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Third Step Notes (2)

"(We) made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood (god)."


This sentence should sound familiar to anyone raised in a "Christian" home in the US in the 20th Century.  Words similar to it are taught to every Christian child as a part of her or his religious educationl  It is the supposed prayer of Jesus in Gethsemani  ==  Thy Will be done.  But we find it easy as individuals, and especially as a society, to make our will and God's pretty congruent..  We are mostly taught about God's will by people who have not thought of practicing it.

So when i think about it --when i  think about doing God;s will rather than my own,  It has a jarring effect.  It's like listening to Jiomi Hendricks play the National Anthem.  At best, i hesitate.  At worst, i walk away sorrowing, for  i am very willful.

But this step is more gentle than it appears.  It does not ask me tp give my will ro the Divine  (Though that might come later).  It asks me to  turn my will over to the care of God, which is where it is allready anyway; and my life is there also.  Always has been, always will be.  I am simply endorsing the  inevitable.  I am admitting rhat a fact is a fact.



This step reminds me of Laura S's discussion of AA and Buddhsm.*  The 8 fold path is about release from suffering (dukka).  The 12 steps are about recovery from the effects of alcoholism, which is a form of suffering.  The steps (awareness, acceptance, action) seem different from the "steps" on the path ( wisdom, ethics, mental discipline), but in practice they endorse very much the  same kinds of behavior.  Considering the "twain" (east and west) that shall never meet, they are remarkably simillar

AA (and Al-Anon) are (almost) theistic; while Buddhism is (almost) agnostic.**  The fact is that both are very tolerant of beliefs and disbeliefs.  Neither is a religion,*** though both are treated by some members as though they were.  Neither is organized in the way the way that most enterprizes are organized in the modern world.

If and when i get confused about a "Higher Power" (Honey Pie) i can jump back and forth between Al Anon and Buddhism.  (How do i pray if it seems that the Higher Power has no ears and no will?  I will learn how Buddhists and other "non=believers" pray.)

* Laura S, 12 Steps on Buddha's Path, Wisdom Publications, 2006

**  In AA thr group itself (Gang Of Drunks) may be considered one's Higher Power. (There seems to be a trust that more spkritual concepts will develop later?)  The Buddha made no statements supporting or opposing a belief in a God or gods.  In China, before modernization, a clear distinction was made between the practice of Buddhism as a philosophy (Fo hsueh​) and its practice as a religion (Fo chiao). Fung Yu-lan, A Short History of Chinese Philosophy (1948) Free Press, 1976, p,7.

*** Buddhism and AA both say  they are spiritual paths but not religions.  Feng characterizes religion as containing theology, dogma, ritual, superstition and organization -- none of which are supposed to be characteristic of 12 step programs or the Buddhist learning (Fo hsueh)

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
reginaterrae
Nov. 19th, 2016 12:03 pm (UTC)
Ah, I see ... You must remember that I was not raised in a Christian home, and Al-Anon was my first introduction to God after very small childhood.

But when I think of Thy will be done, and the agony in the garden, and the agony of the cross, I think that God-as-Father knew what Jesus-as-man did not: the resurrection in glory. And that the resurrection was worth the cross, after all, but Jesus-as-man didn't know it would be, at the time. And that if I turn my will over to God's, and accept what is hard or painful or scary in the conviction that it is God's will, then the outcome will be worth the trial. I remember the principle of healing, I think from Al-Anon, as "you cannot get past pain by going over it, under it, or around it, and you can't back away from it, either -- you have to go right through it." It is God's will that we go through the pain, not for the sake of the pain, but for the sake of the healing at the other side of it.
vaporw
Nov. 19th, 2016 01:59 pm (UTC)
Well said. Paths vs religion. Church vs State. All a little fuzzy if not understood.
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