STEP ELEVEN

Sought through prayer and meditation
to improve our conscious contact with God
as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge
of His will for us and the power to carry that out.







Essay

Most of my life I believed in magic. This was obvious because I prayed for magical things to happen. I even asked God to take away my weight, without doing anything about my compulsion. Seems silly now, but that was the way it was then. And there were many other things, from that to winning a football game (we didn't). Eventually, the lack of magic caused me to sour somewhat on God. If God wasn't going to do as I instructed, what use was God? Of course, I have learned since that addictions drive out spirituality. I really wasn't any more connected to God than I was to myself, and that was precious little.

I was not conscious of the presence of God in me and in all things. God was "out there," somewhere, and probably not much interested in me. The God "out there" is one way of understanding God. God's in His heaven, says the poet, and therefore not of much use here.

It was early into OA that I found that God didn't do magic, but did work miracles. Being of an inquisitive mind, I found that from classical antiquity there had been such a distinction. Magic is the effort to try to move God or even force God to do something. It usually depends on incantation, spells, potions, and such like. All religions have some magical elements, as far as I can see. You say the right words, and the good things happen, or maybe the evil, if that's what you want.

In recovery, we are invited to find a Higher Power who is directly interested in us, and is with us and in us, and at the very least is cheering for us. Because God has power, and that power is directed to the ends God wants, what we are being invited to do is to align ourselves with that power. Prayer is to ask God what God is doing, and meditation is waiting for the reply. Recovery is aligning ourselves with the ends God is working on, so that we get there with God. I found that out the first time I had a severe food craving and asked God to help me. The craving went away. Not because of magic, but because God knew I wasn't all that hungry for food, just hungry for God.

I did not find God "out there." I found God "in here," and in the lives of others, and in the world which God made. God rises above the creation, but I can't go there, at least not now. The thing I found is that magic doesn't work, and God is not somewhere over the rainbow. If my life is a journey, then not only is it a journey back to God, but God is in the journey with me, and is the journey, because the journey is what life is. I don't have to get somewhere to be with God. I can't escape God. And I wouldn't want to.

Meditation, for me, consists of two parts. One is devotional reading. TRG has wonderful daily meditations, as does OA, and there are many others for sale in bookstores. When I read one of these - I rread several - I don't look so much for a message, at least nnot something that seems logical in my mind. What I look for is what I call resonation. It's like a tone sounding that sets up sympathetic vibrations in my soul. This is not a thought, this is soul nourishment. I have noted that as my soul is nourished, I seem to have less of a need to over-nourish my body. What I am doing, in a word, is reading the meditations on an intuitive level, rather than a rational level.

The other thing is sometimes called contemplation. It is quieter still. There are any number of ways to go about this very natural human activity. Human contemplate all over the place. Have you ever driven down a road and at some point discovered that you didn't quite know how you got where you were? You entered a contemplative state. It didn't interfere with driving, but it gave you for a time a level of consciousness that was above that of driving - not in place of it.

However, there are more constructive ways to go about contemplation. There are so many ways, in fact, that I couldn't tell you in this essay all the ways I know, and I probably know only a few. The exercise I use most is breathing. I set about to breathe slowly, in, out, watching the breathing, breathing in the good, the light, exhaling the bad, the dark. I may "breathe to" every part of my body. Or I may just breathe. As I pay attention to this very vital act of life, I find myself coming to quiet. The Bible says, "Be still, and know that I am God." This stillness is where I find the God of the small quiet voice within me. It is a voice I do not hear with ears, but one which speaks to my intuition. I know what to do, what God is doing, so I can get to where God's action is going on. When my relationship is good, as it seems to be in late years, I don't have food cravings any more as such. A craving is not a signal to eat, but a signal to see what is upsetting me emotionally, and to turn whatever it is over to God. The craving, after all, was never for food. It was always for God. With food, I had created a false god. My days of idolatry are over, now. And the result is what we call serenity.


Love,
John





Questions

1. Does my idea about magic and miracle make sense to you? How do you feel about it? Were you, like me looking for magic? Did you find it? If you are abstinent, are you seeing miracles now?

2. It has been said that there are no coincidences. Anatole France said, "Coincidence is the name God sails under when He wishes to remain anonymous." Does this make sense to you? Do you find it thrilling as I do that anonymity is important to God, too? Can you see the spiritual connection between program and anonymity here?

3. How you practice the "Presence" of God in your program? What methods of prayer, meditation, and contemplation do you use? Are you regular and deliberate with these?

4. What would it look like to you to have serenity, and to have an end to the craving for food, as the Promise tells us we will find?

5. Share some spiritual experience you have had in recovery with us, if you can.

You will find my answers to all these questions in the essay.

-- Love,
John




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