Finally! After fourteen years of sitting in meetings in a deaf, but unfortunately not mute, state, I heard the emphasis on seeking and doing God’s will. Striking at my core was a line from the literature that suggested some of us had not prayed rightly. We had prayed “grant me my wishes” instead of ‘Thy will be done.” I had always been a “wishes” kind of a guy and it had left me bitter and disappointed with God.
Still, the admonition to seek and do God’s will had me perplexed. What exactly was God’s will and how was God going to reveal it? I immaturely hoped for the miraculous. Something in the vein of a burning bush or words etched on stone by a Divine finger.
What I learned, over many years, was that guidance I was looking for was, in fact, etched. Not on tablets of stone, but on an internal blueprint for the soul, my inner guide. It was embedded in the DNA of my spirit. I had to stop looking for external manifestations and start looking within. I had to get still.
Stillness? What does that even mean? Should I, as some suggest, sit cross legged and concentrate only on my breath? While I gratefully adhere to meditative practices-though usually in a chair and not cross legged-that‘s not what I mean by stillness. It encompasses far more.
In his book, Living a Course in Miracles, Dr. Jon Mundy likens us to having two radio receivers. One is tuned to station W-EGO and one is tuned to W-GOD.
Taking the analogy a step further, I’d say W-EGO is typically a loudly blaring cacophony of racing thoughts such as fear, remorse, resentments and worries; static interference from active character defects; and the din of unresolved guilt from long overdue amends.
W-GOD, on the other hand, plays softly. It is the music of our spirit. It is easily drowned out by W-EGO.
To achieve stillness, to hear W-GOD, I must do the necessary footwork to mute that 100,000 watt powerhouse W-EGO. For me, that wasn‘t an easy process. And it still takes daily work. Like a solar flare, my ego loves to burst forth, often in dramatic fashion, and overwhelm my mind. Coupled with my proclivity for mania, my head can be a noisy place. It’s only through grace that I have found the spiritual toolkit needed to build a sanctuary of inner stillness where the heart can finally be heard.
For those who have a problem with the word God might I suggest that we not get hung up on semantics? What I am referring to–what I work to tune in to–might just as well be referred to as the inner guide, a still small voice, the voice of the heart, an innate divinity, a conscience. The main point being that the part of use that should be used for guidance is not the constantly babbling egoic mind.
Much has been written and discussed about looking within. Some suggest we can focus on that part of us that watches the mind-our awareness-and find our true self. The call is to be present, stay in the now and seek enlightenment. I have found application for much of this in my own life. But, ravaged by alcoholism and mania, carrying the baggage of a lifetime of unloving interactions with my fellows, burdened with a mind that simply refused to be still, I had to embark on a journey of introspection, confession, character building and amends in order to get to the point where I could start going within.
I liken the process to constructing a sanctuary of inner stillness, or, perhaps more accurately, a campus of classrooms. One does not simply wish for a classroom to manifest. Project phases must be followed, A blueprint must be referred to. Action must be taken.
For me, putting the plug in the jug–or abstinence–was merely a starting point. Years were spent listening to the collective wisdom in the rooms of recovery, studying a variety of literature and then attempting to apply what was learned. Some practices stuck, some seemed ineffective, some worked, were dropped anyways, and then readopted.
This is not the story of 28 Days to Happy, Joyous and Free. Rather is a collection of, and reflection on, a journey over many years that has proved most rewarding yet has been fraught with missteps and false starts. The blueprint laid out in this blog, however, will not be a theoretical treatment of what may work. It is tested, proven and efficacious. It has been followed by millions–not just an enlightened few–and is a design for better living.
While I refer to it in the traditional language of seeking and doing God’s will. It is just as accurate refer to the process as following the dictates of my own conscience. God has not caused any shrubbery to combust to guide my path. The guidance is internal–accessed only when the ego is stifled.
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