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BIG BOOK STUDY THREAD (or, The Twelve Steps Demystified)
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TOPIC: BIG BOOK STUDY THREAD (or, The Twelve Steps Demystified) 23931 Views

Re: BIG BOOK STUDY THREAD (or, The Twelve Steps Demystified) 01 Feb 2013 13:42 #201648

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Yes, we of agnostic temperament have had these thoughts and experiences. Let us make haste to reassure you. We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.

***COMMENT: Willingness = surrender. Start a new relationship with God. ***

Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another’s conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him. As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, A Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, PROVIDED WE TOOK OTHER SIMPLE STEPS. We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding, to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men.

***COMMENT: "We began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps." This is the famous comma. Faith is not enough; this program is ACTION oriented. ***

When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies, too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book. Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you. At the start, this is all we needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him. Afterward, we found ourselves accepting many things which then seemed entirely out of reach. That is growth, but if we wished to grow, we had to begin somewhere. So we used our own conception, however limited it was.

Re: BIG BOOK STUDY THREAD (or, The Twelve Steps Demystified) 08 Feb 2013 13:17 #201980

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We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. “Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?” As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.

***COMMENT: "Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself." This question is the transition into Step Two. ***

That was great news to us, for we had assumed we could not make use of spiritual principles unless we accepted many things on faith which seemed difficult to believe. When people presented us with spiritual approaches, how frequently did we all say: “I wish I had what that man has. I’m sure it would work if I could only believe as he believes. But I cannot accept as surely true the many articles of faith which are so plain to him.” So it was comforting to learn that we could commence at a simpler level.

***COMMENT: The more we let God take control, the more comforting it is. ***

Re: BIG BOOK STUDY THREAD (or, The Twelve Steps Demystified) 17 Feb 2013 21:04 #202365

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My heartfelt comments from personal experiencein Blue, be"H.

Eye.nonymous wrote:
We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. “Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?” As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.

***COMMENT: "Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself." This question is the transition into Step Two. ***

That was great news to us, for we had assumed we could not make use of spiritual principles unless we accepted many madreigos. When people presented us with spiritual demands, how frequently did we all say: “I wish I had what that man has. I’m sure it would work if I could only be a good Jew/tzaddik'l like he is. But I cannot seem to keep His Torah right - I still do bittul Torah, don't daven so well, don't learn very well, don't have simcha all the time, am not successful being mekarev/inspiring others, don't have that 'chut shel Chessed' around me yet, am not buddy with the Roshei yeshivah like 'he' is and 'he' is always in the asorah rishonim to davening and learning, I am often late!”

So it was comforting to learn that we could commence at a simpler level. To discover that there is humility even in ruchniyus! That we could profoundly benefit from being with Hashem our G-d and have all His help for sobriety and success in many things even though we were not keeping His Torah anything near perfectly, yet. As Chaza"l tell us: v'haboteyach baShem, Chessed yisovevenhu - afliu rosho, uboteyach baShem - Chessed y'sovevenhu. Hashem loves resho'im. He loves resoho'im far, far more than we will ever love the tzaddikim. So said the Ba'al Shem Tov and others....(and it is obvious to any sane person). So, kal v'chomer He loves us to pieces and is ready to help if we sincerely want to use Him and call to Him be'emess - not with tzidkus, but with emess, it says in Ashrei.[/i]

***COMMENT: The more we let God take control, the more comforting it is. ***
Admin put these lines here cuz he likes 'em:
"The heart needs to be broken when will-power is not enough"
"Get off the 18-Wheeler and onto a tricycle!"
"The heck with me, what can I do for you?"
"I do not particularly care exactly which "lav" suicide is. I'm not interested in it for other reasons!"

Re: BIG BOOK STUDY THREAD (or, The Twelve Steps Demystified) 22 Feb 2013 14:42 #202665

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Besides a seeming inability to accept much on faith, we often found ourselves handicapped by obstinacy, sensitiveness, and unreasoning prejudice. Many of us have been so touchy that even casual reference to spiritual things made us bristle with antagonism. This sort of thinking had to be abandoned. Though some of us resisted, we found no great difficulty in casting aside such feelings. Faced with [sexaholic] destruction, we soon became as open minded on spiritual matters as we had tried to be on other questions. In this respect [lust] was a great persuader. It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness. Sometimes this was a tedious process; we hope no one will be prejudiced as long as some of us were.

