STEP THREE CONTINUED: Recognize that we are spiritual beings and decide to turn our lives over to “that which is greater than self” referred to in these steps as “The Divine.”
Instruction: Be still and know.
Why is it that some people seem to have given over their spiritual path to a religious organization or a religious leader and don’t seem to comprehend what it means to have a spiritual path of their own? Those who have given up seeking their spiritual path open themselves to a variety or religious abuses. Those who know the difference and can easily separate religious teachings from spiritual truth will not be lead astray into “Jim Jones” type experiences. When we settle into stillness and listen to the voice that speaks truth, we will find that our ability to discern increases. Not only will we be able to stay the course, but we will also be able to help others, if they express a desire for our help, who have wondered off their own course.
I once heard someone use the expression, “the pastor is not the Master.” Step Three reminds us that if we have put too much faith in a religious institution or a religious leader, it behooves us to step back and make sure we are not giving up spiritual control of our lives. The name we assign to The Divine is not important, as long as we don’t confuse That-Which-Is-Greater-Than-Self with a human being. At some point, most religious institutions will fail us because they are made up of people, just like us, with all the misgivings that are prone to our species. If we would be strong and fearless, we must recognize that, as Jesus worded it, the kingdom of heaven is within us.
There can be great benefits to having a spiritual or religious guide or tutor as long as we don’t make the “pastor our master.” We are spiritual beings, and if we decide to turn our lives over to anyone or anything, shouldn’t it be turned over to that which created us, loves us, and sustains us? Take a moment to look at your religious and spiritual direction. Are you in control, or is someone else providing the bulk of your religious and spiritual guidance? No matter how wonderful that person is, they are not in charge of your path. You are.
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.