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Be Still and Know That I am Your God
The following thoughts are to a large extent plagiarized from the thinking of others, but I am writing them down here as the best explanation that I have to date of the dynamics of what it is that I have experienced and what I have tried describing as "Seeing the white light and hearing the angel feathers" or ""Knowing" that I was living and being in the presence of total and complete LOVE" or "An electric moment, like moving out from behind a jet engine into a sound proof room, the silence is so deafening".
The analogy that I have used, derived from a discussion of the dynamic of a Karate Master, expresses just one of the realities that I perceive on the subject, and are true to that extent only. They only help me to view the dynamics of the perception. If they become a truth for you or a reality that you can perceive and use, all well and good. Use the perception until it no longer suits your purpose. If not, then you are totally free to disclaim it, modify it, argue about it, tear it up, proclaim it false, or throw it in the garbage can, whatever suits your fancy. -- Love and Peace, Barefoot
We have all heard the dictum "Be Still and Know That I Am God". Well, Okay, what is it that we are talking about? How do we do it? What is it? Huh? Help? I am powerless to convey in words what it is I KNOW, but I am going to try anyhow. No one else that I know in or out of AA has been any more adept at describing the effect, or ever been able to properly explain the dynamics of the "Secret" to my entire satisfaction, and of course I haven't either, or I wouldn't be making this attempt now.
This phenomena that occurs when "Being Still and Knowing That I Am God" has occurred many times for me in the past years as I have been involved in the work of AA, i.e., the practice of the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, and especially the 11th Step in meditation after 12th Step work. In remembering the effect of it, I could think that I would like to be in that state forever, but I know I cannot, for I am still human with much to learn about my spiritual beingness.
In the practice of the 12 Steps, I came to and I came to believe, and the truth of the first 11 words of the 12th step "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps" occurred. This "awakening" is not mine alone. As far as I can tell it occurs for everyone who learns to apply the 12 Steps to their life, in one manner or another. The means by which or the manner in which one perceives the truth is of no consequence, only that one's truth is perceived.
Some beginners learn sooner than I did that instruction alone, without work, does not produce the results promised. So, after a few weeks, without working at it, they quit in discouragement, returning to whatever it was they were doing before. Those who persevere, it seems to me, were oblivious to the contradiction between words and action. They, like myself, assumed that the fault was theirs for failing to understand. Like a blind old horse, they persisted blindly, working at it until they absorbed a satisfying competence from prolonged contact, much as through osmosis, much as one can learn to dance with a willing partner without analyzing the STEPS.
Continued observation has revealed to me that the difference between the winner and the average member is not superior effort, stronger will, or special techniques. POWER is produced by the COORDINATION of THOUGHT and of CONSCIOUSNESS. The winner develops overwhelming strength of purpose, tireless endurance, and effortless practice because he directs all his thoughts into one drive, instead of dissipating his energies in random thoughts. This can be seen in the comparison of newcomers and successful old timers, the "WINNERS". The newcomer jerks all over the place, or is so rigid from the maelstrom of his thoughts that the question arises "Should we send for the coroner now?", while the winner moves through life quietly and gently, wearing the knowingness of "Higher Power" like a warm and loving shawl, forever safe within its folds.
Once this first insight of "coordination" had been gained as the "secret" of generating spiritual power, another difference of a Higher Order became apparent between ordinary winners and the "Legendary Mystic Masters". It is very easy to become religious when something like this "Enlightenment" first happens. You let your hair grow long, avoid sexual temptation, and go squatting in the wilderness, seeking the Godhead whence this power seems to emanate.
Closer analysis, proven by oftentimes clumsily experiencing the phenomenon, reveals that the Masters thoughts move in contradiction to what others see and what they believe they experience in his presence and sometimes in contradiction to what he himself thinks that he sees and believes. The Master's thoughts move neither swiftly nor sluggishly, but at a constant acceleration, akin to a state of not-quite free fall. His thoughts and actions are not made to exert force on his partners, but to induce them to follow him without exertion or sudden lunges. Even when changing direction, the Master's thoughts and actions always circle with this constant acceleration. He controls not by driving but by directing his attitude toward Life.
