I have been thinking about writing on the paragraph on the bottom of page 87 to top of page 88. It came to me that this is the spiritual axiom and the serenity prayer in the AA big book. I have written and talked about the spiritual axiom. It is in step 10 in the 12 and 12. The serenity prayer is said at almost every AA meeting.
“As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action”, page 87. What are they telling me? When I am agitated it means I have disturbed emotions that arise from judging a situation or person as unacceptable to me. I am playing God. When I am doubtful I have the emotion of fear towards a situation or person in the future. I am playing God. I am disturbed. What is wrong with me? I am separated from God and playing God and have lost conscious contact. Isn’t this the essence of alcoholism? The spiritual malady.
Notice this powerful paragraph concludes the final instruction on steps 1-11. I believe they put this direction here because if I follow it I will have a powerful tool to relieve me of the bondage of self whenever it appears. The first instruction is to pause whenever disturbed, either angry or afraid. It says do this whenever my emotions are disturbed. They imply do it right away. Now. At once. Don’t spend any time in these self centered thoughts. Why? Because if I want serenity, peace and a design for living that works under any circumstances I cannot stay disturbed or separated from God.
Pause is a powerful spiritual tool. It is a decision only I can make. Disturbed is how God disciplines me when I am separated from him. I don’t feel good. He wants me to repent or turn to him whenever I am disturbed. That is God’s plan for me. When I turn he is always there to take me back. However he won’t make me pause. Pause means stop Michael, you are on your own. Get back to God Michael. Turn to him. Only I can pause.
Isn’t pause what I mean when I say the serenity prayer. When I say God grant me serenity I am really saying whenever I am disturbed I need to pause so God can change how I am seeing it. To be at peace in the now, to be able to see a situation through God’s eyes, not mine. Then after he grants me serenity and I am now connected to him, then I can see the right course of action. Whenever agitated or doubtful I never chose the right action. When I look back on my life I saw that I made decisions based on self which put me in a position to be hurt and to hurt others. So I don’t want to act when disturbed anymore.
Serenity is a gift from God. He grants it. But only if I pause. To me it is automatic that when I say Michael you better pause right now because you are disturbed, that I feel a power and peace come in. This action is the basis for steps 6-7. I must pause when back in self and then turn to God to practice the opposite of my character defect. I must turn away constantly from my self centered thinking and pausing is the beginning of reconnecting with God.
In the 12 and 12 when discussing the spiritual axiom he says we must develop the practice of self restraint. Isn’t this just pausing when agitated or doubtful? Not reacting when I am not in fit spiritual condition? If I follow the directions to pause whenever playing God or back in self will I am restraining myself and turning to God for direction and guidance. This direction is the essence of how to live in the now.
I have focused in this thought on the power of pausing whenever disturbed, agitated, fearful, bothered, irritated, etc. If I don’t pause and I go straight to God when disturbed then I will be blocked from his power. I can only receive his power when undisturbed.
In part 2 I will look at the second direction to ask and how doing that simple step leads to a right course of action based on right thinking.
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