Breathing Underwater Chapter 10

Updated: Apr 20

“We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”

— STEP 10


I love how the chapter starts off with Rohr mentioning his first impressions of Step 10. Didn’t we do this already? Looking at self?

“…let’s get on to something a bit more positive and evolved. This is beginning to feel like an endless examination of conscience, and will keep people navel-gazing forever.”

This idea that we must consistently look at ourselves can be taxing and draining. I know from my own perspective it can sometimes feel like this never-ending cycle of “what’s wrong with me.” Rohr sheds some new light to the idea, shares concepts and ideas about what consciousness is and how it is just the simple observer of self. It isn’t self or emotions wholly, but the observation of them without judgement. Yet so many people are identified with their emotions and feelings that they are unable to detach themselves from that to become the simple observer.

Rohrs points out that it is no coincidence that many mystics and saints emphasize detachment.

So, when we look at the 10th step in this light, it seems a little less daunting. If it is an examination of consciousness, it is not about a heavy ‘moral’ inventory again, but one of simple daily observation.

“In other words, just watch yourself objectively, calmly and compassionately.”

“You are being held so strongly and so deeply that you can stop holding onto, or defending, yourself. God forever sees and loves Christ in you; it is only we who doubt our divine identity as children of God.”

That last paragraph hit me a little hard today. How quickly do I judge and condemn myself based on feelings, or how often do I lose sight of others in my actions? Step 10 calls us to simple inventory, it calls us to a simple awareness.

“Whenever we do anything stupid, cruel, evil, or destructive to ourselves or others, we are at that moment unconscious, and unconscious of our identity.”

I love Rohr’s notion that when we are acting harmfully, in any capacity, we are not fully conscious. It even makes me think of times when I have intentionally wanted to cause harm. Just because I was ‘conscious’ of wanting to cause pain, does not mean that I was fully conscious of experiencing my own pain, because I became the pain – rather than just observing it and experiencing it. I was fueled by a single point of vision, one that wasn’t aware. It’s one of those things that is really hard to describe, so I’m probably not doing it justice.

“To be fully conscious would be to love everything on some level and is some way – even our mistakes.”

So, today let’s try to practice these principles in all of our affairs. Let’s be conscious, simple observers of what is happening. Let us look at our daily inventory.


Is it hard to look your daily mistakes and prejudices in the face? To whom do you admit these wrongs, when you are conscious of them?

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