No matter how forcefully or erratically Life approaches him, there is some portion of Life that is moving at the same velocity as the Master. In other words, there is a point of contact with Life where there is No Relative Motion. That point of contact is "Now", in GOD's Moment in Eternity. The Master, therefore, can reach out and take hold of Life without any exertion of force or effort, without being forced off balance. The Masters thoughts and actions appear leisurely because his acceleration is constant and there is little velocity difference between him and Life.
This ability to control the point of contact with Life, the point of balance, is the mental power by which the Master wins. Once an individual loses his point of balance with Life, his strength is overwhelmed, and he is forced to follow whither he is led, until the whip is snapped.
"Losers" do not see the drive that throws them, not because it is too swift for the eye to detect or the mind to follow, but because it never happened. The power drive, their own, that throws them, is hallucinated so that the preconceptions about the way things should happen are maintained, and a mental block develops to prevent further examination of the evidence.
The mental block is produced not only in the "losers" mind, but in that of all the spectators to his life so that a mass delusion of mysterious transcendental power is created, while all efforts to explain it are sub-consciously misdirected to some "evil" power, i.e., the power of Satan or the like. When the real dynamics are revealed, they are vehemently denied by all authorities, because fundamental concepts informing us about the way the universe is supposed to unfold must never be challenged; a charge of insanity is raised against anyone who dares to question authorized "truths". I find it interesting that the word Satan is derived from the Aramaic word "satah" or "stahah" which means quite literally "that which causes us to miss the intended mark at which we were aiming" and also "ego or false pride". I find it built into myself as my natural ego defense mechanism which tells me that I cannot possibly be wrong. Insofar as it is natural, it must therefore have a God given purpose. As nearly as I can perceive, the purpose is to protect me from injury from perceived danger. The problem that arises here is that my perceptions are warped by past injuries, and my reactions are not apropos to the present situation but to the past trauma. I am a victim of my own flinch, however much I may not want to be, and, until I clear the wreckage of the past in its' entirety I will continue to experience the flinch to some extent.
Even the Masters are a part of this conspiracy to deny the evidence, because the Masters' ability to conform his thoughts and actions with Life depends on his confidence and belief that they will work. Unless a Master understands the dynamics, he believes he has a divine spirit on his side, and quite naturally, Masters who believe in a divine spirit don't want to have their beliefs disturbed. It is less disturbing to accept a dichotomy between the apparent reality and the spiritual reality and let the spiritual phenomena go unexplained.
A person who studies this phenomena, without capitulating to awe, will find that there is nothing supernatural about the spiritual power generated by the Master. It is merely natural, and the rightful inheritance of all of God's Children. It is truly a gift, but one which requires work and concerted action on the part of the receiver.
At the point of balance in the swings of the pendulum of Life, when the Master preempts that point, he is standing on solid ground and Life cannot throw him. All the Master has to do is let go and let the divine spirit do the rest. The spectacular flips, slips and slides of those who miss the point and continue to hold on to the past are a sight to behold. I have observed some of them really "flying".
Once I saw what was really going on behind this subtle mastery, there seemed no reason to me to consign one's self to the years of self-mortification that seemed to limit proficiency to members of the First Estate. But as I was trying to practice what I was learning, it soon became evident that there is more to generating spiritual momentum than the whammy that passeth all understanding. In throwing out all the mystical discipline as empty packaging, I was too hasty.
In order to concentrate all thoughts and actions into a single direction, at a single point in space, at a single instant in time, all thoughts and actions must be coordinated and consistent. The Master understands, quite correctly, that mental training is the basis for this kind of thought control and mental discipline develops this power much better and easier than blind grunt and sweat. The development of a fully organized and conscious mind, in fact, is the secret of a successful power in every human endeavor. Physical training at the combat of Life is merely the crudest system to exercise the minds of people not sufficiently conscious to get their act together by less strenuous discipline. Sport is meditation for sweatheads.
Ah, So! Coordination is the secret of Spiritual Power. How does one develop this coordination? If the would be Master is to develop precision of action and spiritual power, the brain must learn to produce coherent thoughts. So the proper question is, "How does the brain learn to produce coherent thoughts?"
