Episode 38: Yvonne H. Mainely Agnostic

In today’s podcast we meet Yvonne H. from the Mainely Agnostics Group in Portland, Maine. The group celebrated its first anniversary in June of this year, which pleased Yvonne a great deal. It was here where she learned to become comfortable with following her own path in the program, and as a result she is sober and passionate about AA, especially Agnostic AA.

Yvonne exercises the great freedom we all have to interpret the Steps in her own language, and she likes to share the alternative 12 Steps from AA Agnostica with others, just in case they might be helpful. Yvonne also enjoys secular AA literature, in particular Joe C.’s book, Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life. It is a book of daily readings for people in recovery, and her favorite passage from that book is taken from the August 26th entry. She says it summarizes her entire program.

From a Zen perspective, enlightenment is attained by embracing emptiness, being, and nothingness. In this respect, wisdom comes from letting go, not from seeking. While one looks to the God of the heavens to be filled with serenity, courage, and wisdom, another merely divests themselves of chaos, fear, and biases. Both goals have no finish line. As recovery is about balance, we are going to get more done each day if we monitor our serenity, courage, and wisdom. This way, we are content in the process and not anticipating an end or a goal.

Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life

Yvonne has learned to embrace emptiness and find serenity in the space between her thoughts. She regularly practices meditation and she’s learned from the Buddhists the art of letting go. It was fortunate for me to be speaking with her because I would like to get back into the practice of meditation, and speaking with her was an inspiration. She recommended a book The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness, by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, but she suggests that anyone interested in meditating should just grab any book that might be inspiring. Reading a good book about meditation will remind those of us who got away from the practice of all the benefits we once derived from taking the time to sit quietly in meditation.

I know she’s right. I liken meditation to running or any other form of exercise. When I do it regularly, I feel the benefit and enjoy the feeling it brings me. Yet, when I stop, it’s difficult to get back at it. Talking with Yvonne reminded me of those occasions when I meet up with a runner who beams about the joy of running. Yvonne was beaming.

Thank you Yvonne for taking the time to speak with me and to share your story in this podcast.