In Search of a Higher Power


Just briefly I’d like to acknowledge my extreme resistance to doing this work. Part of me would like to just continue on as I have done, barely surviving, pulling off a real miracle of survival when I absolutely had to– but that is not a healthy part of myself. And that sort of behavior is going to bring nothing but more of the same. This is hard work but this is necessary work. If I always do what I’ve always done, I’ll always get what I’ve always gotten. I’m making progress. I appreciate the support throughout. You have no idea how much the messages of encouragement and helpful suggestions have given me hope and strength. I have no doubt that all this is leading somewhere good.

I think I have a resistance to believing in God. But I must right? I mean I talk of God in my blog all the time. I think all poets are compelled to believe in God. When I speak to people here in Alabama who believe in God, I’ll say things like, “I know that God has a plan for me.” What the fuck do I mean by that if I don’t believe in a god who “has plans” or thinks like that or has a personality? Okay, conventional wisdom in the recovery community, at this point, tells me all I need is an open mind, honesty, and willingness. Perhaps I should back off on all this right now and “resign from the debating society.”

I recently read in some spiritual literature the phrase “He (the belligerent non-believer) is in a state of mind that can only be described as savage.” This statement is offensive. It pushes me away from trying to find a God concept that works for me rather than encouraging me to move “toward God.” Religious people probably do more to drive people away from God than all the drug dealers and prostitutes combined.

I guess I’ve just been defiant for so long it seems to be my default mode when it comes to discussions of God. See? I still capitalize the word. Interesting.

Why am I defiant? It may sound overly simplistic but I do believe it is because I’ve been so hurt by the religion of my youth–psychologically damaged in fact– and persecuted throughout my life by people who meant to deprive me of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness while waving the banner of “God.” I guess for me to move forward, to concede to have this “belief” that “spiritual people” speak of, I’m just going to have to be very clear that this “higher power” on which I am expected to depend is not that same God of the religion of my youth, or any religion for that matter, or the evil tyrant that seems to be directing the minions who are out to get me. My God hates that God. My God thinks that God is stupid and fucked up. My God can kick that God’s ass. On such a God, I could depend.

Here are some religious concepts I remember from my youth about which I continue to have positive feelings:

  • The idea of a loving deity
  • The concept of living a moral life
  • the principle of forgiveness
  • the principle of generosity
  • the concept of compassion toward the sick and poor
  • the principle of an ordered and happy life
  • a way to contextualize suffering in life
  • community, it’s important to take care of one another
  • kindness
  • the concept that some actions are sinful and some are virtuous
  • “God causes the rain to fall and the sun to shine on the just and the unjust”
  • “God is no respecter of persons”
  • the concept that God loves me
  • the idea that God will forgive me
  • God will protect me
  • God will provide me with all that I need

Here are some religious concepts I remember from my youth about which I have negative feelings:

  • The idea of a deity
  • The idea that one religion is right and another is wrong
  • the idea that humans need religion
  • the idea that one will be punished if he does not follow the dictates of a religion
  • the concept that living a moral life depends on religion
  • the idea that living a happy and ordered life is contingent on religion
  • the story of creation
  • evolution is a lie
  • supernatural explanations for natural phenomena
  • the concept of holy scripture written by God through humans
  • the concept of a doctrine that delineates some actions as sinful and some as virtuous
  • the concept that God sometimes wants some nations to invade and kill other nations
  • the idea that God has a “chosen people”
  • concept that God is a jealous God and presumably has other human emotions
  • the concept that God is male
  • the concept that I need forgiveness from some deity
  • God gives men dominion over women
  • the idea that God’s son had to be sacrificed to God to pay our debt
  • homosexuality is an abomination to God

Okay, let’s recap. So far, I’m told I have to admit that compulsive underearning has kicked my ass. Check.

Next, I have to believe that perhaps I am not the greatest power in the universe and therefore there must be a power greater than me and that this power can help me recover around this underearning issue. Check.

I am not bad, I got hurt and getting hurt had negative ramifications and set me up for being an underearner. These injuries can be healed. By grace and by following the directions given me by people who were once like me but have now recovered in this arena, I can sustain myself by using the talents I was gifted with by whatever force that created me. I just have to be open-minded, honest, and willing. And I have to do the footwork.

There are people who will say that the solution is for me to “get a job, any job.” These people do not understand. That is not their fault. They will never understand. They have nothing to offer me. They are not my friends. They are poison and antithetical to recovery. I must stay away from them and must not listen to them. I will be lead to a way to sustain myself financially and have an otherwise abundant life by working with the skills and talents that are peculiar to me. There is only one of me. The collective spiritual evolution of the whole is incomplete if I don’t get off my ass and do my job. To get off my ass and do my job, I have to find a way to deal with irrational fears that have held me back. It is possible to be free of these fears. I must be judicious about the counsel I let into my mind and into my heart.

Tomorrow night, here in America Junction, we will have the first casual reading of my play, Lilac and Liquor. I’m very much looking forward to it. I think this play has a bright future.

There is a lot of uncertainty in my life right now. Every time I think I know what’s happening next, a door closes. I’m here waiting for the next one to open, doing my work, preparing myself as best I can for whatever’s next. Thanks for taking the journey with me.

See y’all tomorrow.

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