29 Oct Finding Your Self at Work: The Third Step, Surrendering to that saner power
I think I am going to take these posts and these Steps three at a time so we don’t get overwhelmed. Then I’ll take a break from this topic for a bit. Today’s post follows after Step One’s post here, and Step Two’s post here. In those first two, I took the steps of acknowledging the fundamental unworkability of capitalism in our lives and then allowed a glimpse of hope there is some power greater than capitalism that can help us actually live our lives and our work-lives.
What is that Power? In the 12 Steps, it’s consistently referred to as “God” and sometimes as a “higher power” or “Power.” We don’t have to name it that way, though. And frankly, I think there are many candidates, many forces much bigger than capitalism: Love. Our higher selves. Nature, Gaia, or Mother Earth from which all “capital” comes. Our ancestors. Any of these count as being (as Step Two puts it), “a Power greater than ourselves that could restore us to sanity.”
My task I am setting myself here is not only to point out the numerous forces greater than capitalism but to locate one you can sanely and reliably surrender to to re-center and re-organize your life.
Surrender? What’s all this about surrender? That sounds pretty way out there.
It sounds way out until you realize you had surrendered to capitalism. Like God, you may not have called it that, but that was in essence what you were doing. (See Step One.)
It is not only legit but essential to realize what we had surrendered to as part of this process, and then making a more conscious choice this time around.
Since we have surrendered before, we can do it again, this time consciously. Here is the language of Step Three with “God” removed and the wording used in Step Two inserted instead of “God”: we
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of a Power greater than ourselves as we understood a Power greater than ourselves.
I like that we don’t have to understand the Power perfectly. It reminds me of how in Step Two, I learned we don’t have to believe in the Power, we just have to be willing to believe. (See the end of this post.)
If we don’t have to believe in it, and we don’t have to understand it perfectly, will it work? Yes. I know and witness to you that there is such Power, and I don’t understand it perfectly and it works for me. And I definitely know I did not believe in it before I tried it. I built trust in it by using it.
OK, Beth, just what is this Power you are recommending?
Glad you asked. Well, of all the powers greater than ourselves listed at the beginning of this post (Love; our higher selves; Nature, Gaia, or Mother Earth; our ancestors), I’m going to choose one that’s apparently not even on the list: Clarity. Clarity is greater than capitalism–if you surrender to it. That’s why we bother to be RAISING CLARITY. It’s not G-d. It’s just a powerful Power if you take it seriously–if you build your life around it. (That’s why we built our practice around it.)
Clarity is self-reinforcing. It doesn’t matter how you get there. It’s not just that all roads can lead to clarity. It’s that clarity will light you on all roads! If you are simply honest about your experience (as you’ve already had to be to complete Step One), you will be surrendering to clarity. And you will be building clarity. If you meditate, you will build clarity which will then go outward into your life with you. If you pray, you get clarity. If you treat yourself and other beings the way you really mean to and hang the consequences, the consequences change and you experience greater clarity. It’s a win-win.
The qualities of clarity are luminosity, spaciousness, something that feels like emptiness until you get used to it (and then it still feels empty but you love it, it’s delicious).
Clarity includes, in my humble experience, ease of decisionmaking; awareness of circumstances and how to deal with even hard ones easily; crazy creativity and resourcefulness; cooperative power. And we need these when we stop surrendering to capitalism in order to replace capitalism’s high-risk, deceptively high-cost, addictive security with a gentler, truer, stabler security that starts with attending to your own emotions, circumstances, relationships, energies and resources. I don’t just mean your money; I mean your time, your relationships, your emotions, your circumstances, and your energies. These comprise (some of) your resources, just as they also comprise our challenges.
Finally, remember that surrender takes time. It takes time to practice, but it also takes time to work. Surrender, and keep surrendering, and remembering simply to attend to your own experience, cultivate clarity, and let it help you make decisions, find creative options and employ them, enjoy the finer things in life (the subtleties of your experience you will now notice), and become a person you and others like even more. Namaste.