***COMMENT: Here's a test: Am I relating to God on His terms or mine? Being sensitive is a sign of being ME centered; any discomfort becomes an excuse to mistreat others. ***

The reader may still ask why he should believe in a Power greater than himself. We think there are good reasons. Let us have a look at some of them.

The practical individual of today is a stickler for facts and results. Nevertheless, the twentieth century readily accepts theories of all kinds, provided they are firmly grounded in fact. We have numerous theories, for example, about electricity. Everybody believes them without a murmur of doubt. Why this ready acceptance? Simply because it is impossible to explain what we see, feel, direct, and use, without a reasonable assumption as a starting point.

Everybody nowadays, believes in scores of assumptions for which there is good evidence, but no perfect visual proof. And does not science demonstrate that visual proof is the weakest proof? It is being constantly revealed, as mankind studies the material world, that outward appearances are not inward reality at all. To illustrate:

The prosaic steel girder is a mass of electrons whirling around each other at incredible speed. These tiny bodies are governed by precise laws, and these laws hold true throughout the material world. Science tells us so. We have no reason to doubt it. When, however, the perfectly logical assumption is suggested that underneath the material world and life as we see it, there is an All Powerful, Guiding, Creative Intelligence, right there our PERVERSE STREAK comes to the surface and we laboriously set out to convince ourselves it isn’t so. We read wordy books and indulge in windy arguments, thinking we believe this universe needs no God to explain it. Were our contentions true, it would follow that life originated out of nothing, means nothing, and proceeds nowhere.

***COMMENT: The "perverse streak" is my desire to manipulate everything and everyone. ***

Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God’s ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of all. Rather vain of us, wasn’t it?

We, who have traveled this dubious path, beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion. We have learned that whatever the human frailties of various faiths may be, those faiths have given purpose and direction to millions. People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about. Actually, we used to have no reasonable conception whatever. We used to amuse ourselves by cynically dissecting spiritual beliefs and practices when we might have observed that many spiritually-minded persons of all races, colors, and creeds were demonstrating a degree of stability, happiness and usefulness which we should have sought ourselves.

***COMMENT: I would like to add that a religious person may read this whole section about agnostics and believe that it is beneath him—of course I believe in God! However, I would say that a religious person, though he may believe in God, may hold a narrow or warped perception of this God—a perception that needs to be examined, modified, and perhaps even discarded.

Also, with a touch of ego involved, a person may believe that he believes in God as He truthfully is but, in reality, he believes in a God that he fashioned in his own image. He has made a smorgasbord sort of God, picking and choosing the descriptions that suit him for whatever reason, and rejecting other descriptions of God. One tendency we may have is to embrace God Who is depicted as vengeful and punishing while we deny any description of God Who is depicted as loving and forgiving.

In summary: Although we may think we believe in God, there's a good chance that we really don't.

***
Last Edit: 22 Feb 2013 14:50 by Eye.nonymous.

Re: BIG BOOK STUDY THREAD (or, The Twelve Steps Demystified) 01 Mar 2013 04:16 #202888

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My sponsor used to say the 3rd step this way: "to the care of the G-d of our misunderstanding." I always liked that, and use it myself.

Forgive me for this, eyeball - I will (or you can) edit it right out if you want:

And that Catholic guy was on the mark...for the Zohar says "leis machshova t'fisa bei klal." We do not really understand our own G-d.

But we do understand He is the borei and manhig, and that He could not possibly have been forced to create anything...so it is obvious that He cannot be evil, mean, or bad in any way, no matter how hard he tries. Just like He cannot break a leg, die of pneumonia, or actually 'get' angry. "Ani Hashem, lo shanisi!," He said. He can neither fail nor botch anything up.

