In the Twelve & Twelve it says "The world's libraries and places of worship are a treasure trove for all seekers." What are your favorite treasures that helped you and continue to help you on your spiritual journey?
What an absolutely wonderful question!
The first nugget in my treasure chest is of course the “Big Book” and the 12 steps of recovery. Most of us who have been granted a reprieve from the diseases of alcoholism and drug addiction owe a great deal to the Oxford group, Bill W., and Dr. Bob. Quite a few of the bricks in my sober foundation come from the pages of the Big Book, it was here that i found a beginning definition of the God i was to eventually come to know. It tells me, that it is God i need to find and turn my life over to, for only God has all power (pg. 59), that God is the Spirit of the Universe (pg. 52 & 75), it states that God, must be a Power greater than myself (pg. 55), that God is Infinite Power and Love (pg. 56), that is God is my Creator (pg. 68 & 76 & 83). It is in living, eating, breathing the steps that i was prepared, molded and shaped to come into relationship with this God of Love, Forgiveness, Kindness, Patience, Grace, Mercy and Generosity
Once well grounded in the principles of recovery and working steps 10, 11, and 12 on a daily basis i began find other jewels to add to my treasure chest. The first was a remarkable little book from the late 1800’s titled "As A Man Thinketh" by James Allen; it was here that i began to learn that i could control and guide my thinking. Then i came to "The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck; to my surprise i learned that life was difficult for everyone; most certainly not just for me or my fellow addicts but for everyone who has ever walked the Earth. Another significant gem found was a small book by Henry Drummond, "The Greatest Thing in the World;" it provided me with a working definition of how to love and live in humility. On humility it states “Humility--to put a seal upon your lips and forget what you have done. After you have been kind, after Love has stolen forth into the world and done its beautiful work, go back into the shade again and say nothing about it Love hides even from itself. Love waives even self-satisfaction. "Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up." i also found in the pages of this book a code for life that has served me well over the years. It is, “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."
My garden was now tilled and healthy seed was planted. As James Allen said, “A man's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind. Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts, By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master gardener of his soul.”
This was powerful stuff. Life changing and wonderful beyond anything i had ever imagined. It was now that the Bible, most especially the Psalms and the Proverbs began to provide dynamic faith seed. James 1:2-4 provided an understanding of life that was sorely needed. It says, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (The Message).Imagine my amazement when i came to find that the trials and hardships of life had meaning and purpose, that i was not a victim of senseless and cruel circumstances.
There are of course many, many other precious gems that make up my treasure chest. Time and space prohibits my discussing them at length. We must remember always the importance of growth, it is essential for happiness. We must remain open to further pruning, tilling and planting of fresh seed. There is no final destination point when walking a spiritual path. We dare not allow ourselves to think at any time that we have finally arrived, for that will lead to stagnation, decay, and death. The Big Book reminds us that “God will constantly disclose more to us with the passing of time” (pg. 164). Be of service to the world, be kind, and caring striving to always improve the human condition. Place your hand in God’s and allow yourself to be led by the Spirit. Have both faith and trust in the spiritual way of life. You will be filled with a joy beyond comprehension when you do. The storms of life will come, they are inevitable. Stay focused on the positive, give of yourself, and love.