Here are some questions that pertain to this step:
- How do you experience your HP’s contact with you?
- Do you pray? How and when?
- How do you think prayer helps your program? Or do you?
- Do you meditate? How and when?
- How do you think meditation helps your program? Or do you?
- Do you think there is a ‘right way’ to pray and/or meditate?
- Has your practice changed over the time you have been in program? How? Why?
- Are you open to trying different methods, attitudes etc in prayer and meditation?
- How How did you learn to pray/meditate?
- Why do you think the last phrase of this step was included?
- Do prayer and meditation change how God helps you in your program? If so, how?
- Do prayer and meditation change how YOU work your program? If so, how?
- Why do you think this step comes almost at the end of the 12 steps? Why not right after Step 3, when we turn our will and our lives over?
- Why do you think it is important to maintain and improve constant contact with your HP? What does constant contact look like in your life and in your program?
Here are my answers to these questions:
I experience my HP’s contact with me through my intuition, suggestions and comments from my sponsor and my fellows, in worship with my faith community, through nature, through literature, music, art, the wisdom of children, my own creativity, the wisdom in the rooms, silence, and the suspension of my compulsive food behaviors, ODAT.
I do pray...not always in set ways and at set times.... My prayers are more likely to be an ongoing, familiar conversation with my HP...asking for directions, sharing feelings, arguing, thanking HP for what I call “WOW GOD” moments...those myriads of little miracles that I am getting better and better at paying attention to....When I do stop to pray more formally, my prayers tend to be focused on gratitude....for gifts given, and for the fact that God already has whatever I am worried about in hand and under control. I do ask for direction as to the next right thing to do...I ask for help in staying out of HP’s way. Sometimes my prayer takes the form of making marks on paper with big fat Kindergarten crayons in my non-dominant hand....rarely with a plan of what the ‘picture’ will end up looking like....rather, with an conversation with God in mind. Right now, I am formally praying the resentment prayer for 31 days for my spouse.
I think that prayer helps my program because my program IS spiritual...and prayer is the way I access the spiritual powers that surround me. Prayer helps me remember that I was created to function best when plugged into my HP, and prayer is a way to plug in. It keeps me from believing that I am supposed to be god...and never make mistakes, and be able to do everything all by myself...beliefs that are crazy-making at best, and send me straight to the food, at worst.
I do meditate, but not as often as I would like. Clearly, I don’t want to as often as I would like to believe I did....or I would make time for it. One way/time I meditate is when I swim laps in the pool, most weekday mornings. Instead of counting laps, I recite the steps....and count my laps in groups of 12. Because it doesn’t take a whole lap to recite a given step, I have the rest of the lap to meditate on it. From time to time, I also make the time to walk a labyrinth, or sit in silence and meditate. These practices make me stop long enough to actually LISTEN to God. When I first began my spiritual healing work, my HP would frequently wake me up at 3:47 a.m. After wasting much time trying to get back to sleep, I finally learned to keep my journal and pen (or crayons) close by....to sit up and journal until I had no more to say, and then to go back to sleep...without apparently suffering from the gap in sleep. Often the journaling would begin, “OK GOD>>>>>I presume you KNOW it is 3:47 a.m. and that you know I have to get up for work in a few hours. WHAT IS IT THIS TIME?????” I’m guessing that God knew that that might be the only time he would find me as a captive audience! Maybe if I had had a daily meditation practice then, I would have gotten more whole nights’ sleep! Tee hee.
Meditation helps me listen to my HP. And to slow down long enough to remember that conversation requires both talking and listening. Even conversation with God! It is something that I am working on incorporating into my program more regularly, because I know when I do that regularly, it really does help me stay grounded in HP’s power.
In my opinion, the only WRONG way to do prayer and meditation, is to NOT do it!
My practice has not really changed over the time I have been in program, except in frequency...due to sloth, busyness, forgetfulness and degree of desperation. None of those are things I am proud of, but they are the truth.
I am absolutely open to trying different methods, attitudes etc in prayer and meditation, as long as they are not presented as THE ONLY way to do these spiritual practices. My friend has a poster in her house that says, more or less, “God created so many different kinds of people; why would you think He would offer only ONE way to approach Him?”
I learned to pray from my faith tradition....or, rather, mostly I learned how NOT to pray! I learned to pray through the spiritual healing journey I have been on for the last 8 years or so. By drawing, journaling, hanging around people who had healed their relationship with God in the face of childhood abuse. By reading, by experimenting, by doing what other people, who had what I had, did. By taking the old words of my faith tradition that no longer worked for me, and trusting that God would show me new meanings that do work for me...and that has happened.
Too often, the prayers modeled for me in my childhood involved sending what amounted to a Wish List to my HP, as if s/he were a Larger than Life Santa Claus. (Don’t get me wrong, I LIKE Santa Claus, but God he ain’t!) This last clause reminds me that the purpose of prayer and meditation is to tap into the power that my HP has promised me, in order to live my life according to the spiritual principles which have saved my life. There is no place for selfishness or codependently controlling God in recovery.
Prayer and meditation change how I allow God to help me in my program. I don’t believe that God would refuse to help me if I do not pray or meditate, but without these tools, I am often oblivious to the help that God offers. It is only through prayer and meditation that I can really access the help that God has already given me. It is prayer and meditation that keeps me connected.
Prayer and meditation change how I work this program, for they help me see the support that God gives me, and relieve me of the misbelief that I have to do it all on my own. When I am connected to my HP through prayer and meditation, I am more likely to remember that God has my back. And to lean back and let God support me.
1. I think this step comes almost at the end of the 12 steps because, without working through the housecleaning steps, 4-10, I am still too much into my own ego and power to really realize that I need God’s constant support in order to stay in recovery. While I make the decision to turn my will and life over to God in Step 3, I don’t think I really know what that entails until I dig through the piles of sh*t to discover exactly what I am turning over!
2. Why do you think this step comes almost at the end of the 12 steps? Why not right after Step 3, when we turn our will and our lives over?
3. I think it is important to maintain and improve constant contact with my HP because when I am not in contact with my HP, I am powerless over this disease. That becomes more and more clear, the more I work the steps....AND the more I spend time NOT in constant contact with my HP.
To those of us who are celebrating religious or secular holidays over these few weeks, Blessings and may you enjoy peace, abstinence and joy. For those who are not celebrating these few weeks, Blessings, and may you enjoy peace, abstinence and joy!
The Twelve Steps
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