Are We Powerless?
The very first AA step proclaims: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.” Undoubtedly, there is some truth to this statement, but can we further explore the frightening dilemma of powerlessness, and find out ways to become empowered, instead of powerless?
Our “powerlessness” is a product of our tendency towards being creatures of habit.
All that we accomplish in life is based on the formation of habits. We are creatures of habit, and this can be used to great advantage. On the other side of the coin, we can fall into habits that are not in our best interest. So much of what we do to improve our lot in life is directly related to how we manage our habits.
Because our lives revolve around repetition, cycles, and patterns of behavior, there is no way to bypass the momentum of cause and effect. Every action has a reaction. In yoga terms, this is karma. Somehow, the universe is recording every single thought and action and incorporating the data into the whole of existence. And if we do something one time, we’re likely to do it again—with varying degrees of tempo, enthusiasm, and style. Such variance has been called rhythm. In music, there are infinite varieties of rhythm, but all rhythm has one common denominator: repetition.
Now, you may think: Well, there are things I’ve done only once in my life. Perhaps. But such singularity is more of an exception than a rule; more of an anomaly than a regularity. With repetition, habits become ingrained in our muscle memory and nervous system, and the more ingrained they are, the harder it is to remove them. Therefore, we want to let go of negative habits, and introduce positive ones.
Deep Meditation uses the phenomenon of repetition to bring our body and mind to stillness. By repeating the process of easily favoring the mantra, the sound and vibration of the mantra gradually merge with the soundless, vibrationless tranquility of inner silence, which is the source of the mantra, and of everything else. Paradoxically, the process of repetition itself is transcended:
So, as time goes on, you will not have to deliberately repeat the mantra very much, and eventually not even once when you sit. Just close the eyes and it starts automatically deep inside, and gone to pure bliss consciousness. Until then, if coming to the mantra is a conscious repetition, that is perfectly fine. Just know that the whole process will refine over time, and we can let it. It is all about letting it happen in each session. That is how the procedure of deep meditation gradually cultivates permanent abiding inner silence.
Fortunately, habits do not necessarily negate spontaneity or improvisation. In fact, we can develop a habit of trusting our ability to spontaneously improvise in any situation. In AYP terms, the kind of movement which goes deeper than habit and structure is called stillness in action. This is where our powerlessness shifts to empowerment, because the habitual repetition of practices like Deep Meditation have merged with a continuous flow of evolved living—resulting in a sublime perception of reality, and an outpouring of divine love.
The greatest of all human power is the divine within. Yoga is for joining (union) with and becoming that. The first priority in yoga is union with God within us.
Even a taste of spiritual power, which flows through us—even though it is beyond us—will catalyze a chain reaction of yearning for more of that non-physical elixir. We are now intoxicated in a sober, far more functional way than previously experienced. This time, our power comes from the choice to cultivate, stimulate, and activate the hidden reservoir of ecstatic bliss within our nervous system. And we can manage that harvesting using the principle of self-pacing.
It is the fine art of progressing in yoga—never forcing, always using gentle persuasion.
So, real power comes from finesse. With an enrichment of our inner and outer senses, the spectrum of possibility increases. Drinking alcohol is abrasive to the nervous system and lacks this delicate artistry. That’s why habitually and excessively drinking renders one powerless. The solution is simple. We regain our power by picking up new habits, and finding new sources of energy and exhilaration. We switch from drinking spirits, to imbibing in the Spirit. We fall into a spiral of active surrender with our chosen ideal , and life gets better.