When You Experience Grace You Experience This Radical Acceptance that You Don't Have to Do Anything

In self-help it’s all about going from A to B: I have a problem–I’m not writing a book, I don’t have a relationship, whatever. I’m at A and I want to get to B. I want to get to this place but I can’t.

…Self-help will generally go, “Here are some tips here’s some advice…” but it doesn’t work.

…I want to come back to a very religious term Grace. What is Grace?

Grace is the idea of not moving from A to B, so it’s fundamentally anti-self-help, anti-ideological. It goes, “No, you don’t move anywhere.” Grace is: you’re accepted absolutely in your shitness…It’s the acceptance that you’re accepted….when you experience Grace, you experience this radical acceptance that you don’t have to do anything—that the frenetic pursuit, you don’t have to engage in it.

So Grace is: you don’t go from A to B you stay at A and you realize that A does not equal A.

…So suddenly you start just seeing this stuff, you start putting words to it, symbolizing it, and here’s the trick: the trick is by doing that, it weakens the symptomatic dimension…

So ironically self-help, which is always trying to get you from A to B, is always failing because it doesn’t take into consideration the enjoyment that you’re getting from [failure] but in Grace, where you don’t have to do anything, you encounter yourself in your own divisions, you can develop a curiosity with your own unconscious and you can kind of move forward.

What we’re talking about is how do you create communities of Grace as opposed to ideological spaces of self-help.


Alcoholics Anonymous, Chapter 5 – How It Works

Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful. In trying to make these arrangements our actor may sometimes be quite virtuous. He may be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing. On the other hand, he may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest. But, as with most humans, he is more likely to have varied traits.

What usually happens? The show doesn’t come off very well. He begins to think life doesn’t treat him right. He decides to exert himself more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. Still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well?

(Emphasis mine.)

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