The Disease of The Spirit
For those of us who have suffered any Past Trauma Events or diagnosed with PTSD, know that Soul Destroying Feeling; that Hole in Our Soul; That Eats Away At Us; Robbing us of Hope, True Joy & Purpose. No matter what we try to fill this hole in with, they all fail miserably in the end. Man-Made solutions are left wanting, we need a Spiritual Solution.
Once more, please replace Compulsive Overeaters Language, with Your Condition, Disorder or Trauma Event, and The Triggers & Broken Coping Skills, attached to them.
The title of this commentary, puts in simple words the uniqueness & special place that Overeaters Anonymous has earned and still earns within the whole approach to the problem of Compulsive Overeating.
It was not easy to determine how to apply the program dealing with alcoholism, in which thousands have learned to live without drinking, to a commodity -food- without which, no-one can live. I am sure that this difficulty still exists within the minds of some. For many others, however, it is clear that what compulsive overeaters and alcoholics have in common is
“A Need to Nourish the Spiritual Side of Their Nature.”
All in all, it is the saving grace of the Spiritual in the OA program, that has made for its success & growth and I can prophesy that OA will continue to grow, bringing not only sane eating habits, but Spiritually and Morally Oriented Lives, that will help build society.
Spiritual Values are important because they deal with the whole person. Wholeness in this sense, is related to ‘Holiness’. A Holy person is one whose Body, Mind & Spirit share an Equality that was [and is] The Intention and Plan of God, for all men. Such a person takes his/her place within the community with ease & grace; motivated by a deep abiding sense of thanksgiving. Such individuals become creative & constructive; not only with the family circle or community, but in the arts and sciences.
“Their creative energies are not blocked by Shame, Guilt, Self-Pity, Hate; nor by facades of Arrogance, Aggressiveness & Uncaring Attitudes”
It is only as The Hurt and Damaged Soul is Given Emotional and Spiritual Sustenance, that these destructive characteristics slough off, and love begins to flow freely from within & from there, outward.
Let us look at the Spiritual Food. To it begins with, it falls under the heading of Love- the most abused, misused & yet the most wonderful word in the English Language. Without Love, every other human virtue or ability is as ‘sounding brass’. Love is a Spiritual Commodity, that is not confined to the limits of any religious community. No-0ne has a corner on it. It is free.
Free to fill the lives of all who allow it to flow freely. And as it flows, it both washes, gives life & glorifies its Source- God.
That brings me to my first point. Those who are prone to stuff themselves with food that makes their bodies unsightly are refusing the food that satisfies and soothes the unhappy soul within.
Have they said “ I don't deserve anything Good” for such a long time, that they are literally putting their heels on that Source of Love that alone can bring peace? Or have they become so discouraged or so angry that they deny even the Existence of Love , let alone God?
All of us can identify with such feelings. Compulsive Overeaters & Alcoholics, Gamblers & Drug Addicts, are not the only inhabitants of Life’s Grey Areas. The number of such afflicted persons is legion.
there are three stages in the process of getting any kind of food.
1, take your body to the food.
2 Dish it out and eat it.
3 Enjoy it and use the energy it creates.
It is the same with spiritual food; Food for the Soul; Let us look at these 3 stages.
Take your body to the food- sometimes people become so sick with overeating that the spiritual food has to come through those who cares, one who loves. But sometimes He knocks at the door of our lives in the form of a person or a book or magazine article, a thought, a hope. The knocking is heard, but often the door remains shut. Sooner or later, however, it must be opened to allow some help to enter. In most cases, many kinds of help have been tried. They all involve money, effort & disappointment. Finally the message gets through. Someone cared enough to reach the starving soul. You allow Love within your life. you are ready to take your body to spiritual food.
This stage follows closely upon the accomplishments of the first. how surprising to find- and difficult to believe- that all those people at OA meetings understand your problem & care about you!
You see Love, that is accepted immediately eliminates your aloneness. The only way you can use Love as a word, when by yourself is by loving yourself,& no Compulsive Overeater des that at first. So it must be done by Allowing Someone Else’s Love, into your Life. This very action of allowing others & being included is Food for the Soul- the starving waif within the stuffed body!
But the process of Love has begun. Carefully, even suspiciously, we allow a few people closer to our inner self. Through trusting them, even passively, we move closer to Love. We may call these people foolhardy to Love us, but the pain & loneliness drive us to respond. It becomes easier & easier until we ‘over Love’ and someone lets us down. This happens because Immature Love tries to posses & control. Then we run back into our shell & lick our wounds, and perhaps a few platters in the process. Like a mighty flood, we feel swamped again by the compulsion that once, all but destroyed our lives. A phone call; an understanding member hears our story & levels with us .Thankfully, there are many who have learned the difference between Loving & over-loving. They are always standing by, ready to help.
