February 20th, 2012

Twelve Steps Toward Compassion (Clods Anonymous)*

1) I admitted that i was powerless over my indifference -- that my life had become unmanageable,

2) came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to compassion,

3) made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of the Compassionate Power as i understand Him, Her, them, or It,

4) made a searching and fearless inventory of my history of compassion, indifference, and hatred,

5) Admitted to the Compassionate Power, to myself, and at least one other human being the exact nature of my failures to be compassionate.

6) Was entirely ready to remove all these obstacles to compassion.

7) Heartily asked the Compassionate Power to remove my shortcomings,

8) made a list of all persons i have harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9) made direct amends to such people where ever possible except when to do so would injure them or others,

10) continued to take personal inventory and when i was wrong, egoistic, hateful, or indifferent promptly admitted it.

11) sought through prayer and meditation to improve my contact with the Compassionate Power as i understand Him, Her, them, or It, to pray only for compassion and the power to be compassionate, and

12) having had a spiritual awakening as a result of taking these steps, i tried to carry this message to those who suffer from their own lack of compassion or from the lack of compassion from others, and to practice compassion in all my affairs.

*In Twelve Steps Toward a Compassionate Life, the author says that she has modeled her book on the 12 - steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  However the book follows a quite different course which is valuable in itself and in which i find no fault except that it is not really a traditional "12-step program."  I thought it might be interesting to try to construct a 12 Steps of Clods Anonymous which tried to ape the actual 12-steps of AA.

(edit: clod is clearly an inaccurate term with which to label an uncompassionate person.  I wonder what a more descriptive word would be  -- perhaps a more compassionate one also?    Empathically challenged?  too long and too "politically correct."
(reedit: Stone(y)hearts Anonymous comes to mind as having more correspondence to the names of other 12 step programs.  If gambling, sex, and eating are addictions, stoneheartedness is also, even if it is "only" a cultural addiction.  I think that compulsive gambling, satyrism and nymphomania, and overeating are only addictions because of the kind of culture and social structure we live with.  Part of the definition of addiction is the answer to the question of whether it causes difficulties in one's life and the lives of others.  Surely lack of compassion creates many problems for others and leaves the stoneyhearted alone and bitter.