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)