How can a sponsor get into the newcomer's brain to adjust the thought distributor and its timing to stay in the NOW? My thought distributor and timing were like that of an old wore out car, with burnt out points, fouled plugs, a cracked cap, half the wires going to the wrong plugs or missing altogether, and at least three teeth missing from the timing gear. To effect the repair I can still hear Tex saying "Practice the Steps, *#@*", or "Don't think past your next heartbeat", or "Just do the next indicated thing." and "Don't worry about yesterday or tomorrow, they ain't happening now." And Jimmy saying "It doesn't matter what you think, say or feel, the only thing that counts is what you do.".
Unless there is a willingness on the newcomer's part to follow simple instructions and take action, there is no practical value to this discovery of the "Secret" and training to cope with Life must remain what it always has been - nothing more than a system for sorting out those naturally tuned into the "transcendent spirit" from the rest of us rendered weak by internal static, loose wires and short circuits.
We know from our own experience that the thought impulses generated in a persons nervous system are tuned to the game of Life that he is playing and which buttons are being pushed. Therefore there must be a natural TIMEKEEPER in the game of life to provide feedback to the brain so that the mind can tell the body what actions to take and when. What could it be?
Most sponsors merely repeat "Watch your timing, stay in the NOW," while newcomers quit in frustration, not knowing how or being able to tell time.
However, newcomers who persist in trying, begin to practice the steps more smoothly when they reach a certain stage of fatigue and are willing to surrender. This commonplace observation has led many sponsors to exhaust their protégés deliberately, as soon as possible, in order to bring about this state of efficiency. If the newcomer practices long enough in this state of relaxed exhaustion, smoother thoughts and actions become habitual. What happens is that fatigue reduces the newcomer's drive to exert HIMSELF (EGO), the body's thoughts and actions slow down until they coincide with the universe. At this point the thoughts and actions move freely without any more exertion than the minimum to maintain dynamic balance. This is why early morning meetings during Alkathons tend to be more open minded and honest, because everybody is too tired to keep up the walls of their ego defense mechanism.
The natural wisdom of Life is to reduce exertion, especially when one is sick and tired of being sick and tired. Fatigue is the natural stimulator of this wisdom. Therefore, the brain can be taught to accelerate or retard the tempo of its thoughts in order to maintain exertion at the lowest feasible level in the circumstances. We all are searching for the easier softer way! And we have found it through the practice of the 12 Steps of AA! Prior to Bill and Bob the savants of society consigned us alcoholics to the scrap heap, believing that we fell down because it was our nature to do so. The introduction of the teachings of AA and the 12 Steps is so revolutionary, flying in the face of common belief, that this one idea alone is sufficient to exterminate alcoholism and many other "isms". Such is the power of a fundamental concept when its time has come!
Each stage of proficiency in any art is established by the development of a certain degree of coordination between body, mind and soul. Coordination means that mental and spiritual awareness expands from the defined limits of the material body to include the surrounding space. This is the true meaning and intent of the injunction to regard others as extensions of ourselves, and the source of the AA saying to "Work with others and stay out of yourself". Coordination is therefore the essence of Rigorous Honesty, where each thought, feeling and action are consistent, each one with the others.
Just as there are many degrees of coordination in the movements of the limbs, with each degree yielding a commensurate amount of bodily power, there are many degrees of coordination between one's body, mind and soul and the surrounding space, each degree yielding a commensurate amount of spiritual power. The secret of coordinating the arms with the legs is called "timing". Likewise, the secret of coordinating one's body, mind and soul with the surrounding space, so that you "go with the flow" is also a matter of timing.
The TIMEKEEPER is the internal Higher Power which each individual finds deep down within themself. In fact it is their SELF. Someone else said something like this about 2000 years ago.
The realization that Life cannot injure us as long as we go at the same speed and in the same direction, is the essence of "Be Still and Know That I AM GOD". In this manner we each discover the state of stillness that appears when there is NO RELATIVE MOTION of OPPOSITION between ourselves and LIFE.
