The Land that Time Forgot
This article is my own personal experience of Spiritual Pride and the very unattractive arrogance that goes with it. I at least like to believe that I have grown through it and survived. I hope that it will be of some help to those sitting comfortably unaware, on that same hill-top.
This is not necessarily what was said, but it was certainly what I heard: "Don’t read Newspapers or listen to Rock Music, don’t watch movies containing violence. Sport is too aggressive, so immerse yourself only in God and all things spiritual." To say that the AA Group I joined and the people I knocked about with weren't soft, would have been an understatement. These guys wiped the floor with me and hung me out to dry.
Once having had a spiritual awakening, it wasn’t long before I started telling Grandma – who had been religious all her life – that she didn’t quite have it right; and that she just wasn’t on it enough and would benefit from rethinking her last twenty years whilst she still had the time. After all I had found the correct brand of spirituality.
An AA member told me a story the other day. She was with some people who had recently discovered the Big Book. They believed however that they saw the Book differently, in some kind of special way. Because things had been difficult for her of late, she started to believe that she – who had been reading it daily for the last 15 years – was somehow wrong and needed to understand it their way.
It was as if they were saying "If you're not seeing it our way we have an answer for you. We can dot the i's and cross the t's. We can give an intellectualised answer or Big Book quote for everything. We understand the theory, so join our gang, get in line and only then will you be doing well and truly recovered."
There is a certain amount of security that comes from black and white.
Most newcomers need it, I know that I did. What I didn’t need was to analyse every single action to the extent that if I accidently put on a pair of odd socks then I must be off the program. These vagaries of spiritual infancy, though annoying, disappear provided we continued to take the actions contained in the book. After all it’s the principles that are important, not how many defects or columns we use in an inventory and certainly not what we choose to call them.
David B once said to me, “Bless you lad keep away from the spiritual ones.” He then gave me a simple series of actions to follow. My immediate thought was that I was too spiritually developed, this was kids' stuff for Christ’s sake. I started taking the actions anyway.
I found that the more I tried to be of service without thought of reward, the more I gave a kind word and a smile, the more understanding I became of others, the better I felt. I gave up the need to be right, the need to have others do things exactly the same as myself. I became open to the idea that others read the book and practice its principles and can stay sober sometimes through extreme adversity.
I always feel closest to God when I am working with a newcomer, It was once said: “What you do to the least of the bretheren you do unto me.“ I certainly felt like the lowest of the low when I arrived. There is a lot of simplicity in true spirituality and that’s all AA is, a spiritual playground for flawed and imperfect people who are tryng to live sober.
“Those of us who have spent much time in the world of spiritual make-believe have eventually seen the childishness of it. This dream world has been replaced by a great sense of purpose, accompanied by a growing consciousness of the power of God in our lives. We have come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him, but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. That is where our fellow travelers are, and that is where our work must be done.”