Each morning, I’m part of a group SMS text of men in the A.A. Fellowship. I thought I would share my entry this morning because it hit me really hard and was a great reminder for me…. God Bless!
I was reading one of my morning meditations this morning I got in my inbox and it was titled, “Trusting Our Inner Authority.”
It was directed to a specific group of people (NOT members of AA), but I took and read it as if it were written to us:
“The two wheels of the Big Book and Tradition can be seen as sources of outer authority, while our personal experience leads to our inner authority. I am convinced we need and can have both. Only when inner and outer authority come together do we have true spiritual wisdom.
“Relationship” in most of A.A. history has somewhat relied upon outer authority. But we must now be honest about the value of inner experience, which of course was at work all the time.
Information from outer authority is not necessarily transformation, and we need genuinely transformed people (“personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism”) today, not just people with answers. I do not want my words in these meditations to separate anyone from their own astonishment or to provide them with a substitute for their own inner experience. “Authority figures” have done that for far too many. Rather, I hope my words—written or spoken—simply invite readers on their own inner journey rather than become a replacement for it.
I am increasingly convinced that the word prayer, which has become a functional and pious thing for believers to do, was meant to be a descriptor and an invitation to inner experience. When spiritual teachers invite us to “pray,” they are in effect saying, “Go inside and know for yourself!” The chief thing that separates us from God is the thought that we are separated from [God]. If we get rid of that thought, our troubles will be greatly reduced. We fail to believe that we are always with God and that [God] is part of every reality. The present moment, every object we see, our inmost nature are all rooted in [God]. But we hesitate to believe this until our personal experience gives us the confidence to believe in it. . . . God constantly speaks to us through each other as well as from within. The interior experience of God’s presence activates our capacity to perceive [the divine] in everything else—in people, in events, in nature. We may enjoy union with God in any experience of the external senses as well as in prayer.
A practice of slowing down, of reflection, of asking “big questions” about our desires, our wounds, our values, and our relationships helps us to discover and trust in the truth and authority that lies within us. The purpose of our relationships in A.A. is not to attach us to someone wiser than ourselves—the guru, the great guide, the spiritual master, the sponsor. The purpose of spiritual direction is to enable us to become spiritually-fit ourselves.”