Such an ugly word. Not my favorite word...at all.
In fact, if you looked at my life, you might think that I have made a firm and life lasting commitment to NEVER obey pretty much anything...including certain laws.
Now I am not a gun-toting gangster, (just writing that made me laugh), anyone who knows me knows, for the most part, I am fairly law abiding and obedient in that regard. But that was not always so...
The concept of obedience has always been one that I have taken umbrage with...I have pretty much been rebelling, mostly to my own detriment, since I was like 2.
It was like I was born with this absolute faith that I knew what was better than anyone else. This was not different when I was a child. At ten, I was pretty sure I could move out of my parent’s home and handle the world...of course now I know that to be a complete fiction, but back then if I would have been given the chance, I would have been out of there.
What I have really railed against the whole of my existence is that anyone knows better than me. That any of you have a leg up on me regarding how life should go, how I should handle things and myself. But recently, I have been given a new way to see obedience...
This way that I have is not truth...it just feels that way to me. The way that I think about things, think things ought to be are just painful indications of exactly how limited I truly am. But my failure to obey spiritual principles almost killed me...again.
My first 25 years were run on self. Me, me, me. I was in charge and would fight you, quite literally, for the right to destroy my life with my own best efforts. Once I got sober, I became willing to do what I was told...at least in regard to drinking. I was not willing to allow anyone to really tell me much of anything else about any other topic. I did what I was told (sort of) and was lucky that my reluctant obedience to recovery was sufficient enough to bring about sobriety.
One of my friend’s said to me the other day, “it was like I got sober and asked God to hold my beer. Turning over my drinking to this Higher Power but then while God was holding my beer, I would and could handle everything else.”
This really hit me hard. Because while she was talking about herself, she was really talking about me...Dammit!
Since she said this I have been given a lot of circumstances that clearly demonstrate that I am still behaving like this. Spiritual principles are nice but...I really, really have this. Except I don’t.
I have my way. That is all. As far as ways go, it is fairly decent but limited, oh so painfully limited.
And I see that now...and seeing this has created in me a willingness to just do what I am told which laid the foundation for me to begin to see that my life lived as I have been is really just attempting one more time to wrest satisfaction if I can just manage well...Fuck. Again? Dammit!
I was talking with another friend yesterday and he hit me with this...
“So we, do obey spiritual principles, first because we must, and ultimately because we love the kind of life such obedience brings.” Twelve Step and Twelve Traditions.
And you know when someone says something to you and you can feel something pop inside your chest? I had that feeling and experience and I knew that he had just opened a door that had remained completely obscured from view for me.
I MUST obey spiritual principles in my life because if I do not I will die. This is just truth for me. It isn’t optional. If I am lying, cheating, stealing, whatever, eventually I will drink again and for me to drink is to die. It is really just that simple. And I believe this to be true with every fiber of my being.
So if I want to stay on this side of the dirt, then I have to obey them. Period. That is how I stay alive. I have known this for a long time...
When I was married and unhappy I thought about having an affair but I knew that if I did that I would get drunk...because I would be betraying fundamental beliefs and principles that I believed in and I would only be able to live in that particular ugly duality for so long before I drank to allow myself to do what was incongruent to my core. It is no accident that I didn't have the affair and I didn't drink...
The word obedience actually has the word die in it for fuck's sake! How did I miss that for so long? A not so gentle reminder of what my fate is should I refuse to obey...
But what I got yesterday was the end of that quote...that ultimately I like the life I have today because of my application of principles in my life. It is through obedience that I apply these spiritual principles in all of my affairs...no exceptions. Except I haven’t been...oh I have been mostly adhering to them...but in a cafeteria kind of way. Picking and choosing which ones to apply and where...but that is not obedience, that is self will and I see that clearly now.
Obedience is doing it no matter what. It is giving up thoughts to the contrary. It is just doing it because you made a commitment.
So what spiritual principles am I talking about? All of them, all the time. I will dive deeper into that soon...but today I need to sit with this idea that I have been super disobedient to a great number of things and that is where I have been off course. That is why it has been so painful lately...it isn’t because of the life circumstances, it is because I am failing to live the principles in my life and the only result is pain.
Oh, how I wish it were otherwise...but it is not. And that is the light at the end of the tunnel for me today. I see where I was lost, I see where I was half-assing it, and I am willing to stop what I am doing and obey. Just writing that was hard. But I know that benevolence to these spiritual laws bring me closer to who I am supposed to be. Today I am willing to grow along spiritual lines, and it matters not that I perhaps never get close enough for anyone else to think I have made progress. The journey is mine and the growth my own. And really that is my entire purpose in this life: to grow towards the light no matter what happens. To allow the things that happen to me to be my best and greatest teachers. Moving me always forward into the present moment toward spiritual progress through the active living according to spiritual principles.
Perhaps obedience is the marker for the burial of the will; finally allowing humility a fighting chance?