Peoples Anonymous: Twelve-Steps To Heal Your life

Peoples Anonymous: Twelve-Steps To Heal Your life

by Lane


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504370493
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 01/18/2017
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.51(d)

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Peoples Anonymous

Twelve-Steps To Heal Your life

By Lane W.

Balboa Press

Copyright © 2017 Peoples Anonymous LLC
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5043-7049-3


Step One

We admitted we were powerless~that our lives had become unmanageable.

In its purest form, Step One is simply asking for Help.

In my weakness lies His strength. I believe this idea may have been the genesis of the inherent truth found in the First Step. No one likes the idea of powerlessness; nor do they usually initially desire to ask for help. Even more appalling is the idea that our lives have become unmanageable. But the First Step is not actually implying that we have no power — for assuredly, we humans have some power.

On one side of the spectrum might be the example of nuclear bombs. This destructive power could end the world. On the other hand is the power of love, a source of great strength, as demonstrated by the many influential souls who have come before us. The effect of this power in our world is significant. From Jesus to Buddha, Gandhi to Mohammed, Martin Luther King to Mother Teresa, and through countless other great masters, we have been shown the radical, transformative power of Love.

A year ago, my sister suddenly discovered that she had cancer. In the very instant the doctor looked her in the eyes and told her the diagnosis, she fully came to terms with her personal powerlessness. She didn't have to study the First Step to learn its meaning; she learned it the hard way. We may encounter external circumstances or crises that cause us to embrace our personal powerlessness; these could be — but are not limited to — divorce, financial difficulties, illness, death of a loved one, or some other type of loss.

We then begin to awaken to the truth that there are many things in our human experience over which we are utterly powerless. We also learn, usually by trial and error, that the more we try to force our will onto that over which we actually have no power, the more powerless we become. This futile exercise appears to be one of the main ingredients in the fundamental misconception causing most of the pain in the human experience: We are "victim[s] of the delusion that we can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if we only manage well" (BB, p. 61).

These moments of truth, disguised as difficulties, can bring us closer to recognizing that lack of power is ultimately our dilemma (BB. p. 45). We eventually come to realize that a power greater than ourselves is needed to bring about the desired result in this experience called life.

Radical Recovery begins as we practice the Shakespearean ideal, "To thine own self be true." Some of us have seized this summons like a life-preserver.

The first half of the First Step —"We admitted we were powerless" — is simply stating a fact, although it may be one of the least popular truths that underlie the human condition. Our ego rebels against this reality and will go to great extremes to deny it.

As we spin on a rock through space at approximately 67,000 miles per hour with a death sentence awaiting us, our ego tells us seductive lies. Especially when we are young, ten feet tall and bulletproof, it constantly whispers in our ear of its never-ending power and dominance over all things.

To the ego, the idea of powerlessness is blasphemy. This is in strict accord with the ego's basic doctrine, "Seek and do not find" (T-26. IV.1:4). The ego has us constantly looking for the power to overcome a given situation everywhere, except where the power actually lies. This useless search — looking for things where they're not — helps maintain the life of the ego, for connecting with real Power would mean we no longer need our old "friend." This discovery would ultimately ensure its demise. No one wants to die, especially our egos.

Let us take a moment to define our use of the word ego.

It is simply a false idea about who we are, born shortly after we take our first breath. We come into this world exactly as we were Created: eternal spiritual beings, pure reflections of our Source. Way too soon, our egos spring forth, informing us that we are temporal beings — that we are guilty, that we are vulnerable, and even that we can die. As the ego grows stronger, one of its greatest fallacies is to convince us to spend our lives chasing paper with green ink on it (money), persuading us that it actually has value and is worthy of spending a life in its pursuit. The ego is constantly misleading us by causing us to value the valueless. Its mission is to have us look for things where they are not, thereby ensuring its survival.

The first half of the First Step is a shot across the bow, giving the ego notice that the gig is up. It is the beginning of the end of the fallacy of our personal omnipotence.

The ego would have us believe that admitting personal poweriessness is a sign of weakness or cowardice, whereas in truth, it is a formal invitation to the Great power.

When we humbly and honestly acknowledge our powerlessness, we gain access to His Strength. Call it the price of admission to stop living a self-propelled life and begin a deeper journey that is divinely guided.

For instance, as we become more honest with ourselves, we may uncover the fact that we do not even have the power to move our little fingers. If you think, move, little finger, and you are fortunate, it may move. However, most of us cannot explain how this happens. Somehow, the food you consumed earlier is converted into the energy you now use to move your finger. But you do not control your access to that power.

Simple lessons like these in self-honesty are very helpful in the beginning. As we realize how little we know about things, like the working of our own hands, we become less interested in running the world or micromanaging the lives of others. Even scientists who have studied physiology and biology for decades cannot explain the miracle of the human body. Some of us still wonder Who or what connected these thousands of miles of nerves and veins so perfectly.

