I have recently read the book, "Addiction and Grace" by Gerald G. May, M.D. and was so touched by the ideas presented in the book that I'm re-reading it. What surprises me is that many of the ideas Dr. May represents are parallel to the ideas presented in the 12-step model, which you know I have little use for. But for some reason the way Dr. May presents them makes them more palatable to me and I find myself nodding in affirmation, feeling the words and ideas as a truth my cells know something about. This is how the book begins:
1. Desire: Addiction and Human Freedom
After twenty years of listening to the yearnings of people's hearts, I am convinced that all human beings have an inborn desire for God. Whether we are consciously religious or not, this desire is our deepest longing and our most precious treasure. It gives us meaning. Some of us have repressed this desire, burying it beneath so many other interests that we are completely unaware of it. Or we may experience it in different ways - as a longing for wholeness, completion of fulfillment. Regardless of how we describe it, it is a longing for love. It is a hunger to love, to be loved, and to move closer to the Source of love. This yearning is the essence of the human spirit; it is the origin of our highest hopes and most noble dreams.
From the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:
Chapter 4 - We Agnostics
Actually we were fooling ourselves, for deep down in every man, woman, and child is the fundamental idea of God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. For faith in a power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives, are facts as old as man himself. We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us.
I wonder a lot about this idea - that a desire for god is part of our DNA as human beings. What I've stopped wondering about lately is whether it's a part of mine - it surely seems to be. This is where all my images and representations and constructs become confusing, where religious education proves futile. It is not a longing I can attach to anything, it just is - a longing for something that defies definition, a longing that has always been with me, that is much more a part of me than my eyes or the color of my hair, or even the breath of spirit that gives me life in the present moment. It is a longing that I have finally decided to honor.