“Many Paths, a Few Steps” will start meeting at St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church in Burien on Thursday, April 28, 6:30 – 7:30pm. It will then meet every Thurs evenings thereafter.
Materials for the study will be the Alcoholics Anonymous book and “The Little Book” (see previous post about books used at Many Paths meetings).
St. Elizabeth’s : 1005 SW 152nd St, Seattle, WA 98166
Many Paths will meet in the Library, 2nd floor. Entrance off
10th Ave SW at SW 152nd ST in downtown Burien.
These steps are already “personal”. Some of us stall here, delaying because of the personal work — actions — needed. We may want to “think” our way through these steps rather than actually do the work. But these steps are “walked” or worked to ease the guilt we may feel for past actions. Our feelings after completing these steps may be all over the map, from relief to elation, from nothing at all to disappointment. Disappointment? Yes, we might have anticipated some great lifting of a burden, and anything less could be a letdown. The long-term benefit comes naturally, and this gives us the practice to do this naturally & easily in later steps.
These steps are considered to be “cleaning our side of the street”. This is an apt description because the cleansing is for our benefit. The “other side of the street” is none of our business, and we can have no expectations of what happens as we do these steps.
Rather than go into detail personalizing steps 8 & 9, I refer you to a good summary from Alternative Twelve Steps: A Secular Guide to Recovery. The chapter on Steps 8 & 9 is conveniently online at the AA Agnostica site: http://aaagnostica.org/2014/09/24/steps-8-and-9/.
The phrase “spirtual, not religious” has been with AA since its beginning. Do we know what it means? Aren’t they related or similar?
We sense there is a difference, but what is it? Bill Wilson knew and wrote that the Big Book was a beginning, yet more would be revealed. The first 164 pages of Alcoholics Anonymous were not the final word; he feared that we would never consider the “more revealed” over the years. He knew previous attempts at sobriety movements failed because they weren’t flexible. He wanted AA to be adaptable to the times, changing over generations. He wanted the “spirit” of AA to take precedence over the “letter” of words published in 1939.
“Spiritual” is a hard word for many of us to understand. It seems abstract, or vague, or squishy when we try to give examples. Rather than getting into all the uses and meanings of spiritual, let’s focus on how religious vs spiritual can differ.
The following comes from the-open-mind.com. I don’t expect us all to agree on these differences, but they are worth considering.
Deepak Chopra said that “religion is belief in someone else’s experience, spirituality is having your own experience”.
Religion asks you to bow – Spirituality sets you free
Religion shows you fear – Spirituality shows you how to be brave
Religion tells you its truth – Spirituality lets you discover it
Religion separates from other religions – Spirituality unites them
Religion makes you dependent – Spirituality makes you independent
Religion applies punishment – Spirituality applies karma
Religion makes you follow another’s journey – Spirituality lets you create your own