In this article, we will delve into the profound message encapsulated in the paragraph spanning from the bottom of page 87 to the top of page 88 in the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Big Book. This passage not only contains the essence of the spiritual axiom but also encompasses the famous Serenity Prayer, which reverberates in almost every AA meeting. Let’s explore the transformative power behind these words.
The Spiritual Axiom and its Meaning
According to page 87, the spiritual axiom enlightens us with a simple yet profound truth: “As we go through the day, we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action.” But what does this truly imply? When we find ourselves agitated, it manifests as a result of our tendency to judge situations or people as unacceptable. Essentially, we are playing God, exerting our own flawed judgments. Doubt, on the other hand, stems from fear of future events or encounters. Once again, we assume the role of a higher power. In these moments, we become disconnected from God, losing conscious contact – a condition emblematic of alcoholism and what is often referred to as the spiritual malady.
Unlocking the Power of Pause
Remarkably, this powerful paragraph concludes the instructions encompassing steps 1-11. Its placement signifies the pivotal role it plays in providing us with a potent tool to break free from the chains of self whenever they ensnare us. The first instruction directs us to pause whenever our emotions are disturbed, whether it’s anger or fear, without delay. By doing so, we are prompted to leave behind self-centered thoughts to achieve serenity, peace, and a functional way of life under any circumstances. Remaining disturbed or disconnected from God simply hinders our ability to attain these vital elements.
The Significance of Pause
Pause, in itself, represents a formidable spiritual tool – a decision that rests solely in our hands. God employs disturbance as a means to discipline us when we stray from Him. It is in these moments of discomfort that we are urged to repent and turn to Him. This is His plan for our lives. When we choose to turn, we find that God is always there to welcome us back. However, the act of pausing is entirely our responsibility. It signifies a pause in our pursuit of self-reliance and a call to return to our reliance on God.
The Essence of the Serenity Prayer
When we utter the words “God grant me serenity” in the Serenity Prayer, we are essentially voicing the need to pause whenever we encounter disturbances. Through this pause, we allow God to reshape our perspective. Serenity is achieved when we perceive situations through God’s eyes rather than our limited understanding. Once God grants us serenity and we reestablish our connection with Him, we can then discern the most appropriate course of action. When we reflect upon our past decisions, we realize that our choices, rooted in self-centeredness, led to harm both for ourselves and others. Therefore, acting impulsively while disturbed is no longer a desirable option.
The Gift of Serenity
Serenity is a divine gift bestowed upon us by God. However, it is only accessible when we choose to pause. When I remind myself to pause in the midst of disturbance, a profound sense of power and peace washes over me. This particular action aligns perfectly with steps 6 and 7, where I must pause and turn to God to counteract and overcome my character defects. By breaking away from self-centered thinking, pausing serves as the initial step towards reconnecting with God.
The Practice of Self-Restraint
In the 12 and 12, the discussion surrounding the spiritual axiom emphasizes the necessity of cultivating self-restraint. Notably, this aligns closely with the concept of pausing when we find ourselves playing God or immersed in self-centered thoughts. By following the direction to pause whenever we are not in a spiritually fit condition, we exercise self-restraint. This restraint, in turn, enables us to seek guidance and direction from God. It forms the essence of living in the present moment.
Embracing the Power of Pause
In this thought, we explored the immense power of pausing whenever we feel agitated, fearful, bothered, or irritated. By refraining from immediate reactions and instead going directly to God, we prevent ourselves from blocking His power. When undisturbed, we become receptive to the divine energy that awaits us.
Pause is a simple yet profoundly transformative act. It allows us to reconnect with God, find serenity amidst turmoil, and make decisions based on right thinking. The spiritual axiom and the Serenity Prayer serve as guiding lights throughout our journey towards inner peace and self-discovery. In part two of this article, we will examine the second instruction, focusing on the significance of asking, and how it can lead us to the right course of action. Stay tuned!
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