This program is simple and it works with complex people. It is made up of ancient but timeless principles: overcome the ego, connect to a Higher Self, a higher purpose and serve others (228).
I saw Russell Brand taking about this book on The Late Show. I was struck by his depth both in the interview and in the book. Brand makes the 12 Step program seem deeply appealing for getting one’s stuff together. I found that I wanted to engage in steps 4 and 5 as I read about his experience with them.
Some helpful quotes:
Perhaps this program is a personal and social tool that illuminates the truth that religious people have long known and physicists have proven: all the energy that has ever existed has always existed and will always exist. Form and separation are temporary. We are all one (94).
I now acknowledge that I am often wrong in my interpretations of other people’s behavior and that I am better off not to judge them at all… (145).
People, me, and probably you, also need total change, we need epiphany, we need transcendence but we really dig TV, so we defer. “I can get away with a day of selfish thinking and dumb distraction, I mean I feel like shit but it doesn’t kill me.” [We] have to get to redemption through a narrow gap. This program can create that space (160).
In my working of Step 12 is the understanding that I will always default to self-centeredness; if I don’t work on my mental and spiritual state I automatically become selfish and indifferent to the suffering of others. A friend of mine says, “the spiritual life is like rowing a canoe away from a waterfall, if you stop rowing you are pulled backward” (205).
Finally, I found his discussion of prayer helpful.
This is how I pray. I sit quietly for a moment, I read a few short passages from whatever spiritual book I’m into at the time… I think about how the writing is applicable to my own life, then I silently pray firstly for gratitude. …I actually light four candles (!) one representing my personal connection to a higher consciousness as experienced through meditation and dreams, one for my connection to my girlfriend, one for my connection to my work…and one for a true connection to all people I encounter. …Having prayed for gratitude, I pray for courage, a willingness to no longer inhabit my old ways of thinking, not to see the world as a resource for my pleasure but instead the environment in which I can be of use. Then I ask to be healing to people I encounter, that my every interaction is held by a higher intention… Finally and perhaps most kookily of all I ask to be shown signs, to be attuned to the world about me, knowing my reality is a dance between the apparent material world and my own consciousness, I ask to be shown the things I need to see, to receive the messages that will help me in my journey (196–197).
Blessings upon you, Russell.