Step 12 says, among other things, we’re to “practice these principles in all our affairs.” As I said in my article on Step 12, there isn’t a list with the title ‘The 12 Principles.’ If you google the term you’ll usually come up with a list of sites and blogs that one way or another says the 12 Steps are the principles.
Which is fine as far as it goes. But how do we actually practice the principles or ‘all the steps’ in our daily life, day in and day out?
One short answer is, of course, practice! That may be the long and only answer as well, come to think of it.
Part of the practice of the 12 Steps, in addition to letting go of our addiction, is to address our issues – those patterns of thinking that keep getting in our way of having serenity – however you want to define any of that. Some of those are huge issues, but there are some smaller ones along the way as well.
But over and over again I’ve found it’s my issues that get in the way of my happiness or my serenity. For example, when I’m angry and unwilling to see and confront that anger I get antsy. And that feeling of anxiousness will increase until I’ve figured out what’s going on with me.
I had an example recently – and silly as it seems… well, let me tell you the story.
About a year ago my now 17 year old cat began spending less and less time with me indoors. At first I thought it was because of other cats that had wandered into our lives that I’d adopted. I recently moved and now MzTiz has me all to herself – no additional cats and for a while she stayed indoors more, sleeping near me in the office during the day, and often on the bed with me at night… then she started only coming in for meals. Not too long ago I realized I was furious with her and if you know cats, you know there’s simply no point in being angry with them – they will do what they will do. Little beasts enforcing acceptance! Once I got in touch with that anger I was able to let it go and I feel better. Hasn’t changed MzTiz’s behavior, but I’m not quite as nuts as I was.
Another example. A few days ago a friend whom I met while meditating at a Buddhist Temple told me he’s become a Christian. I could feel my resistance even as I was saying something about being glad it worked for him. By the time I got home I was able to admit that my resistance was really a cover for the fear that I might become Christian. This is a potential hot button for me that goes back to my adult relationship with my father. As soon as I saw the fear I was able to let it go with even a bit of a chuckle.
Both of these are examples of living the program, of practicing the principles. Sometimes the issues seem small, sometimes large. Some are easier to let go of than others, but if we keep doing the work, life levels off to some extent and we move from reacting to responding. We’re able to be more in the moment and less in worrying about the past or the future. That being in the moment is one of my definitions of serenity. In fact, serenity and enlightenment have a lot in common I suspect.
How about you? What’s your definition of serenity? How do you get there? What do you do when you notice it’s gone? Share with us in comments it you like.
Love, blessings and abundance.
Image: Some rights reserved by Karen_O’D
Share this post with your network… it helps.