Honesty is the spiritual principle of the First Step.

When we get rigorously honest with ourselves, we realize that we do not have the power necessary to attain the true desires of our hearts. Astonishingly though, the instant that admission is made, the Power begins to flow freely into our lives. We begin to overcome difficulties large and small that we were unable to surmount before. It is true that once we connect to the Power, this is only the beginning. There is work and still more work. We must learn to maintain, utilize, and allow the Power to transform our lives.

Admitting my personal powerlessness is one of the hardest things I have ever done. The idea of surrender contradicted everything I had been taught and was in direct opposition to all the ideas I had accepted on my way to becoming an adult. After all, my dear father had always said: "If there's a will, there's a way." The Sicilians and Vietnam veterans who deeply influenced my younger years made it clear: "Surrender is not part of the curriculum!" So, I refused, or was unable to admit, glass in hand, that I could not beat this thing!

Why humans have such a strong urge to fight their way through problems is likely tied to the survival instinct. If I were fighting a bear, that instinct would be extremely helpful, but using the fight-or-flight response to run my life and manage my affairs turned out to be catastrophic. The Power to heal my life had to come through me rather than from me. The key to my new life was unconditional surrender to a Power greater than myself.

Once, I was in a sweat lodge. This is a Native American spiritual practice during which you get on your hands and knees and crawl into an Inipi, an enclosed, low-ceilinged, canvas-covered teepee. Then, hot rocks are brought in and doused with water to create steam and more heat while you sing and pray.

This was one of my first lodges. As the heat increased, I became fearful and didn't know what to do. This lodge was filled mostly with full-blooded Lakota men; to tap out would have felt shameful, weak, and even dishonorable. The harder I fought internally, the hotter it became. In those final moments, as I was about to bow out and give up, I gave up! I surrendered unconditionally. I had my first physical experience of coming to the end of myself.

In the instant, I finally accepted my personal powerlessness and said, "I can't stand this one second longer." I had exhausted all of my own personal resources; in that moment of complete surrender, I suddenly felt connected to the Resource of all things.

I will never forget that life-changing experience. Indisputably, I felt a Power flow through me, and the heat suddenly seemed to diminish and become bearable. It felt as if a cool breeze began to blow on the inside, and a peace that surpassed my understanding overcame me. All was well. Not only was I able to finish the remaining time in the lodge but also I finally understood the surrender principle inherent in the First Step. The statement, "In my weakness lies His Strength" became real for me at approximately 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although surrender is extremely hard for most of us, there comes a time when the only thing harder than letting go is to keep holding on.

The Twelve-Step technology instructs us, right off the bat, that we must let go of old ideas. In his book Power vs. Force, David Hawkins suggests that power genuinely works better than force. While reading his exceptional work, I realized that for decades I had been using force to try to manage my life and the lives of those around me. I had been wrestling life to the ground in my attempt to produce the desired result in my affairs.

The first half of the First Step caused me to embrace a radical new idea: by admitting my powerlessness, I could actually plug into a Power greater than myself. It is the same Power that lights the sun, moves the planets, grows the trees, and guides the butterflies on their journey. By no longer trying to force what I thought I wanted in a given situation, I realized I could surrender the outcome to this process. Understanding that I usually do not want what I think I want, I began allowing the Higher Power to produce the results. They were often different from what I thought I wanted, but they were always the actual desires of my heart, not the cravings of my ego.

What occurs when we sincerely work these steps in any situation is usually far greater than anything we could have imagined. But what exactly does working the steps mean? And how do we apply the principle of being powerless in our lives?

We begin by getting more honest. First, we get authentic with ourselves and eventually to others. Strange as it may seem, being honest with ourselves is often the hardest part. For some strange reason, we are usually the last ones to know the most difficult truths of our lives. There is a funny saying in Alcoholics Anonymous: "There is no such thing as an anonymous alcoholic, except unto himself." Everyone in his or her life knows there's a problem — even the neighbor's dog. Everyone but the person with the problem.

In a way, recovered alcoholics are especially blessed, for we had a malady so painfully obvious to the world it ensured that we would be brought to our knees and ultimately to this radical spiritual way of life. (When we use the word radical, we are emphasizing a spiritual upheaval: the vast difference between the way we lived our lives before working the steps and how we live today.) Once we incorporated the spiritual principles of the steps into our lives, the difference was night and day. Our new way of life felt like we were moving from darkness into the Light.

Obviously, we can testify that the steps work for alcoholics. But what about the so-called "normal people" of the world, the non-alcoholics for whom this book is written? How do you get to the place where you're willing to let go of your old ideas and make drastic, radical changes?

How do you become open to a new spiritual way of life that may conflict with many deeply held beliefs and former ideas?

