Saturday, July 11, 2009
In 1976 my life was a disaster. My actions had led me to Alcoholics Anonymous and to the growing understanding that change was inevitable, or else.
I was living in a halfway house and attended AA meetings daily. I studied the book continuously, and constantly reminded myself to turn problems over to the care of a God, as I didn't understand him at the time.
While working in the office of Clare Foundation, answering the telephone one weekend, I came across a book called Science Of Mind, written by Ernest Holmes.
Basically it was about the Spiritual, or Universal Law of Cause and Effect, and how that law works. In an oversimplification of the subject, it basically stated that, what one tends to focus on or think about begins to take shape overtime in real terms. Thinking, the cause; tangible results, the effect.
The book said that this process took place whether we were aware of it or not, so it would make sense, it said, to focus on what you wanted in your life as opposed to thinking about things you didn't want, negative view or positive view of your own ongoing circumstances.
Again, in an oversimplification of the text, I, for some reason, found this belief to be easily acceptable and the basis of a new adventure, which I was eager to embark on.
For several hours that day I read various chapters of the book, and when I put it down, had the sense that I'd discovered magic. It seemed as simple as deciding what you wanted your life to be like, and then holding that picture in your mind until it became a reality.
This was to be done no matter what the current circumstances of your life were like. This kind of clarity, if adhered to, would then automatically begin to take form in the physical world around you.
Back then I was broke and lived in a halfway house, so I immediately began seeing myself as not broke and living somewhere I liked, as well as staying clean and sober.
I focused on that picture as best I could, and whenever my mind would start to doubt it, I'd fight to reaffirm the chosen version of what I wanted, disregarding the current conditions of my life.
This was not a passing fancy of mine. Over the next few months I delved deeper and deeper into the book and constantly sought more clarity and focus on my goals.
The more concretely I could see the image, the more power the image had in making itself a reality. Now for clarification! I am not promoting the book Science Of Mind. I am telling you what I did in 1976.
The basic theory of the book is taken from sayings, such as, "It is done unto you as you believe," and "As a man thinketh so is he," and others like that. It is a theory of cause and effect as it relates to man's ability to think consciously and create what he thinks about.
I decided I could think myself into a new life. This was in fact what I'd done as a teenager in the 50's and 60's. I'd seen myself as a recording artist long before it happened, but none the less this was what I had done, so it made perfect sense to me to reengage the theory in 1976.
I had dreamed, or thought my way into the reality I wanted to live in, and away from that which I wanted to leave decades before. The book simply served to reinforce my own experience and explain the mechanics of it.
You have to remember that I was about five or six months sober at the time, and still in need of a lot of work on myself in dealing with my past.
Having said that, this new book and my simple understanding of its central point was another powerful tool in my thinking. My expectations for positive change gathered momentum almost immediately.
There were many I found in AA that knew of Science Of Mind, but I felt, because of my own experience, I had an edge in understanding that it actually worked.
During a twelve step call I made on a man who was nearly dead from alcoholism, and who died 3 days after I got him into a hospital, I concluded that I was actually living in the most concrete kind of second chance that I could have possibly hoped for.
It was made crystal clear to me, through that experience, that "There but for the grace of God go I," was the literal truth in my life. I had a miraculous opportunity waiting ahead of me if I would but accept it--not just think about it off and on, but accept it into my life as reality.
I was alive and sober, while the man I twelve stepped was not. I didn't know why I'd been spared or why he hadn't. This difference between him and me was etched into my psyche forever back then, and I knew I had to take advantage of what he hadn't found and that I was becoming aware of.
I carried him in my arms from his apartment, and he was covered with his own urine and feces. I will never forget his eyes as they stared into mine, or the fact that I was sober and he was not.
We were together at that moment, while separated by a thin line of life and death.