some key information we think we really should know, how does that make us feel? How does it affect how others will think of us? Are we not somehow diminished in our own eyes and the eyes of others? Isn't such an admission shattering to one's self-confidence? Do we not need to know in order to manage life?
|Andrew Cohen, Editor-in-chief,|
Our readiness and ability to let go of this "need to know" is, thus, like our ability to admit it when we are wrong, a good indicator of our spiritual growth. The ego has a fierce desire to know everything and be right all of the time. In facing, accepting and admitting to others the truths that "we do not know" and/or that "we were wrong" we take giant strides towards curbing our self-righteousness and moving beyond the "small self" of the ego towards the "Authentic Self" which is the core and essence of our Being.