Step Eleven

Step 11. I Am Not Apart From Life.
Regardless of the great establishments built upon your individuality and all that is associated with you personally— your body, your ideas, your difficulties, your specific forms of expression, your idiosyncrasies, your talents—you are not apart from life. This is so obvious if you look at yourself with simplicity and realize that the very makeup of your body, the very fabric of your physical life, is completely made of what life is in the physical. It is quite apparent that you are made of the same “stuff” as everything else around you. What is mysterious is your mind. It seems to be a distinct point of understanding, but it is as much a part of life as your physical fabric. You are an individual unaware of your Source and your total inclusion in life. Your individuality is a burden now, but it will be a great happiness to you when it can express life itself.

Practice 11: Read the lesson three times today.

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 15, 2012 Round One: I am having difficulty grasping what is meant in this step. What does this concept of “great establishments" mean? Upon closer reflection and reading this sentence over and over and trying to grasp its deeper meaning, I sense an almost tongue-in-cheek implication behind these words--in other words, there is nothing truly great here at all, only our own aggrandizing of our own importance and individuality. To me it means that no matter how much I try to convince myself that I am an individual, separate, apart from everything else, the truth is that I am not.
“You are an individual unaware of your Source and your total inclusion in life.”
I can accept that I am an individual unaware of my Source, and my task is to become aware of my Source and total inclusion in life, and, like Maureen wrote, I have also experienced moments when I feel my inclusion. I have a vague sense of my inclusion, sometimes...

I was rereading Greater Community Spirituality Chapter One - What is God? this morning and the following passage struck me as being pertinent to this Step:
“You must enter into the experience and the Mystery of life, which is the doorway to God, which is at the very heart of your life and contains the very purpose for your coming here that is unique to you but which you share with all life.”
I feel this is the key to understanding this Step - understanding the relationship between my uniqueness and what I share with all life.

Robert: Very good. Great establishments can also mean those creations in the world and even other worlds that are built upon a separate life. Institutions, societies, families, everything that we in the physical have created as structure and form for our existence in separation.

July 6, 2014 Round Two: Understanding that I am not apart from life despite all that I associate with myself personally—my body, ideas, difficulties, forms of expression, idiosyncrasies, talents—is quite a challenge. The fact that I am used to seeing myself as an individual is the greatest stumbling block to embracing the greater truth.

The first time I did this Step I wrote that I felt the key to understanding it was understanding the relationship between my uniqueness and what I share with all life.

First reading – on further contemplation this time, I realize I don’t really understand what it means about being made of the same “stuff” as everything else around you. Well, yes, I do see that, but I don’t see how to integrate that with my previous understanding of the physical, my body, being temporary, while the spiritual is eternal and the part of me that belongs to the whole, that is not apart from life. I don’t think this spiritual part is made of the same “stuff” as everything else around me.

Second reading – this time I thought that perhaps this Step is only referring to the physical, that even in the physical, when I experience myself as a separate entity, I am still part of everything else because I am made of the same stuff. But then it also speaks of the mind. What is mysterious is my mind.

Third reading – once I accept that I am not apart from life, that I have nothing unique that sets me apart from the rest, I can use my individuality to express life itself and this will be to my great benefit.

I still tend to want to overanalyze everything, but I am learning as I continue to practice Steps that it is more effective just to let things go and stop thinking so much.

June 27, 2018 Round Three: First reading - 4.05 am. I used to put great store by my individuality, well, people in general do, but now I feel as though I don’t any longer. Even though I am in a body, which is made up of the same “stuff” as everything around (molecules, atoms, plasma, bacteria, flesh and blood), I am not apart from life, I am a part of the whole, I am totally included in life. I am in the flow. My individuality is a burden, it is the source of my pain and discomfort in the world, it creates difficulties, but really this should not be so, for I am a part of life, and as such all should be joy and light. 

Second reading - 15.05 It is hard being an individual who is unaware of their inclusion in life. All misery and difficulty comes from struggling to deal with our individuality and feeling we are separate and in our own little worlds. I am a thread in the fabric of life, we are one, interweaving with each other. We cannot help but affect each other and we need to find common ground. It’s all about relationship and being in the flow.

Third reading - 20.23. The mind is not separate, distinct, it is mysterious, but as much a part of life as our physical fabric. I need to digest this. Is the mind as individual as the body for most people. Even though each person’s body is different, there are more commonalities than differences. Is it the same for the mind? I feel the mind is more influenced by upbringing, culture, society, the circumstances of the world than by the unique attributes of each individual, so in that sense all minds have something in common. But the mind is also unique to each person and more unfathomable than the body, so this is why it’s mysterious. There is much more to the mind than meets the eye.

Do I understand what is meant by “Your individuality will be a great happiness to you when it can express life itself”? I guess so. It means that when I understand that my individuality is not a burden or source of misery and difficulty for me, but merely a temporary vehicle to use as a way of expression while I am in the world, I will be much happier. And I am.


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