Why I rejected societal norms and opted to escape the herd
By Peter R
Some may categorise this article under ‘self-help’ but I prefer not to exclusively use that term. Often we get trapped into helping ourselves at the cost of aiding others. By and large we live in communities, surrounded by people from varied walks of life.
By focusing on this communal experience we can enhance our own lives through interacting and helping others. This is the type of self-help that I am proposing. A self-help that does not have a single function but rather helps the individual and the community at large.
Remember, no man (or woman) is an island. No individual can live as such. We all need people for support and interaction. It is this interconnectedness that helps us to live.
As for my own beliefs, I would describe myself as a Spiritual Atheist. I do not subscribe to a worship of a singular entity like Christianity or Islam. However, I do think there is a place for spirituality and community in today’s society.
While I do not engage in any form of prayer, I am not averse to relaxing my mind through Buddhist relaxation techniques and meditations. I believe in a spiritual ecology and respect the pagan principles of Mother Earth.
People are stewards of the earth. We are required to care for our surroundings and treat plants, animals and living breathing eco systems with the respect they deserve, by acknowledging the key role they play in our existence.
In these hectic times we can allow the world to pass us by. We spend too long living in the past and reliving old times or regretting old decisions. Alternatively we live in the future, by planning our moves and listing the many things that we wish to do in our lives.
Future planning is a good thing and being prepared and setting goals is a good thing. But we should not allow ourselves to live out our present lives in the future or in the past.
As the great singer/songwriter John Lennon once wrote, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making all of those plans” and this is very true. It can become a problem when our past or future endeavors start to consume us and we are unable to live in the moment, or in the present.
Peter’s quick tips
Go and hug a tree. Try it out right now. Feel the warm glow and connection with living organism. Go and eat some insects. everyone’s seen the lion king! Become a Freegan. Waste not, want not.
Relax by the river and enjoy the simple pleasures of fishing. Fresh fish are great for the body too. abandon the Search for Utopia. It is a false trial and cannot be found.
The Spirituality of AA and the 12 Steps
Whether you wish to include the mention of (a particular) God, gods or any other spirit being is entirely your decision and the inclusion or omission on such is not the point of listing these steps. T
he point is, rather, the fact that it is good to have a solid routine to follow when we are engaging in any form of ‘meditation’. Again when I refer to meditation I know that you may conjure up images of chanting monks or closed eyes and humming but I mean it in a looser sense of improving wellbeing and encouraging stillness and focus.
These are important things to master when coping with everyday life.
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
This version of the 12 steps re-produced from serenityfound.org. Reprinted from the book Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book) with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
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