July 27

Something so Simple

       Yesterday, I alluded to the 7 guiding principles that will help you follow your heart’s desire and ultimately get what you really desire.  I want to begin by saying that these 7 principles are simple.  There is nothing complicated about what you are about to read.  Anyone can get what they truly desire; and this is really good news, isn’t it? 

       But just because it’s simple, doesn’t make it easy!  For some this can be very hard to do.  What makes it so difficult?  I would have to say that for most people it’s a lack of willingness.  But what is so difficult about attaining what you truly desire?

       Simply stated, the problem we all face is attachment; and the solution is detachment.  We all know what attachment is because we all do it.  All the time.  We want, we want, we want.  We obsess over things.  We get angry, frustrated and resentful when they don’t materialize.  It’s an emotional grasping for things we think will provide for us what we so desperately need… we’re just not sure what that is.

       Attachment and addiction to things is a constant theme, a universal condition from which we all suffer… “All have sinned, and fallen short…”  We let what we want come first over our relationships with other people.  Or we allow a relationship with another person to become more important than God.  In fact, we let desire for things and relationships usurp our ultimate desire for a loving relationship with our Source.

        I am an addict, physically and emotionally addicted to things that don’t matter:  Money (or the lack of it), lust, sugar, books, self-help, anger, pride… you get the picture.  We don’t like the word ‘addiction,’ or ‘idolatry.’  But this is what attachment is.  And the heart is taken captive with addictions and idols – attachments – that prevent it from knowing its ultimate desire, the desire for God.  “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

       When I began recovery from addiction, I soon learned what the 12-Step program involved, and how it has helped millions of addicts all over the world.  I learned that it is a spiritual program, but not a religious one. I discovered that there are spiritual principles found within the 12 steps that everyone can understand and benefit from because it is a practical way of letting go of things that don’t matter and discovering what does. 

       Everyone in recovery has a different story; but there are similar themes that unite all of us on a human level.  In a 12 Step meeting I can listen to anyone tell their story about their own struggles with addiction.  Even though their story may differ from mine circumstantially, I still hear parts of my own story being told over and over.

       These common themes have helped to construct a program that is based on some universal principles.  Here is an outline of these 7 guiding principles: 

  1. Powerlessness:  The human condition 
  2. Higher Power:  The divine presence
  3. Surrender:  Letting go and letting God
  4. Purification:  Confession & forgiveness  
  5. Atonement:  Making amends
  6. Vigilance:  Conscious contact 
  7. Reciprocity:  Giving back 

       If you’re a self-help junkie like myself, you’re probably hoping for a quick and easy way to get what you want.  When I first began attending 12-Step meetings, I was looking for a quick and easy fix – much the same attitude as before the meetings.  As I have said earlier, I can assure you that it is simple to do, but it is far from easy.  Sometimes it can happen quickly, but there are those for which it has taken a very long time.

       You’re probably saying to yourself, “This list of principles does not look simple.” 

       Be encouraged:  It is a simple process.  If it was complicated, very few would have any success.  But just because it’s simple, I don’t want you to be lulled into believing that it is easy and effortless because it is not.  And the reason it is difficult is due largely to our attachments – our addictions.  We have taken what is simple and we’ve complicated it beyond belief. 

       If you are brave enough to face it for what it is, and willing to be honest with yourself then you are ready and able to learn how to get what you earnestly desire.    The first principle is the foundation upon which all the others are built.  To skip over it would weaken the structure of this program and sabotage your success.

       Are you ready to learn the first principle?  If so, I will see you tomorrow.