Chicken or Egg

Ever hear testimonies like, “I wake up at 5 every morning to pray for an hour, meditate for another, then go for a run as the sun rises. Throughout the day, I’m in contact with God whenever difficulties arise, or sometimes, just to chat with Him. I make sure I reach out to at least two people to do service to them, however small and humble. At the end of the day, I write down a list of things I’m grateful for, then I get on my knees in thanksgiving and pray for at least fifteen minutes before I turn in at 10pm. I attend fellowship meetings twice a week, the prayer meeting once a week, and do community work at least once a fortnight. I donate to the poor too. And that’s why I’m in good recovery.”

Really annoying right?

Mainly because I don’t do what they do, and don’t have what they have. Simple envy tends to lead to me making excuses. But more of that another time.

On a more serious note, I’ve always wondered – is it because they do these things, therefore they are in fit spiritual state? Or is it because they are in fit spiritual state, therefore they can do these things, which, while there is no doubt they are good, worthy habits and probably help one maintain a fit spiritual state, attempting to do them when one is not in fit spiritual state could be counter-productive.

Are they in a good state of mind? (In Christian terms – broken and contrite, repentant and humble. In Addiction terms – admitting powerlessness over addictive behaviour and willing to turn to a Higher Power for help) Hence they are able to take these Actions? Or do taking these Actions bring them to the aforementioned good state of mind?

On a more personal, self-pitying tone, do I have to do all these things at all? Isn’t it unreasonable? The big guns in Recovery do all these things because they are already in a good head space (not successful, but willing). What about those of us who aren’t quite so willing? Would attempting to do all these on top of normal life, which is often falling apart, simply add burden to a system already at breaking point?

The closest I have to an answer came from my Tai Chi teacher during a Beginner’s class many years ago. See it here.

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