Step Eighty-One


Step 81. I Will Not Deceive Myself Today.
Upon the hour practice making this statement and feeling its impact. Strengthen your commitment to Knowledge. Do not fall into the apparent ease of self-deception. Do not be comfortable merely with assumptions or the beliefs of others. Do not accept generalities as truth. Do not accept appearances as representative of the reality of another. Do not accept the mere appearance of yourself. Doing these things demonstrates that you do not value yourself or your life and that you are too indolent to carry forth effort on your own behalf.

You must enter uncertainty to find Knowledge. What does this mean? It simply means you are giving up false assumptions, self-comforting ideas and the luxury of self-condemnation. Why is self-condemnation a luxury? Because it is easy and does not require you to examine the truth. You accept it because it is acceptable in this world, and it gives you a great deal to talk about with your friends. It evokes sympathy. Therefore, it is easy and weak.

Do not deceive yourself today. Allow yourself to examine the mystery and the truth of your life. Upon the hour today repeat today’s idea and feel what it means. Also today, in two longer practice periods, repeat the statement and then dedicate yourself to stillness and receptivity. By now, you are beginning to learn how to prepare yourself for stillness—using your breath, concentrating your mind, relinquishing thoughts and reminding yourself that you are worthy of such an effort. Remind yourself of the goal that you are attempting to reach. Do not deceive yourself today. Do not give in to what is easy and painful.

Practice 81:
 Two 30-minute practice periods. Hourly practice.

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.

February 26, 2013 Round One: I can really relate to what it says here about not allowing myself to “fall into the apparent ease of self-deception.” For indeed, it is much easier to indulge in self-pity and self-condemnation than actually get up and do something about it, do something to rectify it.

On the other side of the coin, what I learned from this Step as I did it is to be beware of having too inflated false assumptions of myself. I am good at convincing myself that what I have to say or write needs to be heard, and by the more people the better. But it has become very apparent to me while doing this Step that this is not true, it is just not the case. I have been deceiving myself and, having realized this, I feel a great sense of relief and new willingness to go on with what I am destined to do (may it become clear just what that is) and not what I think I should be doing.

October 3, 2014 Round Two: It seems to me that there are two ways of looking at this Step: 1) I will not deceive myself into thinking I am greater than I am and 2) I will not deceive myself into thinking I am lesser than I am.  The first time I focused on being beware of having too inflated false assumptions of myself, deceived by feelings of self-aggrandizement rather than self-condemnation, trying not to feel I am greater than I am.

This time I am thinking more along the second lines. While I still see the wisdom of not having too inflated assumptions of myself and what I can do, this time I understand that this Step is cautioning me against underestimating myself and wallowing in self-pity, feeling I am too small and insignificant to accomplish anything. I would do well not to deceive myself into thinking I am lesser than I am.

I can be uncertain, but I can still move boldly forward in the direction I feel called upon to go. I do not wish to be too indolent to carry forth effort on my own behalf. I wish to examine the mystery and truth of my life and believe that greater things are possible than what may immediately meet the eye. I wish to go beyond that which the world finds acceptable and accomplishable, for the world is limited in its outlook, and I intend to see a broader, more expansive picture.

"Do not give in to what is easy and painful."

It is easy and painful to wear a crown of thorns and wail about how incompetent I am. It turns out I am not as incompetent as I think. I had been thinking not that long ago that it was a futile effort to be trying to translate Steps to Knowledge into Russian, into a language is that is not my native language, and just as futile to be trying to share my Steps practice in Russian – who is going to understand my ungrammatical clumsy style? However, I decided to venture out any way and found that the first post I submitted to the Russian spiritual site I found “Живое Знание» (Living Knowledge) was well received. And I am encouraged to post more. So as uncertain as I was, I may find some Russian respondents after all.

"You must enter uncertainty to find Knowledge."


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