The Whole Person Blog: Week Four, Day One, Part 1/2 - Powerlessness

Writings inspired by Fr. Richard Rohr, Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps

Video presentation based on the book here

Sunday, January 19th, 2020

Why is AA the most successful recovery program in the world? Well, quite simply because the foundation of the program is humility and a surrendering of the ego: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable. Now, before your egoic mind gets off to thinking its better than someone who suffers from a different addiction than you, let's start by acknowledging the universal addiction is to our own ways of thinking. Thou shalt be right, pretty much sums it up. Until we surrender our need for control, our need to be right, our need to fix ourselves, our need to do it alone, I don't believe we'll get very far. The way up is down!

"Until you bottom out and come to the limits of your own fuel supply, there is no reason for you to switch to a higher octane of fuel. For that is what is happening! Why would you? You will not learn to actively draw upon a Larger Source until your usual resources are depleted and revealed as wanting. In fact, you will not even know there is a Larger Source until your own sources and resources fail you.

It is the imperial ego that has to go, and only powerlessness can do the job correctly. Otherwise, we try to engineer our own transformation by our own rules and by our own power, which is by definition, therefore, not transformation! Letting go is not in anybody's program for happiness, and yet all mature spirituality, in one sense or another, is about letting go and unlearning. As the German mystic-philosopher Meister Eckhart said, the spiritual life has much more to do with subtraction than it does with addition.

Humility tends not to be the foundation of my work with new, MindBodySpirit Coaching clients, and their egocentricity manifests as defensiveness, blaming others for their situation, and minimizing their pain. They would never put it in these words, but for all intents and purposes, they want to know how to "get" somewhere while continuing to live precisely as they are. This doesn't make them bad people; it's just their biology preferring to travel the path of least resistance, and their ego operating in the driver's seat of their lives. What the ego hates more than anything else is change, even when it's current situation is miserable. Biology says it's safer to stay this way and do nothing than it is to try and risk failing and proving what I already believe about myself. The upside of known misery is that it's known!

"You see, Alcohol in Latin is 'spiritus' and you use the same word from the highest religious experience as well as for the most depraving poison." Carl Jung's letter to Bill Wilson



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