My name is Dodee and I'm a compulsive eater.
"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."
The first time I read that step, I saw the word "only" and thought "don't I get to ask for anything for myself?"
Later, I noticed the word "conscious", which implies to me that there are other levels of contact with God. Subconscious? Unconscious? I don't know. But I think the step means that we need to make a point of spending time in prayer and meditation -- not just when we need something or not just when we want to, but as a discipline.
I also had a spiritual awakening early in program when I realized that I was trying to "micro-manage" God. I would decide how something should turn out and then ask God to make it happen. I was shown that I only need to outline the problem, not come up with the solution.
The OA 12 x 12 says we need to *practice* prayer and meditation. I know that anytime something is new to me and I want to improve it, I need to practice. And that does take discipline.
I love the AA 12 x 12's instructions for both prayer and meditation. First it says that our bodies need food, air and sunshine. And if we don't pray, we deprive our minds, our emotions and our intuitions of badly needed support. (p 97). Since I count my intuition as whispers of my Higher Power, I had better not deprive my intuition of that Power.
It says that if you already have a religion, this should intensify your connection to it, not replace it. It is suggested that you find a prayer you like and prints a prayer as an example on page 99.
Then we are given instructions on beginning to meditate. I have to admit I am not as good at this. My mind goes here, there and everywhere. This is one area where more practice should help.
One of the ways I have practiced lately was to walk a labyrinth. I attended a service where they had an indoor labyrinth and they gave some suggestions for praying -- letting us know that anything we did was ok. One of the suggestions was to pray for others on the way in and myself on the way out. You can determine the speed that you walk. On the way in, I started with prayers for those I resent. Then I thought of all the people I love and asked for good things for them. Then I thought of people who were having trouble with specific things and prayed about them.
For myself, I asked for wisdom, strength and any other good thing I could think of. When I finished getting back to the starting point, I saw someone walking around the perimeter. At the same time, I realized I had forgotten gratitudes, so I walked around the outside doing them.
The cool thing for me is that walking kept me concentrating more wholly than when I sit somewhere and force myself to concentrate.
A program friend talked about the discipline of making one's bed daily. So I have incorporated a morning prayer with the job of making my bed. Again, it's a physical reminder to start the day with prayer.
I have also used visualization in my prayer and meditation. I picture the elements of my Higher Power with faces and bodies and feel their presence. Just thinking of doing this is calming for me.
And now I have more peace when I read that I should ONLY ask for knowledge of God's will for me and the Power to carry it out. Would I want things for myself that are not God's will? I think not. I can pray for a good job, but with the understanding that I want to know God's will regarding it.
There is a fictional book which uses the phrase -- "the prayer that cannot fail -- thy will be done." I have been able to keep my serenity so many times by just saying that phrase and prayer.
Thy will be done.
STEP ELEVEN ~ QUESTIONS
1. Do you feel accepted in OA, no matter what you religious background (or non-religious)?
2. Is it ok with you that we each get to define our own HP?
3. Do you have a daily prayer time? When is it?
4. Have you tried getting on your knees? What was the result?
5. Have you experimented with different types of prayer and meditation? What was the result?
6. If you are new, what results would you like to get from prayer and meditation?
7. Can you share any experiences that have happened as a direct result of prayer?