Step Forty-Five

Photo by Elena Shumilova

Step 45. Alone I Can Do Nothing.
Alone you can do nothing. Nothing has ever been accomplished alone, even in your world. Nothing has ever been created alone, even in your mind. There is no credit to be received by doing something alone. Everything is a joint effort. Everything is the product of relationship.

Does this demean you as an individual? Most certainly not. It gives you the environment and the understanding to realize your true accomplishments. You are greater than your individuality, and thus you may be free of its limitations. You work through the individual that is you personally, but you are greater than this. Accept the limitations of a limited self, and do not require a limited self to be God or you will give it great burdens and great expectations and will then punish it for its failures. This leads to self-hatred. This leads you to resent your physical life and to abuse yourself personally, emotionally and physically. Accept your limitations so that you may accept greatness within your life.

Therefore, in your two practice periods today, with your eyes open, concentrate now on your limitations. Recognize them. Do not judge them as good or bad. Simply recognize them. This gives you humility, and in humility you are in a position to receive greatness. If you are defending your limitations, how can you receive that which transcends them?

Practice 45:
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.

December 23, 2012 Round One: I am very aware of this concept of accepting my limitations, recognizing them, which gives me humility, and in humility I am in a position to receive greatness. To put it in a different way, I often feel the humility that comes with recognizing my flaws, my disabilities, and in the past it has always been a new starting point to build up from again. And now this Step is teaching me that I can come to a position of strength and even accept and receive greatness in my life from this understanding of my limitations. And this goes right along with "God doesn't get rid of our disabilities. He gives us great things to do" mentioned by Douglas in the previous Step.

I am also aware that when I engage in creative writing and also in my professional work as a translator I receive inspiration and strength from some deep source within me that I now understand to be Knowledge. So indeed I can do nothing alone, from a separate, individual standpoint, only from a position of strength that transcends my limitations and comes from God.

August 15, 2014 Round Two: What came to my attention this time when doing this Step is that greater is not qualitative, but quantitative, as in larger. I am more than my individual self, there is more to me than my physical body, limited mind, and individual capacities. I also have access to a larger body of knowledge and knowing and when I allow myself to connect with this and feel the power of the collective consciousness, I can move mountains. Not by myself, not alone, but together with all that is.

Again it is interesting how my Step for the day seems to speak directly to the situation I am encountering. Today I am acutely aware that it is futile and unproductive to try and do something alone. I need help. That does not mean I am limited, it does not mean I need to berate myself for not being smart enough, knowledgeable enough, “with it” enough to rely on my own devices. It means that I am open and flexible enough to seek outside help, advice, input, and then come to a well-considered and balanced decision. It means I tap into and make use of other people’s perspective to round out my own and give me a fuller picture.

I can do nothing alone, I can accomplish nothing alone, everything is a joint effort. Yes, I see that this is true.

First practice – I recognize the humility of realizing my limitations. When I open to my limitations and embrace them as part of my being, I am able to move on and up. I am able to move out into a greater awareness, into a larger world.

Second practice – I can only see and know things from the place where I sit, while others can only see and know from the place where they sit. If we are willing, we can join forces and create a larger view by combining all that we see and know together. The key word is “willing.” This means having the willingness to let go of my individuality and dissolve my self in the collective consciousness. Or does it?

In the throes of the redecorating and cleaning out that has been going on in my apartment over the last few weeks, I found some interesting writings stashed away in an old photo album. I believe my mother passed them on to me many moons ago and I don’t even remember reading them. But I am reading them now. 

They were written by John Bradshaw and are called “The Eight Stages of Man.” I read the following in Program 2: Who Do You Trust?

“Even though I am describing these normative stages, everyone of you is unique. There has never been another you; you are unrepeatable. A bloodhound can smell you in a million people. Your fingerprint is utterly unique and different. While these are normative things, I don’t want you to be limited by that. 'What I do is me, for that I came.' That’s what the poet says.

"We are the universe from a particular point of view. The goal of life is to find out how you are the universe. What is your destiny? Find out how you have never been before. You have never been before; no one like you has ever been before. That’s really worth going for. 'What I do is me, for that I came.'

“The risk of my life is choosing to be me. The risk of my life is choosing to trust myself and the world and the plan enough, choosing to trust my power and energy enough, that I can become who I am. That involves decision, that means changing, getting out of the familiar and going to the unfamiliar, which is scary.”

This pretty much bowled me away!

August 1, 2018 Round Three: I understand what this Step is saying. As an individual confined by my physical, personal and emotional limitations, I can do nothing alone. It is arrogant and burdensome to think otherwise, to think I can create alone or accomplish something alone. Everything requires a joint effort. I am to accept these limitations so that I can receive greatness in my life. I recognize my limitations with humility, for I know it is not all about me. I can receive greatness because I recognize that I can do nothing alone and am in relationship with the whole.

First 15-min practice - sitting with eyes open on the bench in the garden and thinking about my limitations - 5.03 - 5.18. It is cool and fresh. The sun is rising and bathing the top of the apple tree in the neighbor’s garden in sunlight. The birch tree in our garden is greeting the sun. I will not defend my limitations so that I may be free to transcend them. I understand the humility thing, I am often brought down to earth with a thud when I get too big for my boots. This was a recurring experience in the past, but now I am happy to say it is occurring less and less. I have physical limitations - I am too short to reach certain things, I have to ask the help of a taller person. I am not agile or dexterous enough for some things. I need a helping hand climbing up the bank. I have intellectual limitations - I don’t know everything, I do not possess all the information I need to gage situations and people. I may have some intuitive observations, gut feelings, psychic inspirations, but I do not see the whole picture. I need others, alone I can do nothing. I get this.

Second 15-min practice - 13.30 - 13.15. Sitting in the front room after lunch and after Sasha had called the water people about our new account for our plot. I wanted to call myself, since the account is in my name, but I would have messed it up and not asked the right questions. Sasha called for me and got the answer we needed. I can do nothing alone. Alone I can do nothing. Sasha can take care of things like this, for me it would be difficult. Together we can do it. I recognize my limitations and am ready to transcend them to receive greatness. My body is weary, it needs some rest, this is one of my limitations. I am in relationship with myself, my close companions and family, my world. It is obvious to me that I can do nothing alone.


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