After my first dramatic encounter with God that previously detailed, I stopped drinking, joined a religious order and went through 5 years of seminary. I also obtained a Bachelor’s in Philosophy, a Master’s in Divinity, a Master’s in Moral Theology, was ordained a priest and was assigned to a large parish in Delaware. A lot of stress to be sure, but I went into it free of alcohol.
Growing up, most of what I knew about God was based on what I was taught, not something I had ever spent time figuring out for myself. It came down to “do what you’re told or God’s going to send you to hell.” Not a very pleasant view. My homiletics professor in seminary summed up my relationship with God very aptly: “We are all sinners in the hands of an angry God.” Up to that point, that’s basically what I believed.
Today’s post is a video from Jewish.tv on Chabad.org. In it, Rabbi Shais Taub delivers an intense yet liberating talk on emotional independence. Rabbi Taub is the author of G-d of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction. Enjoy!
We experience pain deeply, sometimes a backlog built up over a lifetime. If we’re lucky, we have a sponsor who advises us to bring that pain to god. But sometimes, our amygdalas decide god’s just not concrete enough. We need safety precautions, emotional helmets and hazmat suits! So we reduce our vulnerability by learning to edit and hide our true selves. We develop strategies like people pleasing: whatever we think will smooth our path, whatever others want or would approve, we try to appear. The goal is to be accepted. We need it because we so intensely fear rejection’s pain.
In this unique and powerful moment, I know there is truly only one underlying, overriding intelligence, wisdom, power, and presence that is all around me. It is my Higher Power, the Highest Power. It penetrates, permeates, and courses through each and all of us at all times. I breathe in and receive this power, knowing I am one with that which I sometimes call Spirit, Mother Nature, God, Divinity, The One, or sometimes call it nothing at all. I sense It, and know that It operates within me, and I operate within It.
With deep appreciation, I look back and reflect on this precious month, grateful for all the ups and downs of my human experience, and grateful for the perfection of my spiritual experience. I am extremely grateful to be in recovery, free from addictive substance and behavior, and grateful for the freedom I have to choose empowering thoughts, ideas, and actions in all situations. I am thankful for everything and everyone that serve as my teachers and remind me to open my eyes and stay awake to the lessons and blessings that surround me.
Radical acceptance is an alternative to labeling situations, things, or people as “good” and “bad.” It’s settling into the space that opens up when we stop reacting so strongly to outcomes. This space for me takes the form of my thoughts, breathing, and sight slowing to a pace where I can take in and touch the sense of immense beauty and wonder in the world: the breeze against the trees, a smile on my loved ones face, opportunity that can come from loss, and the little things to be grateful for throughout my busy days.
How grateful am I to have a roadmap called the 12 steps. The spiritual principles they’re built around have become embedded in my own spiritual program. They serve as my guideposts to help me know I am on track. Basically they are honesty, acceptance, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, forgiveness, sincerity, perseverance, serenity, and service.