Step Thirteen

Victory Park Metro Station, Moscow, Russia
Step 13. I Want To Be Separate To Be Unique.

This thought represents the true motive for separation, yet it is unnecessary. We do not give it here as an affirmation but as an expression of your current state. You want to be separate because this defines your self; your self is defined in terms of separation, not in terms of inclusion. Separation is the source of all your pain and confusion of mind. Your physical life demonstrates a separate life but only from a certain point of view. Given another point of view, it does not demonstrate separation at all. It demonstrates a unique expression of a Greater Reality.

On two occasions today, spend 15 minutes concentrating upon the idea for today. Think seriously about what this lesson means and call upon your own experience to reflect upon its relevance to your life. Reflect upon what your desire for separation has cost you in time, energy and pain. Realize your motivation for separation and you will know that you want to be free.

Practice 13:
Two 15-minute practice periods.

Here you will find the entire book free for download

Here you will find pointers for getting started if this is your first encounter with this practice: Taking the Steps to Knowledge.

November 17, 2012 Round One: So separation in this Step means separation from I understand. We think we are unique, or we want to be unique, so we reject the idea of being with God. I misunderstood at first, I thought separation meant wishing to keep apart in the physical world, not wishing to be part of a group or a community, thinking I am too unique, I want to walk alone. But now I understand that this Step addresses our desire to be separate from God. Although by extension, not being separate from God also implies not being separate from the rest of humanity, each of whom is also a part of God. So I need to cultivate my desire to part of the flow and not isolate, as I like to do.

This is what I wrote down when I did this Step a couple of weeks ago on a getaway weekend to the shores of my favorite fishing lake. I printed out the first 14 Steps and took them with me to contemplate on while I sat on the lake shore and jotted down what came to mind. This was when I still thought that separation meant something else, not separation from God, but separation from the world around me (or is this not the same thing? hmmm, confusing).

“I do not want to be separate, but I do not want to be part of things that do not sit well with me. What does not being separate mean? Could it mean expressing my unique gifts whenever I can, even in situations that disturb me? I could go with the flow in such situations, not resist, but not be engulfed, contribute my own selfness to the whole. I don't have any motivation for being separate.”

To tell you the truth, rereading this, I am now not sure what I meant.

July 8, 2014 Round Two: The first time I did Steps, I did not understand what separation meant.  I thought it meant holding myself apart from others, shunning company, living as secluded life as possible. Once I realized that separation meant separation from God, believing I am a separate being and not one with everyone else, I decided I did not want to be separate. However I still did not know what it meant. I wondered if it might mean expressing my unique gifts whenever I can, regardless of the situation, going with the flow, not resisting, but not allowing myself to be sucked in and engulfed. Rather I should try to feel my connection and contribute my own selfness to the whole.

First practice – the point here is to relinquish my desire to be unique, to be special, to be an entity unto myself. My physical life, living in a physical body, makes this hard to do, because naturally I think of myself as an individual, as separate from everyone else, and want to be unique. But I need to embrace a different view, give things a different definition. I am not separate, so my uniqueness has to be expressed in something else.

Second practice – in separation I am not free. I am bound by physical laws, the confines of my ego, and the restraints of my surface, thinking mind. Being separate has indeed cost me much in time, energy and pain. It is a road leading to nowhere. Realizing that I am not separate, but a unique expression of a Greater Reality is certainly freeing and exhilarating. As I concluded the first time, I have no motivation any more for being separate.


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