As bill sees it

From As Bill Sees It (collected readings of Bill Wilson, AA’s Co-Founder)

Not Allied with Any Sect – 34
While AA has restored thousands of poor Christians to their churches, and has made believers out of atheists and agnostics, it has also made good AA’s out of those belonging to the Buddhist, Islamic and Jewish faiths.  For example, we question very much whether our Buddhist members in Japan would ever have joined this Society had AA officially stamped itself as a strictly Christian movement.  You can easily convince yourself of this by imagining that AA started among the Buddhists and that they then told you you couldn’t join unless you became a Buddhist, too.  If you were a Christian alcoholic under these circumstances, you might well turn your face to the wall and die.   Letter, 1954

Spiritual kindergarten –95
We are only operating a spiritual kindergarten in which people are enabled to get over drinking and find the grace to go on living to better effect.  Each man’s theology has to be his own quest, his own affair.  Letter, 1954

When the Big Book was being planned, some members thought it ought to be Christian in the doctrinal sense.  Others had no objection to the use of the word “God,” but wanted to avoid doctrinal issues.  Spirituality, yes.  Religion, no.  Still others wanted a psychological book, to lure the alcoholoc in.  Once in, he could take God or leave him alone as he wished.  To the rest of us this was shocking, but happily we listened.  Our group conscience was at work to construct the most acceptable and effective book possible.  Every voice was playing its appointed part.  Our atheists and agnostics widened our gateway so that all who suffer might pass through, regardless of their belief of lack of belief.  AA Comes of Age, pp. 162, 163, 167.


From Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron

The Love That Will Not Die

Spiritual awakening is frequently described as a journey to the top of a mountain.  We leave our attachments and our worldliness behind and slowly make our way to the top.  At the peak we have transcended all pain.  The only problem with this metaphor is that we leave all others behind.  Their suffering continues, unrelieved by our personal escape.

On the journey of the warrior-boddhisattva*, the path goes down, not up as if the mountain pointed toward the earth instead of the sky.  Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward turbulence and doubt however we can.  We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away.  If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it is.  At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down.  With us move millions of others, our companions in awakening from fear.  At the bottom we discover water, the healing water of bodhichitta.^  Bodhichitta is our heart – our wounded, softened heart.  Right down there in the thick of things we discover the love that will not die.  This love is bodhichitta.  It is gentle and warm; it is clear and sharp; it is open and spacious.  The awakened heart of bodhichitta is the basic goodness of all beings.

* Warrior-boddhisattva — One who aspires to act from the awakened heart of bodhichitta for the benefit of others.
^ Bodhichitta — The awakened heart of loving-kindness and compassion