Reaching for God

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Thomas Keating has explained core emotional needs for “security, power, and affection” (Keating,  2009,  Divine Therapy & Addiction: Centering Prayer and the Twelve Steps ,p. 7, Kindle Edition, New York: Lantern Books) are what drives us to seek happiness from other persons, people, places or things. He explains these instinctual emotional needs are necessary for survival as an infant but they become increasingly problematic as we mature. If we stay in the infantile state of always wanting immediate gratification we will always be frustrated in our pursuit of desires that are impossible to actually realize. Keating further explains the frustration of not being able to obtain instant gratification of these desires is what drives addiction—– and  it is when one is forced to admit one’s powerlessness and ask for help that one’s spiritual journey can begin. It is important to note, however, that he adds, “The real spiritual journey depends on our acknowledging the unmanageability of our lives. The love of God or the Higher Power is what heals us”( Keating,  2009,  Divine Therapy & Addiction: Centering Prayer and the Twelve Steps ,p. 11, Kindle Edition, New York: Lantern Books).

Keating clarifies in these interviews that the first two steps adopted by those in 12 step recovery are actually steps needed for anyone’s spiritual journey—–the steps involving surrender and acceptance of life’s unmanageability combined with the acceptance of help from a Higher Power.  He believes the steps inherent in this spiritual journey  can free us from the emotional tyranny that drives us (addiction) and replace it with a serenity dependent on building  “an ever-deepening relationship with God” (Keating, p. 11).

By now, as many times as I have had to apply these essential steps in my life, I should be able to automatically practice the steps of surrender and acceptance. But it is never easy to admit defeat and ask for help. Even with spiritual growth and building a closer relationship with God, I still have a prideful false-self who wants to run the show. Hence, my need to take these steps over and over again in every facet of my life.  Life’s lessons have taught me that my survival is absolutely dependent on forming a closer relationship with God. I have come to realize only two things matter and remain with me no matter what: my soul and God. So, at this point in my life, my main goal is building  what Keating calls “an ever-deepening relationship with God.” Writing these blogs is one of the tools I am using in building that relationship, and I thank you for letting me share my thoughts and journey with you.

Please comment and share your thoughts about surrender, acceptance, and relating to God as a means of surviving and knowing peace, freedom, and serenity. My God bless and keep you.

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