PP 54-55 We Agnostics (The Great Reality)

The book Alcoholics Anonymous, aka The Big Book, is the basic text for the AA program of sobriety. "Alcoholics Anonymous" Copyright 2012 AAWS, Inc. All Rights, Reserved. Short excerpts used by permission of AAWS
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Karl R
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PP 54-55 We Agnostics (The Great Reality)

Post by Karl R » Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:20 am

Good Morning all,

A prayer for beginning.

"God, I offer myself to Thee--to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!"

Yesterday we looked at crossing the bridge of reason to the shore of faith.

Today's reading looks at what we worship. One definition of worship is 'ardent devotion, adoration'. When I was drinking the only thing I worshiped was what made me feel good. If work was rewarding and that made me feel good-that was what I was devoted to. If something in family life was rewarding and made me feel good-that was what I was devoted to and worshiped. Finally, the only thing that made me feel good was drinking.
I was totally devoted to it-I worshiped it's effects.

The fundamental idea of a higher power is obscured by the worship of these other things in our mind. Moving from worship of other things to the idea of a higher power? some phrases from the last paragraphs---

search fearlessly
sweep away prejudice
think honestly,
search diligently within yourself

Anyone care to share of their ES and H on finding the Great Reality within themselves and joining on the broad highway?

cheers,
Karl

We found, too, that we had been worshippers. What a state of mental goose-flesh that used to bring on! Had we not variously worshipped people, sentiment, things, money, and ourselves? And then, with a better motive, had we not worshipfully beheld the sunset, the sea, or a flower? Who of us had not loved something or somebody? How much did these feelings, these loves, these worships, have to do with pure reason? Little or nothing, we saw at last. Were not these things the tissue out of which our lives were constructed? Did not these feelings, after all, determine the course of our existence? It was impossible to say we had no capacity for faith, or love, or worship. In one form or another we had been living by faith and little else.
Imagine life without faith! Were nothing left but pure reason, it wouldn't be life. But we believed in life - of course we did. We could not prove life in the sense that you can prove a straight line is the shortest distance between two points, yet, there it was. Could we still say the whole thing was nothing but a mass of electrons, created out of nothing, meaning nothing, whirling on to a destiny of nothingness? Of course we couldn't. The electrons themselves seemed more intelligent than that. At least, so the chemist said.
Hence, we saw that reason isn't everything. Neither is reason, as most of us use it, entirely dependable, though it emanate from our best minds. What about people who proved that man could never fly?
Yet we had been seeing another kind of flight, a spiritual liberation from this world, people who rose above their problems. They said God made these things possible, and we only smiled. We had seen spiritual release, but liked to tell ourselves it wasn't true.
Actually we were fooling ourselves, for deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. For faith in a Power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives, are facts as old as man himself.
We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us.
We can only clear the ground a bit. If our testimony helps sweep away prejudice, enables you to think honestly, encourages you to search diligently within yourself, then, if you wish, you can join us on the Broad Highway. With this attitude you cannot fail. The consciousness of your belief is sure to come to you.

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Post by jujub » Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:12 am

"We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us.
We can only clear the ground a bit. If our testimony helps sweep away prejudice, enables you to think honestly, encourages you to search diligently within yourself, then, if you wish, you can join us on the Broad Highway. With this attitude you cannot fail. The consciousness of your belief is sure to come to you."

this is my hope in doing a 4th step to the best of my ability. i do believe i will find that great reality--one that will solve my problem and evolve over time. i have a willingness to believe, but old ideas and old resentments, and old prejudices need to be replaced. that is my bottom line today--my old ideas didn't work.

judi, alcoholic

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Re: 10/5/08 BB We Agnostics pp 54-55 (The Great Reality)

Post by Karl R » Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:40 am

With this attitude you cannot fail
What's the attitude that's spoken of here? For me, it was a willingness to move beyond my own tiny finite world and look at the world around me and accept the evidence that The Great Reality does exist; at first in the world and the people around me; then finally within me. It became an empowering force where I had possessed none for a very long time.

So again, we come back to willingness to lay aside prejudices regarding The Great Reality, honesty in accepting it exists, and some dilegence in the search.

Life is about the quest---and surrendering to the Great Reality the "where" of where we end up! 8)

cheers,
Karl

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Re: PP 54-55 We Agnostics (The Great Reality)

Post by leejosepho » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:35 am

Without knowing it, had we not been brought to where we stood by a certain kind of faith ... abjectly faithful to the God of Reason. So, in one way or another, we discovered that faith had been involved all the time!

We found, too, that we had been worshippers ...
Is Bill just droning on while actually trying to persuade? Surely he must know there are people drumming the table with their fingers while waiting for this meeting to end. But for at least some of us, he is asking questions leading to further investigation we might have never considered on our own ...
Had we not variously worshipped people, sentiment, things, money, and ourselves? And then, with a better motive, had we not worshipfully beheld the sunset, the sea, or a flower? Who of us had not loved something or somebody? How much did these feelings, these loves, these worships, have to do with pure reason?
Bill's arguments for even just a little bit of willingness to believe God is real might seem even weaker today than back in '39, but never does he ever attack anyone over any of this. Rather, and in spite of anything, he just keeps laying what we have out for inspection:
Were not [our feelings, our loves, our worships] the tissue out of which our lives were constructed? Did not these feelings, after all, determine the course of our existence? It was impossible to say we had no capacity for faith, or love, or worship. In one form or another we had been living by faith and little else ...

Hence, we saw that reason isn't everything. Neither is reason, as most of us use it, entirely dependable, though it emanate from our best minds. What about people who proved that man could never fly?

Yet we had been seeing another kind of flight, a spiritual liberation from this world, people who rose above their problems. They said God made these things possible, and we only smiled. We had seen spiritual release, but liked to tell ourselves it wasn't true.
Personally, I have heard some very-strident atheists insist even my own "spiritual release" is just my imagination chasing sky fairies ... but they were not smiling at the time. Nevertheless:

"... he had, in effect, been raised from the dead, suddenly taken from the scrap heap to a level of life better than the best he had ever known!
"Had this power originated in him? Obviously it had not." (page 11)
Actually we [of agnostic temperament] were fooling ourselves, for deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. For faith in a Power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives, are facts as old as man himself.

We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us.
We do not all get there at Step Two, however, and that is another great thing about what we have here. When we get to Step Four and begin dealing with our inherent instincts, needs and "feelings" related to others, we find the idea of "God" far superior to anything science might yet have to offer. So ...
... think honestly ... search diligently ... [and] you cannot fail. The consciousness of your belief [there truly is a Power greater than human power] is sure to come to you.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: PP 54-55 We Agnostics (The Great Reality)

Post by PaigeB » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:28 am

We found the Great Reality deep down within us. (pg 55)
and
...we had to fully concede to our inner most selves...(pg 30
and
...tapped an unsuspected inner resource...Appendix II
But
...deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God
I think it is going too far to label the inner self, the unknown as "god" ...
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Re: PP 54-55 We Agnostics (The Great Reality)

Post by leejosepho » Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:36 am

PaigeB wrote:
We found the Great Reality deep down within us. (pg 55)
and
...we had to fully concede to our inner most selves...(pg 30
and
...tapped an unsuspected inner resource...Appendix II
But
...deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God
I think it is going too far to label the inner self, the unknown as "god" ...
Agreed. The "Great Reality" within us is simply our capacity for faith and worship and our awareness of need for having our natural instincts and desires satisfied by some kind of "good, orderly direction".
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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