Saturday, 14 April 2012

Resentment, planning, and the failure of self

'Resentment is the "number one" offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick.' (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 64)

This is a bold statement.

How could it be true?

Resentment is the result of having a plan for the universe (for me and for you) which the universe (you and I) does not live up to.

No plan, no resentment. I often discover I have a plan only when I become upset. In fact, becoming upset is a sure sign I have a plan.

So, plans lead to resentment (upset).

Why is this the root of all spiritual disease?

My responses to resentment are as follows:
(1) Stew in a mind-mess, divorced from reality, unable to engage usefully in the world and missing everything it has to offer, trapped in my goldfish bowl bubble, separate from God, and separate from you, surrounded by hellish visions of my own mis-creation.
(2) Retaliate (to punish the universe for failing to live up to my plan).
(3) Manipulate and control (to force the world to live up to my plan).
(4) Scheme (i.e. make up a new plan).

Furthermore, I take the failure of my plan as a personal failure, so I feel guilt and shame.

(2) and (3) result in harm to others, which adds to the guilt and shame.

Since my present is screwed (because of (1)–(4) above plus guilt and shame), I am frightened, which is only the sure knowledge that, if nothing changes, nothing changes: inside I know that this state of affairs, despite my scheming, will persist for ever, and the fear is simply a projection forward of current unhappiness.

The purpose of Steps Four and Five is to lay bare the bankruptcy of this system. If I have any illusion that a life run on self-will is going to succeed, Steps Four and Five have failed and I might as well drink, because all I will do is recreate the problem in another form.

So, it is clear that resentment is the root of all spiritual disease.

But what is the root of resentment?

Planning. Also known as playing God.

Once I have confessed and made amends, my job is to avoid self-will (the minute, self-based, ego-driven plans for my own aggrandisement) in favour of seeking God's will (health, happiness, harmony, love, joy, peace, and connection, through means and channels I allow God to show me).

No plan, no resentment. No resentment, no stewing, no retaliation, no manipulation, no control, no scheming, no fear. Bingo! Jackpot!

This is all laid out clearly in our book, Alcoholics Anonymous, for which I am therefore very grateful.

'First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most Good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom. When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well.' (Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 62–63)

1 comment:

patritruman said...

I - [resentment] - Light.

Light = Freedom. Resentments, as seen in the above sentence, are blocking the light/freedom. They don't "help" the blocks "get there". They ARE the blocks.