To a degree, a demonstration of this still point can be experienced while driving in the center lane of a crowded freeway, where you can enter the "still point of the dance", up until somebody stops paying attention, wrecks or stabs the brakes, and then it becomes chaos, and anything but still. At the still point, you can pass things back and forth from one car to the other, hold conversations, etc., and actually grab hold of the handle of the other car. However, don't attempt to hold on if there is any difference of motion, as it will rip you apart! Does this sound familiar?
One day, in meditation after a 12 Step call, a moment of absolute stillness of thought occurred for me, and my mind blew with an experience of Enlightenment and time slowed down. As time slows down, all the movements of surrounding space are sensed as movements of ones own mind and body, so that a strange sense of knowing what is going to happen is experienced and the STILLNESS is the very ecstasy of the "Dance of Life". I knew for an absolute certainty that I would never again have to take another drink of alcohol as long as I lived unless I myself insisted on it!
If absolute stillness is touched, it is common to break into tears of ecstasy, saying or thinking that "The Man Upstairs Gave Me a Boost" or something of the like. The same tears of ecstasy overflow in people who are relieved of their afflictions by divine healing. In whatever manner the wild pendulum is trapped at its still point, the experience of Enlightenment is so awesome that everyone who realizes it can only believe a communication with a Divine Intelligence has transpired. In fact, this is exactly what has happened. What conventional wisdom calls a God Consciousness is really an expansion of the mind, beyond time and space, as defined by the prevailing concepts of reality.
Enlightenment is not a rare phenomenon confined to the lunatic fringe, although we may sound loony when we try to describe the experience. It frequently occurs in normal, happy, and productive people, who are not so foolish as to tell a psychiatrist about it. The more Enlightenment people experience, the happier, the more productive, and the better adjusted they become. As we have been told for most of our lives, ENLIGHTENMENT IS THE NORMAL STATE OF A WHOLE HUMAN BEING.
Successful Masters in the pursuit of this state have called the divine revelation "the religious experience", "the peak experience", "the flow". The next generation will introduce new terms to describe the experience, thereby introducing a confusion factor that will multiply without anyone being the wiser. No one is supposed to become wiser, because the cultural imperative is that the left brain shall not know what the right brain is doing. This is a natural cultural development of the evolution of the mind from the uni-cameral mind of the past to the bi-cameral mind of the present technological day. In examining writings of the long ago past, I find that mankind, because of the uni-camerality of mind in those ancient cultures, did truly hear and communicate with the gods, i.e. we find such statements as "And then the Lord said to Isaiah". This, confusedly and without understanding, has been carried forward into the present where culturally it is not permissible to "Speak with the gods" and anyone proclaiming to do so is promptly confined to a straight-jacket.
The ENLIGHTENMENT is the LOVING SPIRITUAL ORGASM resulting from the psychic union of the two cerebral male/female hemispheres, the left and the right. Outside this state of loving spiritual matrimony, a person is not less than human, but is certainly less than whole, and far from divine. For myself, and I am not alone in this, I found that it is accompanied by an awareness of a great white light and a KNOWINGNESS about myself and my relationship with my Creator. I do not find it strange that the word "enlightenment" exactly describes the process. (Before enlightenment, I was always trying to create myself for my own purposes, forgetting that I had been created by the Universal Spirit for His Purpose, He in my life and me in His, whatever that is to be. And You Know What A Mess of Myself that I Created.)
In reaching the point of absolute stillness, most would assume that all thought and action would cease, right? Wrong! What happens when a person taps into this condition is that all randomness of thought and action ceases. The critical condition is not "thought" or "action", but "random". In the state of Enlightenment thought and action still exist, it is the randomness of thought and action that ceases and the Master resonates in harmony with the Universe. Enlightenment is merely a stage in the evolution of humankind.
Conventional wisdom believes the evolution of the human body is completed in the maternity ward. This is simply not so. We continue to evolve from infantile dependency to adult interdependence, and each person experiences, concurrently, the entire sequence of socio-spiritual evolution. Evolution of the human species is not complete with sexual maturity either. The entire human race is a species in gestation in the biospherical womb of Mother Earth. We are not completely human until we have been delivered from this planet to a location, that for lack of better understanding or language, we call Heaven.
