Thursday, April 05, 2007

act as if

In AA, OA, all of the anonymous programs, there is a concept called "act as if." In the early years of my sobriety, I was told to act as if I believed there actually was a power greater than myself that would help me to stay sober. In order to act as if, I had only to ask this power for help every day.

It was okay to ask when I was convinced there was no power, it was actually encouraged. Ask for help, ask for awareness. I did. I asked when I actively, aggressively, angrily didn't believe. I asked when I was more mildly only convinced there was no such thing. Amazingly, I stayed sober and that fact led me to a place where I no longer had to act as if, I no longer had to just believe, I actually knew. Knowing is vastly different from believing and it was the steps that got me there with many more experiences along the way to confirm this absolute knowledge. Today I know, absolutely, that there is a power. I no longer have to define it and I find inspiration in nature, in other people, in spiritual writing. But I know.

That being the case, I am participating in Holy Thursday, today, April 5. Perhaps if you are a praying person, you will too. But here's the challenge for those who are not: maybe you could consider just for today acting as if in the off chance that it could help. This world today needs peace and cooperation and fellowship more than another preemptive strike like the one predicted against Iran this Friday. We need a preemptive peace.

More on the why of it from OpEd News:

There have been news reports indicating possible air strikes on Iran beginning on Good Friday. Again, is this true? Not true? We don’t know. In any case, if we want to broadcast our intention that Good Friday not become Bad Friday, that leaves us with Holy Thursday ... April 5th. We are asking you and anyone else you forward this to to make April 5th the day we begin to hold our intention of preemptive peace and mutually assured survival.

So ... in keeping with Gregg’s notion of prayer, what is your vivid and joyous vision of peace? What does it look like? Sound like? Feel like? Does it have to do with opposing sides hugging? Planting olive trees together instead of land mines? Celebrating that a ruling majority in each land has adopted the “we’re all in it together” world view? Whatever this scenario is, feel it. Hold it for the entire day, whenever you think about it. Enroll others in doing the same. As Swami is fond of saying, “An enrolling stone gathers no remorse.”

If that all sounds a little witchy voodooey crazy old hippie-ish, consider this: what can it hurt to try? Just one day, just today. Let's try.


Blogger Red7Eric said...

I never stopped believing in a power greater than myself -- and I ask for things all the time (not material things, but y'know ... patience, an open mind, stuff like that).

I just can no longer stomach a dogmatic approach to spirituality, and can't do organized religion anymore.

And yeah, I "talk to the universe" (you can say "pray" if you must) every day ...

April 05, 2007 11:24 AM  
Anonymous lynette said...

talk to the universe works for me. i don't do the organized thing either. and lightning bolts may rain down around my head for saying this, but i don't think it matters. i think all of us, everywhere, are addressing the same power. when aa allowed me to "choose my own conception," that was the key that opened the door for me. someone else's key may be in the methodist church or the koran or whatever. two people can look at the same thing and come to a different belief about it, depending on other information they have or what they're actually seeing. i just can't get all wrought up about specifics and i have absolute respect for everyone else's right to choose their own belief EXCEPT when they choose a belief system of hate and judgment. then i'm a bitch.

April 05, 2007 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Tater said...

I am totally with you. I had the exact experience you described in terms of coming to believe in a power greater than myself. Same experience different rooms and lives. I will be projecting my thoughts of peace and good will. I will especially send some your way sweety-pie!

April 05, 2007 1:15 PM  
Blogger Beula said...

Just for today I will accept God's love. I believe in God. I believe God loves me. I even believe God died for me. Why then is it so darn hard to incorporate that love into myself? Is a mystery.

April 05, 2007 4:45 PM  
Blogger JessiferSeabs said...

"Perhaps if you are a praying person, you will too. But here's the challenge for those who are not: maybe you could consider just for today acting as if in the off chance that it could help. This world today needs peace and cooperation and fellowship..."

I absolutely love this sentiment. I've always wondered, even to the non-believer, what's so bad about prayer? Isn't it just positive energy flowing through the universe?

April 05, 2007 4:56 PM  
Blogger Willym said...

Lynette, some times you scare me. Early today - before I read your post - I began thinking about how much Holy Week and its services meant in my life: the rituals, the music, the prayers and the moments of quiet contemplation. There was a time when I went into church - Anglo-Catholic, I was a subdeacon - on Palm Sunday morning and came out again sometime Easter Sunday night. I lost that faith some time ago and nothing as strong has ever replaced it. And this was not the faith of a teenager enamoured with the church - but a mature adult.

My feelings today, plus a few things that have happened of late - including reading several of your posts - have made me think to take a few minutes of quiet prayer - maybe even go through the old ritual of the rosary (a great aid to mediation if done properly)- and ask for peace both inner and for the wider world.

At the washing of the feet on Maunday Thursday (tonight) the antiphon Ubi caritas is sung:

Ubi caritas et amor. Deus ibi est.
Where charity and love are. There is God.

April 05, 2007 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, for starters, my vision of peace is one in which we're not forced to read between lines and hit refresh buttons in constant fear of the next terrorist strike...against another nation by our President, that is.

--Freddy in P'town

April 06, 2007 7:27 PM  
Anonymous Morna said...

Interesting to know.

November 10, 2008 7:56 AM  

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