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The Beauty of AA Step Ten and Buddhists Principles

Mike Mather

Fitting Ourselves to Service

In steps eight and nine we go about making amends to those we had harmed and the purpose of this is to make ourselves ‘fit for purpose’.

“Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us”.

I would add, to ourselves as well. In order to be of optimal service to the world, it starts with us. ‘How can I be most effective? Efficient’?

For instance, if my purpose were to run a marathon, I would ask, “Am I eating, sleeping, and exercising in the best way to prepare for the marathon”?

Hooded person walking into the sunset along a deserted country road

Photo by Tegan Mierle on Unsplash

Optimal Benefit

In the same way, if I am to be of optimal benefit to all living beings, I must be well directed at fulfilling my own requirements.

Therefore, in step ten, we reflect at the end of the day on how we have caused harm. The harm we do is primarily to self, however, the objective of this step is to reflect on the harm we have caused others.

In a manner that is ‘calm, frank, and open’, we admit when we are wrong to others and if necessary, we commit to an amends. Remember, we are promised a new freedom and a new happiness.

a woman cross-legged and elevating, with wings

Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

Freedom From, Freedom To

Freedom and happiness, from a Buddhist mindset, is possible through compassion, kindness, and equanimity. So, we are ever mindful of this when reflecting on the day just passed.

Be sure to be kind and compassionate to yourself, lest you become downhearted and twisted.

We need to maintain a good relationship with ourselves in order to go forth and be a well-meaning and purposeful member of our society.

If we find fault in actions that we have made throughout the day, we understand that, despite our best intentions, we are a work in progress — only the Buddha’s have perfections in order.

see also 'Can You Walk 20 Steps to Complete Freedom'

The Six Perfections

The Six Perfections are a great stock taking mechanism too.

‘Have I been Giving, Patient, Ethical, Compassionate, Wise, and made enough Effort’?

Starting with our self, we work outwards in concentric circles until we have thought about our relationship with the entire universe. In this way, we quickly see how we are living in accordance with our values and moral guidelines.

“The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it”.*

*AA Big Book, p63.

About the Author Mike Mather

Mike was born in 1963 which technically makes him one of the youngest of the Baby Boomers. An Australian with Indigenous and European heritage, he has been an avid and required student of Buddhism and alcoholism since 2008.

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