Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stepping Over Our Anger....

This is sort of a continuation of the thoughts from the post the other day... Clean Slates and the Cloud of Forgetting.

annie posted another quote from Nouwen:

Stepping over Our Wounds
Sometimes we have to "step over" our anger, our jealousy, or our feelings of rejection and move on. The temptation is to get stuck in our negative emotions, poking around in them as if we belong there. Then we become the "offended one," "the forgotten one," or the "discarded one." Yes, we can get attached to these negative identities and even take morbid pleasure in them. It might be good to have a look at these dark feelings and explore where they come from, but there
comes a moment to step over them, leave them behind and travel on.

While researching the above quote (which pretty much involves typing different search queries into google) I came upon the following from the AA book, Twelve and Twelve....

"When we harbored grudges and planned revenge for defeats, we were really beating ourselves with the club of anger we had intended to use on others." 

Sort of along the lines of drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.

The links that came up seemed to focus on Step 4 of the 12 Steps:

"Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."

So I googled that....and as I skimmed some of the links, it made quite a bit of sense....the steps, the program, the faith in a "higher power."  I was struck by the similarities this idea shares with some of the other teachings/methods/philosophies that help us sort through the muddle of what is spiritual and what is carnal/ego/adamic. 

Nouwen said that it might be good to have a look at our dark feelings and explore where they come from.  It is exactly this overdrive...that the 4th Step is all about.  After these questions have been thoroughly explored, then, perhaps, that is the moment we can step over our old wounds (even self inflicted wounds) leave them behind and travel on. 

In AA, getting to the bottom of things...this moral inventory of a huge part of the path to sobriety. I can't seem to retrace my cyber steps back to the site where I read the following:

If you harbor resentments, you will drink. 

Is all this introspection a good thing?  If it shines the light of awareness on the tricks of the egoic mind, then yes, it is a very good thing.  There are all sorts of resources on line to help with this step.  Resources specifically AA but that remind me a lot of Byron Katie's, The Work...only wordier....or perhaps more all encompassing.  And cognitive behavioral therapy when we examine our thoughts to see if they fit into the ten or so categories of "stinkin thinkin."  I see this step in the AA program as another tool to uncover the subtle ploys of the ego.  I don't think it is only useful for alcoholics. 

Another quote I happened upon....

'Put down the magnifying glass and pick up the mirror.'

Doesn't this echo the same core message that Jesus conveyed when he said:

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

I'm not sure exactly where I'm going with this....but I will probably just muse a bit for the next post or two.....


Sue said...

I can totally identify with this. I have fallen into a giant vat of my negative emotions and evils done and blah and blah and blah blah blah.

What frustrates me is I have been crying out to God to help me. And at the moment, I do not feel like he is. Which of course has nothing at all to do with reality, but I do, if I am to make a fearless moral inventory of what is going on inside of me along with all the other negative stuff, feel let down by God.

I don't know how to climb out of this vat. Once I do, I will shudder to look back, I KNOW. I'm sort of hoping for a few prods from the universe to help me out, but as yet - not really anything forthcoming.

See how self absorbed I am? This comment is all about ME!


Cindi said...

God is mentioned on the "Resentment Inventory Prompt Sheet" that I ran across today. Yeah' he's pissed me off a few times too.