Process of Subtraction

Process of Subtraction

(Love more than Judge)

Attending my weekly morning meditation group I was overjoyed to see an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while stepping in for the regular facilitator. A guy with a good few years in the Program, he has a way of saying things and giving off this very calm vibe that most if not all people pick up on. He wanted to convey a message to the group before settling into meditation. A message of how things where once very different. He described a situation he found himself in many years ago when he first got sober. He was out in Canada working on a farm. It was winter, the snow was deep and they were subtracting syrup from the maple trees. His job was to go round the trees, collect each bucket when it was full, take it to some kind of boiler, then after emptying them return each one back to the tree. He was frustrated and angry each time he fell on his face or sank to the waist. It was hard work. He was red in the face and constantly cursing, getting more tired and frustrated as each minute passed.

Then something happened. At the point of giving up and walking off he heard the sound of the syrup hitting the bucket, all at once, then picking out each individual tree. He described a scene of deep tranquility, solitude, and a wonderment of what was actually going on around him.

Recovery is such a beautifully powerful Journey, but its a double edged sword just like the scene our friend paints of his time in Canada. It is by no coincidence that I spend the majority of my waking moments working the 6th & 7th Steps! Humans ya gotta love them!! The world is fully populated by sick people, Im one of them. The problem is that once I became aware of that then my own defects (which I had remained blind to for 41 years) where mirrored back to me by people who are totally oblivious to the soul sickness that sweeps our species. Buddha was asked… “What have you gained in all your years of meditation? He replied – ‘Nothing! But let me tell you what I’ve lost… Ego, Anger, Resentment, Hatred, Self-Criticism, Self-Pity and Fear’

The joy of working the 12th Step, helping another is an incredible experience. Watching as the penny starts to drop. Listening as they describe what they can see as if its the first time, that gradual awakening process and then –  Booom!! I remember it well, that instant desire to share this with the world, all those other sick fucks.

I slow things down and we take a look around!!!

Bringing into the conversation what it says so simply in Chapter 5… “We are not saints.” Explaining to the new comer that this is my 12th Step, Im doing it for me. Im the still sick and suffering. 

Learning to accept who I am along with all my faults and shortcomings wouldn’t be possible if I then thought the process had rendered me whiter than snow and I had the right to Judge others.

I may not be, and God willing I will never (Just for Today) again be that crazy lunatic powered by self will run riot, anaesthetising the pain of unmanageability with copious amounts of drink and drugs, caring not one bit about who got caught in the crossfire.. But until I took the 1st Step in its entirety then I had every right to do that! Not very responsible, but then again I wasn’t the responsible type. I didn’t know any better! People may have pointed this out, Im not too sure how many, I wasn’t really listening!

The point is (We are willing to grow along spiritual lines) that this process of change I have went through (With the help of others and guidance from something much Greater than myself) and am still going through one day at a time, as wonderful as it is, has at times been incredibly painful. I’ve had more than one relapse, none of them where down to me wanting to drink. But the flip side of this is I’ve learned to love myself, I’m comfortable in my own skin at last (well most of the time). So if I deserve to reserve Judgement on myself after everything that happened during that long former life time, then why wouldn’t others be just as deserving of my forgiveness and compassion? Remembering always what the first 100 so Majestically put down on paper… “Perhaps they too are spiritually sick!

No one can get rid of the spirit of judgement by an effort of the will ~ Paul Tournier

People suffer because they are caught in their views. As soon as we release those views, we are free and we don’t suffer anymore ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Its a process of subtraction ~ Greg C

D&O in Fresno


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