Endigar 357 ~ Love and Tolerance

From Today’s Daily Reflections;

Love and tolerance of others is our code.  (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 84)

I have found that I have to forgive others in all situations to maintain any real spiritual progress.  The vital importance of forgiving may not be obvious to me at first sight, but my studies tell me that every great spiritual teacher has insisted strongly upon it.

I must forgive injuries, not just in words, or as a matter of form, but in my heart.  I do this not for the other person’ sake, but for my own sake.  Resentment, anger, or a desire to see someone punished, are things that rot my soul.  Such things fasten my troubles to me with chains.  They tie me to other problems that have nothing to do with my original problem.

END OF QUOTE

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Love & Tolerance Boobs

My fourth step work revealed to me a laundry list of grievances, real and imagined.  Once they were brought out into the open, I had a choice to continue using them to attempt an execution of personal vengeance and maintain an internal fortress against any possible future vulnerabilities, or to turn my energy toward self-transformation and empowerment.

In order to follow the path of vengeance, I must experience life-threatening levels of anger and resentment.  These emotions are radioactive to an alcoholic and prolonged exposure will kill me.  Another problem for me is that I have a limited amount of interactive memory to face each day’s challenges.  Consuming head-space to rehearse grievances and plots of revenge lead me toward an isolated and distrustful approach to life.  Another reality I have to face if I embrace my resentment is the doubled-edged sword of justice.  If I raise it to cut my offender, it cuts into my life to hold me accountable to the standard of its merciless blade.  No one survives under the microscope.  The probable outcome is that I will become the thing I hate and live with an internal environment of perfectionism.  The fortress I build quickly becomes a prison.  Cherishing my grievances also demands that I maintain a victim’s self image.  I must remember over and over an event were I was powerless.  I must fight to make sure that I am never powerless again.  What affect does a continuous meditation on my times and possibilities of powerlessness achieve accept to establish me as a pathetic and perpetual victim.   Finally, my personal crusade of vengeance often breeds more grievances creating a profound sense of futility.  I become a weary keeper of a zoo filled with snarling, angry resentment-beasts that must be fed and sheltered.

The fourth step offers another possibility.  Gomu (God of my understanding) says to me through the AA recovery process that I can achieve real vindication by becoming a more powerful expression of myself.  This work of self-vindication is mutually exclusive to schemes of vengeance because you have to let go of the victim card.  I have found that the magic of the moral inventory is the ability to pinpoint areas in my life, my shortcomings, that make me vulnerable to a repeat performance of victimization from myself or others, real or imagined, and turn them into sources of personal empowerment.

Today, I am far more interested in the work of transforming my life and achieving validation rather than vengeance.  The goal of the recovery process is not simply to bring our alcoholism into remission, but to bring our lives into the spiritual awakening of sobriety.  The primary demonstration of such a transformation is the freedom to exercise love and tolerance.  For me, forgiveness is a major step in that empowerment.  

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