So we do understand that He is good - meaning that He could not possibly have been forced to make us, and is not forced to be manhig us - so He must be a giver of His own 100% free will, and really cannot expect or need anything in return. Obviously, He never needs to hate, He never needs to resent, and He never does anything for spite or because of 'rage'. In reality, He could never need to 'hit someone back', 'take revenge' as we understand it, or 'slap' anyone in a fit of resentment or wrath, as we feel we need to sometimes. So He never 'has a score to pay' - ever, in reality. Nekomah and stuff like that are just meshoilim l'saber es ha'ozen, not literal, c"v. There is nothing we can do that could ever make Him decide to be mean to us - He only is good and does only good, always. "Atoh, lo y'gurcho rah." For He is, was, and always will be free, so everything He ever did and will do must all be - at it's root - only FREE Chessed (the only real Chessed there is, is the free kind! If you need to deserve it, then it is not Chessed, but din, right?).

[Perhaps that's is why the higher you go in partzufim, the less [i]din [/i]is there, till there is no din in atzilus at all - only the shoresh of din from Ema, for example. Why? Because there is no 'negative' possible by Atzmuso yisborach. Cuz the shoresh of His will to create the world and run every aspect of the world (and you and me) there is no 'rules', no 'forcing', at all. Just Chessed pashut, goodness. So we end Shmoneh esrei calling Him "haTov": "You are the Good One, ul'cho no'eh l'hodos." He is Good - and the only real good there is. (Sim Shalom is just a tag-on [Shalom is only a k'li] to the guf of Tefillah, which really ends with Modim and haTov Shimcho)]

So...our obstinacy you write of, stems from our misunderstanding of G-d. And in recovery (and tzidkus) some misunderstandings will persist! That's life!
Admin put these lines here cuz he likes 'em:
"The heart needs to be broken when will-power is not enough"
"Get off the 18-Wheeler and onto a tricycle!"
"The heck with me, what can I do for you?"
"I do not particularly care exactly which "lav" suicide is. I'm not interested in it for other reasons!"

Re: BIG BOOK STUDY THREAD (or, The Twelve Steps Demystified) 01 Mar 2013 15:26 #202913

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*** COMMENT: Another point I would like to make is that, although we have learned about God and His mastery over the whole entire world and we have talked about this for as long as we can remember, when we stub our toes (or when someone steps on our toes) the first thought that enters our mind is not exactly in line with these beliefs. In theory, we believe in God. On a practical level, we really don't. That, I think, is also a form of agnosticism to which this chapter can be applied. ***

Re: BIG BOOK STUDY THREAD (or, The Twelve Steps Demystified) 17 Feb 2015 01:00 #248831

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Eye.nonymous wrote:
Yes, we of agnostic temperament have had these thoughts and experiences. Let us make haste to reassure you. We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.

***COMMENT: Willingness = surrender. Start a new relationship with God. ***

Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another’s conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him. As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, A Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, PROVIDED WE TOOK OTHER SIMPLE STEPS. We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding, to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men.

***COMMENT: "We began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps." This is the famous comma. Faith is not enough; this program is ACTION oriented. ***

When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies, too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book. Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you. At the start, this is all we needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him. Afterward, we found ourselves accepting many things which then seemed entirely out of reach. That is growth, but if we wished to grow, we had to begin somewhere. So we used our own conception, however limited it was.


This is a great thread to read.

I bolded, underlined and italicized one sentence.

Someone in the last few days wrote a comment how he lives with emunah.

Now, while it's true that this is a good thing (and Mrs. Emunah can attest to this), but for some of us addicts - it is simply not enough.

Read this post, and the thread.

b'hatzlachah
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If one gives up at the first sign of a struggle, he is really not ready to be successful."
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"The right thin' to do and the hard thin' to do are usually the same."


Disclaimer: I am not a cheerleader; B"H, there are many on the site. I am here to change myself, and with God's help, by some mistake, I might even help change others.

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Re: BIG BOOK STUDY THREAD (or, The Twelve Steps Demystified) 06 Jan 2017 00:23 #302361

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