What a relief to be on the raft of OA again- that group of people that take us firmly by the hand in Love & Fellowship.
It is then we are encouraged to invest two new kinds of food.
First, understanding for our straight-jacketed minds this comes from OA literature & other resources.
Secondly, We learn that Prayer & Meditation have a lot to do with satisfying The Hungry Inner One. Finally we can listen to the stories you hear at meetings with a deeper insight. We study the traditions, born out of pain & trial, which have kept the spiritual movement living & growing for nearly 70 years. We learn that others have personal histories more traumatic than ours. We acquire Humility. We learn some of the tricks of the trade of wholesome living. And finally we can turn to the healthy sauce of good humor. We can not only laugh at the ridiculous reasoning & situations others go through, but we learn to laugh at ourselves.
‘Humor is a most important ingredient of Love.’
I think it shakes down the food.- now shrinking away- so that you can make room within yourself with others. This is a major step forward because it takes some of the emotional heat [ condemnation ] off yourself. And what a relief this is!
All of them digestible forms of Love-Food for the Soul.
Somewhere along this pathway, the spiritual becomes real to you. You begin to be aware of mystical qualities that become important and real.
Is this the birth of a soul? No!
Because the soul is not dead. It was only starving denied & stifled. Now it moves within, purring with contentment as it begins it’s lifelong God-given task of furnishing control, establishing security & and finally giving purpose.
Now you understand what really attracted you to Compulsive Overeaters Anonymous. sure, you were impressed by a slim & trim figure. You wanted that too. But what really caught you was the Love, the Understanding, The Soul Qualities that touched you where you really lived, though you may not have been aware of it.
And wonders of wonders, you too become an instrument of Love. You doubted that you could, meet the needs of others, but soon the people around you began to respond to your Love. Now, you have reached the 3rd stage. You are walking on Cloud 9,only to be tripped up by pride & even a tinge of complacency or arrogance. The power you envied in others is now yours. You must learn to use it without losing your way again.
Sometimes this experience stands up on a stagnant ,arid plateau. You may see someone else maturing more rapidly than you. Disillusionment & standstill are result.
There is at the crossroads a Signpost you cannot miss:
“ Go Deeper With Others & With God”
God has provided may other means of fellowship and growth. They too offer ‘Soul Food’. But always remember your compulsion with food, does demand that kind of understanding & experience that members of OA can provide. But. now that your body is no longer your master, your mind is beginning to think clearly, and your soul is fed, nourished & functioning, you can reconsider those other sources of Soul Food.
I now leave off my description of this pilgrims progress which takes us from Compulsive Overeating to its replacement with Food for the Soul.
It is a journey that leads straight out of self made prisons & limitations into green pastures where we find many a table spread with wholesome food & a cup that overflows.
the Rev. Rolla. M. Boas
One of OA’s earliest supporters, a minister of the Episcopal church and the recipient of OA’s 1979 Appreciation Award. He passed away in 1993.
“I care about others because I care about myself. Because I kept coming back, I learned the validity of an elementary spiritual principle given to me by the Reverend Rollo M. Boas, one of OA’s earliest supporters: If you remove your body from the truth, when you are ready, the truth is nowhere to be found. But if you continue to bring your body to the truth, then when you are ready, the truth is waiting there for you.”
Now, real quick, I have no idea what all that actually means. However, the next portion is the part that was so intriguing to me.
“And that truth — our promise of recovery — is in every O.A. meeting when we join hands, pray together, and joyously, lovingly encourage one another: Keep coming back!”
I was sick and tired of always feeling sick and tired, I hated the suggestion that I was mentally, but the perspective that I was suffering from a Spiritual Illness, a Malady, caused by suffering my past in the present, a self sabotaging behavior as I learned to understand I was completely powerless over the past and continuing to feed it in the present, was causing almost every area of my life to be unmanageable.
It was at this moment of Spiritual Awakening, that I embraced that Christ performed miracles, most notably the casting out of demons, and in the Bible each of us are promised, guaranteed, when we embrace Christ, His Salvation and His Teachings, then we too can cast out our demons.
But this Work requires us to Cleanse the Wounded Soul and this is achieved though Faith & Belief in Him & for each of us to put The Work in.