Saturday, January 23, 2010

The God of my understanding

My addiction will use any emotion I have to take over my life and send me into a world so out of control I can't breathe. If I feel sadness or confusion, my dear addict friend, is always there to offer a solution. The problem is the solutions that the addict offers are sick solutions that perhaps ONCE worked for me, but are now my worst enemy as I try to heal from a lifetime of pain.

My Higher Power is a quiet, still voice -- it is not panicked or judgmental or mean. Anytime I hear a voice like that causes me to feel ashamed or guilty -- I know it is NOT my true Higher Power. Instead, it is my addiction, trying to stir up even more negative emotions, to turn up the heat so to speak, in order to move me closer to chaos and acting out in one of the many manifestations of my disease. (food, sex, love, codependence)

My Higher Power is in the energy that flows between all living things. I can go outside (and often do to pray) and simply feel the gentle softness of the wind on my soft skin and know that is my Higher Power, whom I call God, because it's easier, not because it is the Christian God I grew up with. (How's that for a run-on sentence?) Now sometimes I go outside and the wind is cold and biting and not so gentle, I accept that it is a powerful force of energy that causes this and can still find amazement in the fact that there is this air moving around strongly, changing temperature drastically, without human hand and I can feel God in that. In the meow of a kitten, the tweet of a bird, just by taking note of the sheer genius of a tree -- how it takes roots and has a strong upward foundation that then goes out in thousands of directions, and when it is injured, heals itself and is constantly growing. In all these things I find manifestations of a power greater than myself. In that tree, I find hope that although my life may be currently out on a limb, it is attached to a really strong foundation. In the softness of the meow and the tweet of the bird, I recognize that not all messages are transferred between living beings in the same way they are transferred in my own narrow mind -- that the world is much bigger than I am, and that I am a small part, but that every move I make shifts the energy of the universe just a little and makes me an important part. When I smile and say hello to someone on the street, I pass positive energy from myself to another person who may have just needed that little boost. When I pet my dog, I am transferring my energy to her and helping her to feel loved. When I pray for you, I am shifting my energy into your world in hopes it will make a difference in your day.

So, why do bad things happen? Why are people devastated in Haiti right now? Why did someone commit suicide last night? It is my belief that the universe of energy is a balancing act and that we need perspective in order to grow. Without sadness, how would we know happiness? Without cold, how would we know the comfort of warmth? Without chaos, how would we truly understand calm? Nothing is good or bad, thinking makes it so, William Shakespeare said. I tend to agree. Though admittedly, I do enjoy some things more than others.

I also believe in the line from pg 417 of the AA Big Book that says, "There are no mistakes in God's world." Over my time of healing, I have come to learn that my addiction and my sexual abuse history and even my obesity have at times had an impact on the lives of others. They have all made me a more useful part of the universe and God's bigger plan of acheiving balance and promoting love as the pathway to peace. Let's say there was someone who really was struggling with lack of acceptance of others -- perhaps people who didn't look that great on the outside -- and they met me and found me to be a loving, gentle soul. Wasn't it useful that I was not a beauty queen? Or let's take the beautiful woman from Argentina I met at a retreat once who shared with me that she too had been sexually abused and that as a result she developed bulimia and it almost ruined her life. Didn't she have a message for me?

The God of my understanding is everywhere, and for that I am grateful.

3 comments:

Mary (MPJ) said...

Thank you for sharing. I love hearing people talk about their understanding of their higher power -- and yours is in many ways similar to my own.

I loved this too: "My Higher Power is a quiet, still voice -- it is not panicked or judgmental or mean. Anytime I hear a voice like that causes me to feel ashamed or guilty -- I know it is NOT my true Higher Power." I never thought of it in those terms, but it is so true and an excellent rule of thumb!

Shoshana said...

Thank you for raising some tough issues here:

~So, why do bad things happen? Why are people devastated in Haiti right now? Why did someone commit suicide last night? It is my belief that the universe of energy is a balancing act and that we need perspective in order to grow. Without sadness, how would we know happiness? Without cold, how would we know the comfort of warmth? Without chaos, how would we truly understand calm? Nothing is good or bad, thinking makes it so, William Shakespeare said. I tend to agree. Though admittedly, I do enjoy some things more than others.~

I don't find this satisfactory. Why did those particular people in Haiti suffer? Why should they, in particular, suffer and die so that the rest of us can get perspective and grow? Why should they be the ones to pay while the universe balances itself out?

I love this post because you've raised such great questions--but, personally, I don't think there's a good answer to them.

Anonymous said...

Gosh! The Big Book NEVER uses the express "a god of my understanding". It use Higher Power only two or three times and clearly indicates that the Power is God. The correct express that is used in the Big Book is "God, as I understand Him". Bill did say that he was told that it was okay to have his own concept of God but not to have "a god of his understanding". Big difference and it is not foundin the text of AA, the Big Book!!