May 06, 2016
Last Friday, our topic was the spiritual principle and blessing of awareness that comes to us as we arrive at Step 11.
We discussed the idea that we actually do get glimpses and momentary feelings of awareness of the Presence and Power of One greater than us the moment we surrender. But it is when we approach Step 11 that we finally have the space within to fully receive this gift of "knowing".
"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with G-d, as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out." - Step 11, Alcoholics Anonymous
One of the most beautiful quotes regarding this step came from Bill Wilson when he said, "Perhaps one of the greatest rewards of meditation and prayer is the sense of belonging that comes to us."
This answers the question: What are we becoming aware of in Step 11? We are becoming aware; we are feeling that we are a part of something so much bigger and stronger than us – something beautiful and meaningful. We are also becoming aware that we are a needed an important part of the Fellowship and needed and important to G-d.
I have been promising the patients more music and because music is another way of prayer and mediation, I played several songs for them. (The Twiddle and Dave Matthews requests came from the patients!) These are all deeply spiritual expressions of awareness.
We shared this quote:
"The secret of meditation is simple: you become what you meditate on. When you use an inspirational passage every day in meditation, you are driving the words deep into your consciousness. Eventually they become an integral part of your personality, which means they will find constant expressions in what you do, what you say, and what you think." - Eknath Easwaran
This leads to the question: What are you meditating on? Often we are meditating (without realizing it) on fear and worry and doubt. The Prayer of Saint Francis (the 11th Step Prayer) is often mentioned in various religions and spiritual teachings from Catholicism to Hinduism to AA as the perfect idea to become an instrument of peace.
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
- The Prayer of Saint Francis
We shared many different prayers this day. The one by Thomas Merton below speaks to many of us.
“My Lord G-d, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” - Thomas Merton
Regardless of where the patients are in their own Step work, this step is always comforting, assuring, and powerful.
"In silence we can discover the divine within, which is universally accessible but speaks to each of us in a unique voice. If we can locate, at the very center of silence, our individual 'still small voice' we will have found our greatest ally in life. Because if we listen to that voice with an open heart, it will guide us through the most challenging crossroads of our lives: in work, in love, in distinguishing right from wrong. We need only trust that voice that speaks to us out of silence." - Robert Lawrence Smith, A Quaker Book of Wisdom
Awareness - bless you.
Reverend Laurie Durgan