Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
In doing this step I can honestly say, made me realise why I had suffered, and what the cause of that suffering was!
Moral means; ” A standard”. So I had to look at my standards for myself, and the standards I had set other people (THE CAUSE OF SO MUCH RESENTMENT).
My sponsor suggested that I list all of my guilt’s, resentments, fears and sexual conduct because between these I would find the cause of my emotional pain or spiritual dis-ease, call it what you will.
Why do this step? Well, if you are a product of your past and you are unhappy now, then something has gone wrong in the past! If you have spent, drank, used drugs, eaten to get away from bad feelings, then it is suggested you look at the cause of these bad feelings.
There is a cliché that says, “The straw that broke the camels back”. Well, making a fearless moral inventory takes straws off our backs; it makes life less of a burden. It lightens the load!
When you are full of resentment it is like farting, everyone close to you gets a whiff!
But when you are on a spiritual path it is like wearing a lovely perfume, everyone close to you gets a whiff!
The idea of a fearless moral inventory is to start to see what is in our character that causes triggers for resentment, guilt, and fear from other people to us or us to other people.
It is about learning not to over react! A word that flies off the tongue is like an arrow leaving a bow for a target!
If you are an angry or resentful person then the following list of defects of character are the cause of your pain! Without these defects you will have peace of mind!
Simple! Learn the cause and effect, and then learn to practice opposites, result peace of mind; and that is what it is all about. Practice opposites.
The following defects are the cause of resentment, anger and hatred. Anger is not a defect of character. If someone attacks you, you have to be angry to save your life! But if your anger is caused by one of the following defects of character, then that is self-righteous anger which means that we will always suffer, until we see the true cause of our Dis-ease.
THE CAUSE OF SUFFERING OR DEFECTS OF CHARACTER.
PRIDE – HIGH OPINION OF ONES OWN QUALITIES, MERITS OR CONDUCT.
Does pride stop you saying sorry, or asking for help?
Does your pride say “The best way not to fail, is not to try?”
A prisoner of peoples opinions that can lead us to overreact, or not to do anything because of “what will people will think”.
Healthy price, makes us act in a way that is caring to ourselves and other people. It is a good sense of well being knowing that you have tried your best (you may of even failed, but you tried!)
IMPATIENCE – Not enduring! Wanting everything now.
HEALTHY IMPATIENCE – When you’re sick of being the way you are and want to change now!
INTOLERANCE – Not able to endure opinions, beliefs, or actions.
HEALTHY INTOLERANCE – When your endurance of your habit, drinking, taking drugs or letting people walk all over you stops!
ENVY – Resentful of more fortunate people. Their health, looks, intelligence or ways.
HEALTHY ENVY – When it turns to admiration!
JEALOUSY – The fear of being out done, suspicious, dislike of someone who you see as better than you, wealth, women, looks. The fear of being replaced by another! Seeing people as rivals.
HEALTHY JEALOUSY - Treat people well, or they will go elsewhere.
SELFISHNESS - Doing your own desires or interests without caring how it effects other peoples emotions or life.
HEALTHY SELFISHNESS - Doing what’s best for you! Not being a prisoner of peoples opinions.
SELF-PITY - A feeling of being hard done by! Poor me.
HEALTHY SELF PITY - “People have hurt me, people have used me, people have stolen from me, people have abused me, but I am not going to resent, I am going to enjoy life and learn from the experience of the past”.
SELF-CENTEREDNESS - Pre-occupied with your own ways and actions, not caring about other people.
CENTEREDNESS - When you stop being a door mat, and stand up for what is right for you!
ARROGANCE - I am right and you are wrong! Tending never to listen, but to argue, and to believe that you are always right. What is an argument? A billion ways to say “I am right and you are wrong”.
HEALTHY ARROGANCE - What you think of me does not matter, humility when you think, “Does it matter?”.
SLOTH - Slow or absence of activity. When actions should be done.
HEALTHY SLOTH - Taking time out of the rat race and relaxing, meditating, contemplating!
DISHONESTY - DECEITFULNESS, FRAUDULENCE, LACK OF HONOUR (before you resent, ask, “Have I ever done anything similar in my life for what I am going to resent that person for?”)
HEALTHY DISHONESTY – Is when a friend says “Do you think that I am fat and ugly?” and you say “No!”, even though you know different.
LUST – Animal desire for sexual indulgence! To want passionately.
HEALTHY LUST – I want peace of mind, I want to live a blameless life! Or a romantic weekend.
GREED - To want more than is needed.
HEALTHY GREED – To have peace of mind, and to then want more.
It is best to start with listing your resentments, my sponsor suggested to do it this way. List each resentment separately, never write the word “and” (between each resentment) because it is another resentment.
List Each Resentment
This after listing MY defects here I started to see how much power I had given people! I started to see that it is not the action of other people, but MY reaction is the cause of your resentment/emotional pain.
Remember that “moral” means standards you have from yourself or other people.