There may come a time when the fast thing you lost, or the next thing you are about to lose, is more important than your cherished beliefs and old ideas.

That's when we become as open-minded as only the dying can. The great writer Henry David Thoreau wrote, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." They go to the grave, as Oliver Wendell Holmes observed, "with all their music still in them."

Until we awaken, we cannot live our lives fully. Many of us experience a profound lack of joy. At the same time, we have a deep desire to live fuller, richer lives. We know that there must be a better way. This inner ache may surface when we meet someone who has found real joy by applying these spiritual principles, and we see their lives bearing fruit with our own eyes.

Dying to your old self to allow your authentic self to emerge can be painful. However, it is worth the struggle, just as the caterpillar labors to escape the cocoon and eventually spread its wings to fly. This dying of self usually entails realizing that we can no longer do the same thing over and over and expect different results. This is our program's definition of insanity.

Ultimately, the motivation to undergo this profound change and do this work will come from life itself. Life has a beautiful way of getting us to the place where we have had all of ourselves we can stand. This moment of clarity, the coming to the end of self, either in a sweat lodge or in the middle of a ferocious divorce, is one of the most powerful moments of life.

When we finally run out of "bright ideas" and become willing to precisely follow the directions of this proven program of action, a new life will be given to us. We can close the gap between who we are and who we were created to be — in all areas of life.

In conclusion to the first half of Step One:

We can be just as joy-drawn to the work as we can 6e pain-driven into it.

Many may come into the spiritual life due to suffering. It matters not why we come to Peoples Anonymous: only why we stay. Most of us remain in the interest of pure joy. The first half of the First Step is the simple admission that:

No problem can be solved by the same consciousness that created it. We need to see the world anew.

— Albert Einstein

The second half of the First Step introduces us to the idea that our lives have become unmanageable. Here, you might be wondering: What exactly does "my life's unmanageable" mean, and how exactly does that apply to my life?

First, this is not about the external struggles of your life. It is not suggesting that you can't hold down a job, pay your bills or get the things you think you want. It does not mean you can't finish school, get married, raise children, or perform the many tasks of daily living. However, some of us have seen the symptoms of our internal spiritual malady bleeding out into the circumstances of our lives/the unmanageability of our outer world. This may have included divorce, financial struggles, job loss, family turmoil, conflict with others and disharmony with friends.

These difficulties, great or small, are not the problem, but actually symptoms of the problem. For years, I thought the unmanageability of the second half of the First Step referred to my inability to successfully manage the people, places, and things in my life. Ironically, I felt very proficient in controlling the lives of others, while still suffering from the delusion that my happiness would be complete if they would simply do as I wished. I am ashamed to admit, I really believed I knew what was best for everyone. It was a rude awakening when I realized, I do not perceive my own best interests (W-pI.24.7:l).

From that moment of truth, I asked myself the next logical question: If I cannot honestly perceive my own best interests, how can I perceive the best interests of others?

In my frantic attempt to get all the actors on the stage I called my life to do as I demanded, I noticed my own perspective on life becoming more and more distorted. I began to have a hard time differentiating the true from the false. I continued to suffer from the delusion that I actually wanted what I wanted, whereas every time I spent vast amounts of energy acquiring the thing I so desperately sought after, within seconds or days at best, I was over it! How do you produce an outcome that is in the best interest of all when you don't have a clue what that is, and you are in the process of uncovering the conveniently hidden truth, "I don't even want what I want"? Although we may eventually see the evidence of unmanageability in our external lives, the second half of the First Step is largely referring to our inner lives.


Excerpted from Peoples Anonymous by Lane W.. Copyright © 2017 Peoples Anonymous LLC. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments, ix,
Preface, xi,
The Human Condition, xiii,
The Doctor's Experience, xv,
Introduction, xvii,
Why PA?, xxiv,
The Twelve Steps of Peoples Anonymous, xxix,
Chapter 1 Step One, 1,
Chapter 2 Step Two, 12,
Chapter 3 Step Three, 21,
Chapter 4 Step Four, 43,
Chapter 5 Step Five, 57,
Chapter 6 Step Six, 66,
Chapter 7 Step Seven, 72,
Chapter 8 Step Eight, 77,
Chapter 9 Step Nine, 88,
Chapter 10 Step Ten, 105,
Chapter 11 Step Eleven, 112,
Chapter 12 Step Twelve, 120,
Epilogue, 131,
Selected Awakenings and the Author's Closing Thoughts,
Peace, Love, and Understanding, 137,
Healing Touch, 147,
From Abandoned to Healer, 152,
Progress, Not Perfection, 158,
She Found Life's "Owner's Manual", 161,
A New Freedom, 164,
Transformation, 171,
The Luck Ran Out, 177,
God Has No Other Hands But Ours, 179,
Author's Note, 187,

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