Each stage in our evolution raises the individual from isolation and impotence, and raises him into a social body, the placenta of our Terrestrial Womb. When the social body matures to a stage sufficient to conceive and support a critical mass of perfect holy men in one generation, the entire species will be transformed in a final metamorphosis of humanity and all members of the social body will share a common consciousness. The experience of sharing a common consciousness is exactly the same as the experience of two healthy brain hemispheres sharing the same mind - the left brain knows what the right brain is doing - mutual extensions of each other. When everyone in society experiences each other as extensions of themselves, there can be no war, no poverty, virtually no dis-ease, and everyone will be blissed-out as they were in the myths of Paradise before the Fall. This ideal society is the promise of premature prophets, but the promise shall come to pass, if we don't abort civilization before delivery at full term.
Does an immortal society, sharing a community consciousness, strike you as impossible? Well, it is already beginning to happen. However, there is still some wreckage of the past which needs to be cleaned up and all 12 of the Steps will require diligent and continued practice. All that we have to do is expand our minds into the higher planes of spiritual reality. Like discovering a new world from the altitude of an airplane, all that changes is our point of view.
All the commonness of life, the passing time, events and "things" that we see dancing before our minds in this world we live in are really cross sections of our true spiritual entity. In other words, our personal body is merely a cross section of an eternal Godlike being that has infinite other cross sections manifest in this reality that we perceive, bounded by matter, energy, space and time. Our entire life can be represented by the projection of our spiritual "cross section" continuously extended through time. We have inherited from our father a higher plane of consciousness which enables us to review the past and contemplate the probable futures of alternative actions.
We are informed by this higher plane consciousness with an instinctive hunger to know about the higher dimensions of spiritual reality. This instinctive curiosity is the mental expression of the presently undeveloped organ of consciousness that attains full maturity with the direct perception of our true entity. The perception of our whole Godlike entity is the spiritual destiny of each individual, just as procreation is the carnal destiny of most children, and sexual curiosity is the mental expression of immature sex organs.
Peace of mind, serenity and a sense of oneness are the first order of Heaven. To perceive these is to arrive on the ground floor of God's kingdom.
A world without war, poverty, misery or death sounds like Paradise, doesn't it? Well, I've got some news for you. Paradise is not a playground where carnal desires can be indulged without stint. Holy men don't have carnal desires! Paradise is a hardworking school of mind where worlds are designed, constructed, populated and governed. Paradise, in fact, is where each of the architects of the multitude of universes becomes totally answerable and responsible for the creation of his own universe. Profits and losses are audited. Efficient creators get promoted, while those who are not are put back in training pants (they still continue to shit themselves). All the people pounding on the Pearly Gates for admission are like teeny-boppers, believing that adults have nothing better to do all day but spend money, tool around in flashy cars, and swing with sexual license.
What is life like in Heaven? Well, arriving in Heaven is just like growing up, leaving school and starting your first job - the "fun and games" are over. You realize that there is no Santa Claus, your parents are tired of supporting you, and you have to meet the cost of living and take responsibility for your own life. In other words, Heaven is where you pick up the buck. The way to Heaven is not by meditations, prayers, and devotions. You arrive in heaven the instant you pick up the buck, and take action to avoid or eliminate anything that has Life damaging consequences, and action to gain that which enhances your true spiritual life.
A lot of people think that Heaven is getting room service, instead of serving - THAT IS THE HELL OF IT. What you may think about it has nothing to do with it, THE ONLY THING THAT COUNTS IS WHAT YOU DO.
The REAL work of being Human, of HEAVEN, begins by carrying a message of LOVE, HOPE and PEACE through SERVICE to ALL your brothers and sisters in THIS WORLD.
Love and Peace, Barefoot
As in so many things, especially with we alcoholics, our History is our Greatest Asset!.. We each arrived at the doors of A.A. with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work" .. Today, In A.A. and In Recovery, Our History has added an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That DO Work!!" and We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it!!
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On the Web March, 2007
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Three mighty important things, Pardn'r, LOVE And PEACE and SOBRIETY