On recovery: Taking personal inventory with Step 10


It is a lifelong endeavor to stay current with our feelings and be present in each day. Ayurveda, Yoga and the 12 Steps all suggest we must continue to go inside and look at our motives and actions to be sure they are centered around God. By looking inside, we can point ourselves in the direction we truly want to go.

​How we choose to live each day matters. Our thoughts, words and actions are all part of the natural law of cause and effect, called karma. At any point we are either creating positive karmas or negative karmas for ourselves. We are either moving toward God and recovery or away from God, into sickness and suffering.

In Step 10, we begin a routine of ongoing self-examination. This is svadhyaya, self-examination, from the niyamas of Yoga. Step 10 keeps us honest and current so we may continue to operate in the sunlight of the spirit on a daily basis.

How do we practice Step 10? We can take a few minutes each evening before bed, noting the things we have done well and where we can do better next time. This is also time to admit if there is anything to clear up tomorrow that is unfinished or needs amends to repair.

We can also take a spot check inventory during the day to see how things are going. And for some, an annual inventory allows for a broader view to be sure we are staying on the spiritual beam.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali suggest we must practice with determination and consistency over a long period of time. The 12 Steps literature of Alcoholics Anonymous says we must make our recovery a lifelong practice, not resting on our laurels lest we fall back into old ways. This concept is found in most other spiritual traditions as well.  

Trying to be perfect builds ego. Step 10 helps us realize we are perfectly imperfect. We need only progress in the direction of acceptance and surrender while aiming for excellence. When we realize the God of our heart, whether through Yoga, the 12 Steps or both, it brings us a deep abiding joy in the process of living a spiritual life. We experience the peace and inner stillness that is the road of happy destiny.

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