A FEW EXAMPLES OT TAKING A MORAL INVENTORY
He chatted my wife up
Self Pity (How could he do that to me?).
Jealousy (The fear of being replaced by another).
Dishonesty (Have I ever chatted anyone up? Have I ever been unfaithful?).
This resentment can be undone by thinking “Is my wife with me now?”.
“Well, to be honest, I have chatted up other men’s wives and girlfriends”.
He came into work late, he is always doing it, I have to do more work and the boss gets angry
Impatience, Self Pity, Dishonesty.
Impatience – I want him to be on time
Self Pity – Poor me
Dishonesty – Have I ever been late?
She dumped me for someone else
Self Pity, Pride, Self-centredness, Dishonesty.
Self Pity – Poor me, how could she doe that to me?
Pride – What will people think?
Dishonesty – Have I ever finished with anyone?
Self-Centeredness – You are only thinking of your happiness, in fact you want to take her prisoner!
If you look at this resentment you will see the cause of the reaction, I resented Mary because she finished with me, but had I ever finished a relationship?, Yes, would I have liked her to resent you? Would you have wanted her to put emotional handcuffs on you?, No. Then don’t do it to her!
Dishonesty is resenting someone for something that you have done yourself.
When you look at the right hand column you start to see the real problem and that peace of mind will not come if you hang on to your resentments. Practice the opposite of the defect box and peace and freedom will flow in!
In short, I may of had the worst childhood, or the worst parents/wife/girlfriend. They may have abused me psychologically or sexually by resenting, by hating them, they are still abusing me! We have to learn to accept our past. That does not mean I agree, but I stop hurting myself by making the mind spin around by wanting my life to be different! That is the cause of my emotion, wishing it had been different.
Again I had to learn that if I wanted peace of mind, acceptance is the key to the doorway that will lead me out of misery! I owe it to myself to let the past go.
If someone walked into the room now and hit you on the head with a hammer and then dropped the hammer on the floor and ran out, would you pick the hammer up and carry on hitting yourself, no, it would be madness, but with resentment we do carry on doing it to ourselves. Remember, resentment means to re-feel!! So we re-feel every time we hate them, resent them, despise them or want to get back at them. They have won! You are still suffering. Ask yourself how many weeks, months, years that you have had this resentment! Let it go.
If you hair went on fire now you would rush to water and put the fire out. But because of your instincts to survive or self preserve would kick in and take over. But with resentment we watch the fire and blame someone for lighting it! They are at fault, look what they did to me all those years ago.
It was suggested to me that I should list all of my fears. Just like I did my resentments.
I think they will see me blush
I don’t want to die
Pride, Self Pity!, Arrogance
Pride – What people think of me?
Self Pity – They will laugh at me and I will run away.
Arrogance – Who am I to be laughed at?
This is one of the biggest fears I have come access in my time whilst going through and doing the steps with people.
Self-Pity is the trigger!
Acceptance sets you free. Think that every time you become obsessed with death, you are killing your joy for life. Say to yourself, “Am I alive now?”.- If you are, enjoy your life, help people, try and get out of self-obsession.
A Buddhist way of getting over the fear of death is by meditation on your own death. We will cover this in step 11.
I once said to a Buddhist monk, “I am scared of dying, what can I do?”. He said “You are going to be very disappointed one day!” That was my answer, ACCEPTANCE.
SEXUAL CONDUCT For Books About Sex Addiction Click here
It was suggested to me that I list all of my sexual exploits and see if my pursuit of sex had lead me to be selfish, dishonest, had it caused resentment – had I taken chances where I could of caught some dis-ease, had I effected my dignity or someone else’s?
The idea behind this is to look, and to see that a bit of hugging, puffing and a few squelching noises, I put a lot of effort into the pursuit of it.
In short list, your sexual exploits and weigh it up.
If you are frigid, talk about!
It was suggested to me that I list all of my guilt’s. When I wrote them down it seemed that I resented myself! I could write forever about guilt, but I will keep it very short.
I wrote my guilt’s down. I soon learnt that “Guilty” was not a punishment from God, but a feeling that was telling me that what I did in the past was not my true character, if it had of been, I would not be feeling guilty! So I became willing to make amends (See Steps 8 and 9) and that I did.
Guilt is alright before the event when the head thinks “If I do that I will not feel right because I will hurt someone”. So that is what guilt is about, stopping you doing something that will cause harm. So look at your guilt’s. Make amends, where needed and forget it! (I bet your thinking, “It’s alright for you, but if you had my Catholic, Jewish, Muslim etc, guilt”, you would be tormented). Well I was tortured by guilt but I am not now! Why, because I did what my sponsor said, and truly realised that guilt was not a punishment but a feeling telling me that what I did at that time was a combination of what was going on in my life at that time! It was telling me it was not my true character!
In short, drop your guilt as you would a ton weight on your shoulders, because the longer you carry it the more damage it does, and in the end you will buckle under the weight.