No matter how many mistakes we have made, we are still perfect beings within, and the within may become the without if we will carefully train ourselves to listen to the inner voice of truth which speaks to us in our moments of quietness and solitude.” ~Ernest Holmes “The Science of Mind”
We searched out the flaws in our make-up which caused our failure… we had to get down to causes and conditions. ~Bill W, The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
Striking that balance between self-reflection and self-absorption is a key.
Regularly monitoring my vitals by checking my emotional pulse, taking my spiritual temperature, and observing my physical condition have become necessary self-reflective measures that support my serenity and sobriety.
Am I at peace in my relationships or am I bitterly reviewing and chewing over the same event at work, with family, or with a friend that steamed me? Am I seeking contact with my Higher Power? Am I getting enough sleep? Am I eating right? Am I exercising?
Oh. Well then am I striving for more of these things more of the time? Progress, not perfection.
I had no concept of this, let alone how to do it, back in my drinking days. I was trapped in my web of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors which called for amends years later. I had no capacity to observe myself. I had no capacity to make amends either.
Once I officially “worked the steps,” (the granddaddy of all self-reflection) as a curriculum of short but deeply powerful exercises for which I wrote and discussed with one other person who has done the same, the spot checks on my vitals are shorter, cleaner, more manageable.
The 12 Steps, in their pure format, focus on addictions but the spiritual principles can guide all spiritual seekers to step through and not over what needs to be reviewed and released. In a kind and accepting way that sheds light, not guilt or shame.
It took me many months (way more than a year) to complete the 12 Step process. But now and even along the way, my path forward is noticeably opened up, less tangles. I’m learning how to not let things pile up and create barriers.
Like cleaning out the lint trap after every load or so of laundry. My dirty laundry (real and metaphor) accumulates over several days. I wash it in smaller manageable loads, and the amount of lint is small and easy to remove to keep the flow open. Unlike my mental dirty laundry of the past. Tons of guilt, shame, resentment, regrets, etc. were stuffed down and accumulated over decades, unnoticed and unattended to… Tons of lint.
Thanks to the Science of Mind teachings, when I review my day now, I realize the potency of reflecting on my positive behaviors, thoughts, and feelings – those I like and that empower me. This feels more valuable and influential than wallowing in my shortfalls.
Now that I’ve cleared out the barnyard full of accumulated lint from being fearful, angry, and resentful, why not actively choose to reflect on the times I’ve been helpful, proud, strong, of service, honest, caring, sincere, loving, generous, compassionate – let the list go on! And let that awareness accumulate all day long.
The past is done. The future is mine to create. By thinking positively I will draw in more positivity. That’s the way it works.
- What do you notice when you mentally relive a time that brings you joy, peace, or pride?
- Compare that to how it feels to mentally relive disempowering thoughts, feelings, and actions.
- Are you able to catch and correct quickly when you get off track?
In gratitude, harmony and support,