The 12 Steps to Joy and Happiness (3)
Dec 02, 2018
The 12 Steps to Joy and Happiness (3)
We are looking at the 12-steps discussed in my book, The 12 Steps to Joy and Happiness, finding the “kingdom of God that lies within” (Luke 17:21).We have seen that these 12 steps are a derived from the 12-steps of Alcohol Anonymous (AA), the successful program used to help those with substance addictions find release and freedom. I use the connotation (AA) to indicate the steps of AA, and the connotation (JH) to indicate the steps in my new book on finding eternal Joy and Happiness.
First we saw, once we admitted we were feeling lost in life with no sure way to recover, that we needed to move beyond our ego (the ‘I can do it myself’ internal attitude) and reach for the power that created our universe, our life, and our consciousness in this life. Maybe, just maybe, that power can overcome our crummy internal feeling that life seems to be spinning out of our control.
Then we had to let ourselves relax into that power, knowing that if that power can create the universe, it may be able to relieve our pain and anxiety. If we do this step, usually we feel a great sense of relief and joy: I don’t have to run my universe all by myself. I can trust in the power of the universe to ease my concerns and fears. I can find heaven on earth, just as Jesus promised, and all great teachers of the Way pointed out. I can die and be reborn, so that physical death itself is only a step from one state of consciousness to another.
But how do I maintain that sense of joy that has blossomed in my heart? We have to make room for the new awareness of eternity to find a home in our consciousness. This process is cleaning out all the stuff we have been hauling around in our souls all these years. All the shame, fears, guilt, anxieties, the many things we did and the huge number of things we failed to do. (Don’t know about you, but I fail things to do things that would help others far more than I do things that are hurtful.) This process can be uncomfortable, but the relief and freedom we feel cannot be described, and is critical to achieve the love, joy, and happiness that awaits us in the kingdom of God that is ours, right here and now.
Step 10 of the original 12-step program continues this process:
- (AA)Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
The step 9 of The 12 Steps to Joy and Happiness follows a slightly different path of encouraging us to consider a new direction in life:
- (JH)We commit to a life of healing and transformation. Through our thoughts, words, and actions, we will demonstrate who we are in truth.
It is at this point that our gear-shift in life takes hold. We will find we stutter and stumble much of the time, but progress is made in finding a wonderful sense of freedom and joy in life. We discover the truth in the wisdom that only by giving do we receive. We discover that the more we give, the greater our joy and happiness becomes. This leads directly to step 10:
- (JH)We continue to examine our lives and pursue a spiritual solution by surrendering to God.
The process of looking deeply at ourselves is a daily (or more often, as I have found out over the years), sighing a bit, then surrendering myself into the care of God, again and again, every day, every day. This does require us to renew our commitment to a spiritual life on a daily bases.
The original AA step is:
- (AA)Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
My eleventh step is very similar:
- (JH)We commit to using various forms of prayer and meditation to increase our conscious contact with God, praying only for the knowledge of God’s desires for us, and our willingness to carry that out.
This step is so critical if we are to find lasting joy and happiness. Daily contact with the universal spirit keeps us humble and forms a giving nature, as the spirit of God is a giving power called Love: God is Love; whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in them. (1 John 4:16). Love is giving, only giving to fill the internal self with Joy and Happiness. This step is the key for lasting peace, for Love always has a smile and feels joy at the core of it’s (love) being. After all, Love IS the core of our Being, and by living in conscious Love we ride the waves of eternal Joy and Happiness.
Step 12 rounds out the true nature of love in our being, for it is only be giving joy do we find joy. Step 12 of AA states it thus:
- (AA)Having has a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The12 steps to Joy and Happiness puts it this way:
12 (JH)We are committed to continued exploration of these sacred dimensions in our lives. We will endeavor to pass these practices and purposes to others seeking joy and happiness and practice these principles in our lives.
This joyful road never ends, even at the time we leave the physical plane, for we will have already died to our life and are new in all we do. All that occurs at death is an awakening to all that is, what we have been living in joyful light is now the blazing glory of eternity far beyond what could have conceived of before the unveiling of what we call death.
The 12 steps become a way of life, bringing meaning to all we do.
My Comforter and Joy, my awareness has allowed me to see eternity in all its wonderous beauty even now. It may be still shaded, as I am limited by my physical awareness in what I can see, but all becomes clear at the passing from this plane. I await this step with joy and peace, knowing that all is truly good and joyful at all times. My trust is in Your overwhelming presence, and Your warm presence fills my life with constant joy. I ask only that You grant me the ability to give of myself, as You have given all to the universe, joyfully creating the glory that is in all I feel and see.