Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Science of Mind versus the Twelve Steps

The success of the Science of Mind influenced film "What the bleep do we know" illustrates our profound hunger to find a God of our own understanding, a God close to us not separate, and for a meaningful and lasting relationship to our place in the universe. Quantum Physics and Science of Mind have a unique relationship, a shared paradigm which has at the center a profound recognition of the power of choice, that we create our own reality, literally.

For many of us in the recovery field, the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous have served as a powerful model for our lives. The concept of personal powerlessness in the face of our hopeless adiction have had a life changing effect, giving us a reprieve from our compulsive behavior and a new and powerful sense of peace and serenity which many of us could never have imagined possible.

However, there are two concepts that those of us in recovery may find at odds with Science of Mind. That is in the application of the terms "control" and "powerlessness". In Science of Mind, we are encouraged to control our thoughts and thinking, to conciously "out-picture" how we want our lives to be and alternately to stop the habitual way we think of limitation and lack. We are taught that if we really want to achieve a world of our imaginings we must conciously choose the products of our mind and "control" them. "Watch our thoughts" becomes our credo.

In Recovery, we are asked to do the exact opposite. By turning over control to a Higher Power, especially our thinking, we are relieved of our obsession to drink or drug. Our individual will is brought into alignment with our Higher Power's will for us. We accept the things we cannot change, have courage to change the things we can, and gain widsom to know the difference. We must get out of the way. We surrender all control to God, as we understand him, and are granted a new personality, healed of our compuslive behavior and old ideas. We see that what we have is far better than any individual idea of what our life should be. We are asked to "suit up and show up", have faith and surrender.

But many of us who practice both Science of Mind and are in Recovery wonder about that "Courage to Change " part of the serenity prayer. We often confuse creative decision making, controlling our thoughts, and setting intentions, mutually exclusive with the idea of surrendering to a Higher Power. It appears passive to us. From a recovery perspective it almost feels like a blashphemy, "self-will run riot". From a Science of Mind point of view, not watching our thoughts perpetuates the stuck cycle of unconcious thinking.

the truth, however, is that any differences are illusory. They are a product of our Ego attempting to "Edge God Out". Our Higher Power, our God, wants us to co-create with him. He wants us to experience our highest self and realizes our dreams and wishes are the same as his. To control means to pay attention to both the positive and negative self-talk of the Ego and ask for the right thought or action, humbly reminding ourselves throughout our day "thy will be done". I'm no longer running the show. I, of course, being our Ego.

Science of Mind and the Twelve Steps of Recovery both offer us a great vision for our lives. Both are deeply compatable in bringing us to a new awareness of life's possibilities. It is no surprise that Bill Wilson, Alcoholics Anononymous' co-founder, was profoundly influenced by Emmet Fox's marvelous Science of Mind book "The Sermon On The Mount".


Blogger Dennie said...

i completely appreciate your blog on this... I am sober for 19 years in may and have been practicing Science of Mind for the last few years very seriously and have had to realize that core difference you noted.... and would love to hear more of your take on this, as I feel like i have to put a lot of AA behind me because i dont believe that I am powerless. or even that the FIRST drink was every anything other than a choice perhaps a hard choice or one that SEEMED something I was unable to not do, truth is I had a choice... and i just dont know anyone else who has done any study of AA and SOM to have a dialog about this with!!

5:54 PM  

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