Relieve me of the bondage of self is what the third step prayer in the Big Book alcoholics Anonymous tells us.
Well what does that look like in our life? Do we really mean what we say when reciting the third step prayer or are they just words. So often the immediate help and freedom most look for is freedom from alcohol drugs or the obvious problem as it appears- sex, food, money, co-dependency etc. However, freedom from the bondage of self (as self is the problem and the drugs and alcohol etc. a symptom) is the real issue here.
Do we really mean it when we say “relieve me of the bondage of self?
This statement implies that we are ready to release EVERYTHING to God and what happens is none of our business. Up until this point of sitting and doing this prayer I need to squarely confront myself and ask how I have been doing in running my life. Letting go and letting God has to be better then the mess I have caused.
Let’s focus on image.
Many have an “image” problem, meaning we are so worried, and are so consumed by what others think of us, that we spend money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like. We perform in front of the crowd to create a person that quite frankly we don’t even know, but as we look others approval we feel a sense of “okayness” within.
As we grow spiritually and develop and enable our relationship with God the shackles of the external world and the need for its approval will begin to lose its grip and even disappear. However, we have another challenge. This is the image we must prove to ourselves that we are ok, we are good, we are not the awful we person that the mind is always screaming at us they we are. It sounds like this: “if they really know about me”, or “who are you kidding” or “your still a loser” etc.
We will go to any lengths to shut this voice in head off. Once again buying things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress this horrible jail keeper called the voice or voices in our head to prove to ourselves we are good.
It is relentless and will do more damage to ourselves than our worst enemies.
Do I get dressed up because I like to our do I get dressed up because if I don’t the voice in head tells me look at you – you are still a bum? Do I NEED lots of money and work hard to shut the voice down that tells me “look at you still struggling you should be rich by now” ?
It’s slavery to the mind, to this “false self”. Not the real self that God created. And as long as I listen to this voice I cannot or at the very least I will struggle to hear God. I am not practicing fidelity to God but try to worship God and have a lover on the side called my mind, who I am constantly looking for approval from.
What a chore! What bondage!
So we are back to raising the level of awareness here and coming to terms how we are not really free until we throw ourselves at the mercy of God to be built up in His image and live along the lines of His will – live in the Divine order which will always transcend human order.
So currently, how is this looking for you?
There is a place we get to – called freedom of self and not just relief from self.
How free do you want to be?
Chop wood, carry water