Tag Archives: higher power

Killing Buddha: Reflections from Clouds in Water

Last December, when I learned that Clouds in Water Zen Center in St. Paul, Minnesota would host the 6th Annual Buddhism and 12-Step Retreat, I immediately began making plans to attend.  It was with great anticipation that I boarded a plane on March 7 and flew to the Land of 10,000 Lakes for the 3-day retreat.  What follows are my initial thoughts and reflections from this remarkable event; but first, some background information is in order…

A panoramic shot of the zendo at Clouds in Water

Upon reaching the 8th Step last summer, I had made substantial progress in freeing myself of the closed-mindedness towards spiritual matters that had previously blocked my recovery.  Leading up to that point, while working the 3rd Step, I had come across Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and for the first time felt that I could honestly trust the process of recovery — an experience which I wrote about in an essay entitled An Appeal for Pantheism.  However, as I moved forward with the work of Steps 4 through 7, further spiritual investigation was forestalled in favor of Albert Ellis’ rational approach to cognitive restructuring.  Ellis’ techniques proved practical and effective.  But as I began to consider the 8th Step, I was drawn back to the search for a spiritual underpinning from which I could make sense of the amends process which I was about to undertake.  It was time for me to face, once and for all, the deep-seeded shame and resentment which had fueled my addiction.  And so, the search for a spiritual antidote to these problems resurfaced.

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An Appeal for Pantheism

Current models of recovery emphasize a holistic approach to treatment in an effort to address all aspects of the disease of addiction which include the physical; the mental/emotional; and the spiritual components.  Treatment methods geared at promoting abstinence through cognitive/behavioral therapies are widely accepted as necessary and effective in recovery.  On the other hand, treatment approaches which also incorporate spiritual growth and development give rise to much controversy and confusion.

In recovery meetings, spirituality and religion are sometimes difficult to distinguish.

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My Personal Second Step

STEP 2:  We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

The belief I found in Step Two gives me hope for recovery.

While the First Step left me in a position of  defeat and subsequent surrender, it is in the Second Step that I am given the opportunity to embrace the hope of recovery.  It is now that I can begin to shift my beliefs from reliance on self to reliance on a way of living that has proven to bring peace and happiness in the lives of others.  Taking the Second Step gave me the opportunity to explore the insanity of my addiction, the concept of belief, the potential for my  own restoration to sanity, and to begin to conceive of a power, or powers, greater than myself.

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