The higher power concept need not be concerned with a deity.
BOOK REVIEW: In the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts, Close Encounters with Addiction, by Gabor Mate, M.D.: This post is a verbatim condensation of Chapter 34 – Addiction and the Spiritual Quest. Dr. Mate believes that “For many people, the higher power concept need not be concerned with a deity or anything expressly spiritual. It simply means rising above their self-regarding ego and committing to serve something greater than their own immediate desires.
As you practice the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps and you serve people and help the community, your heart softens. That’s the greatest gift, a soft heart. According to a recent study, a key contributor to humane behavior is the posterior superior temporal cortex, a region at the back of the brain whose function includes an awareness of other peoples emotional states. It seems that we are wired to be in tune with one another’s needs, which is one of the roots of empathy. [Empathy has always been difficult for me and therefore the practice of empathy is one of my connections to higher power]
All humans are seeking a higher power
All of us human beings, whether we know it or not, are seeking our own divine nature. Divine in this context does not mean anything supernatural or necessarily religious, only the truth of our oneness with all that is, an ineffable sense of connectedness to other people and other beings and to each and every shard of matter or spark of energy in the entire universe. When we cease to remember that loving connection and lose touch with our deep yearning for it, we suffer. This is what Jesus meant by poverty. It’s also what the contemporary spiritual teacher Eckart Tolle sees as the fundamental source of human anxiety:
Brief Guide to Enlightenment:
Basically, all emotions are modifications of one primordial, undifferentiated emotion that has its origin in the loss of awareness of who you are beyond name and form. Because of its undifferentiated nature, it is hard to find a name that precisely describes this emotion. “Fear” comes close, but apart from a continuous sense of threat, it also includes a deep sense of abandonment and incompleteness. It may be best to use a term that is as undifferentiated as that basic emotion and simply call it “pain.” –The Power of Now, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Eckhart Tolle, 1997.
Everybody’s got something to hide except for me and my monkey
Misplaced attachment to what cannot satiate the soul is not an error exclusive to addicts but is the common condition of mankind. It is this ubiquitous mind-state that leads to suffering and calls prophets, spiritual masters, and great teachers into our midst. Our designated “addicts” march at the head of a long procession from which few of us ever step out of line.”