Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Seekers Anonymous

The problems we face in the world today are often related to our addictions – addictions to drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, codependency, video games, violence, work, oil and other cheap energy sources, and consumption to name a few.  With so many of us in one way or another suffering from these addictions, it is no wonder that we inflict the damages we do on our world and our fellow human beings.  Often times these addictive behaviors can actually be encouraged or taken advantage of by the dysfunctional organizations that make up our society.  These organizations include our families, schools, religions, governments, places of work, or corporations.

If we wish to change our behaviors and improve our relationship to the rest of the world, we need to face our individual addictions and challenge our organizations to change.  One suggested method of doing this was outlined in Robert Greenleaf’s essay “On Being a Seeker in the Late Twentieth Century” which was included in the book SEEKER AND SERVANT.  Greenleaf proposed the formation of an organization called "Seekers Anonymous" that would be modeled on the group Alcoholics Anonymous.  He suggested, “For those who participate, healing, in the sense of being made whole, will come from deep involvement with creative work on the structural flaws in our society, work that has both meliorative and society building consequences”.

The organization would be "religious in the root meaning of the word, re ligio, to rebind: to bridge the separation between persons and the cosmos, to heal the widespread alienation, and to reestablish men and women in the role of servants — healers of society."  And he asked this question, “Are we adequately reinforcing one another as seekers in order to build, in each of us, the required competence, clarity, and strength to serve?”

If we hope to implement something like what Greenleaf proposed, we will need to follow the same universal principles contained in the Alcoholic Anonymous Twelve Steps. 

A possible Seekers Anonymous version of these steps might include the following:

1. Admit that our current lifestyles are not working and our powerlessness over our current lifestyle.

2. Believe there is a better way to do things, and trust this better way can be found and restore us to sanity.

3.  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to this better way, however we understand it.

4. Conduct a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admit to ourselves and another human being the nature of our problems.

6. Become ready to accept that our old troublesome behaviors and ways of life can be replaced with better ones, and begin looking for what these better options might be.

7. Humbly request that our problematic behaviors and lifestyles be changed.  

8. Make a list of others we have harmed and become willing to make amends.

9. Make direct amends wherever possible; begin implementing changes in our lives.

10. Continue to take personal inventory, and admit and grow from our mistakes.

11. Practice some form of meditation, seeking to find a better way, and the power to carry it out.

12.  Having a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, carry the message to others, and practice these principles in all our affairs.  

For another take on the concept of Seekers Anonymous download and read Larry Spears and Richard Leider’s essay on the topic here

I have also posted another blog about the 12 Traditions which could be some guiding principles for operating Seekers Anonymous groups here.

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