Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Seventh Step Prayer

I enjoyed reading in Richard Rohr's "Breathing Underwater" that it was unlikely that a person, who was being rewarded materially and fully engaged in a superficial life with all the positive experiences of early attachment to that which can become addicting, would look deeper.  This is why youth seem clever but appear to lack wisdom which comes more slowly with maturity.  The 'education' process gives a great deal of 'intellectual' material which is most helpful and not really 'questioned' until there is a 'reversal' or 'set back'. 
I've prayed and meditated all of my life.  I was raised Christian and the prayer traditional was a central part of my childhood and youth. Later as a student of Paramahansa Yogananda I studied meditation and meditated.  Later in analytic work and philosophy I questioned my own 'ideas', thoughts and 'counter transference'.  The whole issue of personality and character were part of my training in psychiatry. 

The Seventh Step Prayer found in the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous addresses the issue of 'character'.  Television has superficial personalities but 'character' is a deeper developmental process with much of the basis laid down by the end of youth.  Habitual ways of relating to the world and other individuals are found in the depth of character assessment.  In diseases of addiction there are certain ways of thinking and relating which serve to perpetrate the alcoholism.

In contrast to what every alcoholic tends to think, that is "if you had my problems, you'd drink too', the journey of self discovery through the Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous reframes this into the truer form which goes "If you create problems like I do, you must drink too", or "If you didn't create the problems I do, you wouldn't have an excuse to drink".

The Seventh Step Prayer goes as follows:

"My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.  Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do your bidding.Amen".

A fine prayer for me.  Under duress when life is not 'running' as smoothly as I feel it should I'm glad today to look under the hood and see if I can improve things by changing filters and tweaking matters a mite. (or more).  

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