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One of the many terms for Spiritual Practice is "avodah", a word from hebrew. It is also a synonym for "work" or "discipline."
Spirituality is a Discipline.
When people say to me, "I'm a spiritual person," they often mean that they treasure some vague feeling of connection with God, nature, or humanity, that is most often divorced from any behavioral obligation.
The disembodied spirituality so often spoken about by those who do not practice any spiritual discipline rarely obligates them to anything, and often excuses the grossest behavior. We have witnessed this many times, in ourselves and in others.
Spirituality is not a feeling, nor is it vague. Spirituality is a conscious practice of living out the highest ethical ideals in the concreteness of our everyday life, and it is that continued practice that brings the awakening of our own spirit into a conscious contact with our Higher Power.
The Program of Alcoholics Anonymous in not a religion, it is a Spiritual Discipline. The conscious practice of the principles of the 12 Steps and their virtues of Honesty, Hope, Faith, Courage, Integrity, Willingness, Humility, Brotherly Love, Justice, Perseverance, Prayer and Meditation, and Service to One Another, in all our daily affairs is a Spiritual Discipline requiring rigorous honesty and perseverance, and a responsibility to our fellows, to our Higher Power, each as we understand or don't understand it, and to ourselves. The various 12 Step Program are a mode of living out our daily lives Sober, one day at a time, under the rigor of a Spiritual Discipline, which may or may not be addressed by any particular religion to which a person adheres.
As I have stated before, prior to coming into A.A. I had had contact with religion, but had no spirituality or understanding of it. (I was a drunk and was very much undisciplined.) As a drunk I had attended many different churches with many different congregations, in hopes of getting something right, but it made no sense to me, I could not discipline myself. And of course, as a result of my lack of discipline, of trust, of understanding and of faith, it didn't work for me. There was no end of frustration and despair, because I could see it working for others, and had not the discipline to do what they did, so that it would work for me.
On coming to the spiritual program of Alcoholics Anonymous, my confusion was such that I finally asked one of my sponsors, a clever old man: "What is the difference between religion and spirituality?"
He said: "Bob, let's put your particular concept of the creator aside for a moment, and compare the difference between religion and spirituality. The way I see it, religion is man made by man to suit the needs of man. Religion talks the talk, and the Discipline of Spirituality walks the walk. In spirituality we honor the existence of all creation including ourself. As we practice the Spiritual Discipline of the 12 principles in all our affairs, we are walking the talk..."
Now that makes sense to me, now I can walk the talk of my religion (or the lack of it) by practicing the 12 principles in all aspects of my life, and know that I am on the Spiritual Path, the Good Red Road of Life, that this day shall be one of Grace and Gratitude, that I may know peace and be content, Sober-minded and Fully Alive to the Sufficiency of God's Grace, and the Generosity of our Earth Mother.
The Daily Practice of the 12 Principles WORKS,
It really does!!!
As in so many things, especially with we alcoholics, our History is our Greatest Asset!.. We each arrived at the doors of AA with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work" .. Today, In AA 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!!
KEEP COMING BACK!
On the Web OCt 5, 2002 in the Spirit of Cooperation
Three mighty important things, Pardn'r, LOVE And PEACE and SOBRIETY