…on the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…seeking through prayer and meditation to improve their conscious contact with their Higher Power as they understood them, praying only for knowledge of Their will for them and their power to carry that out…
This Step is a mouthful. I added “Higher Power” rather than “God” because it makes it harder to attract new members and work the Steps. Let’s break this one down real quick before we move on. I think you know what both prayer and meditation are so we’ve got that part covered. We’ll come back to some pointers for meditation though.
“Praying only for knowledge of Their will for us and our power to carry that out”, is technically what the “The Big Book” says (well, it uses “God”, not a “Higher Power”) MY understanding of this last piece is that we are praying to understand what the Higher Power wants for us and we are asking for the power to carry that out ourselves. Prayer is a powerful thing and asking for strength or power to carry out a Higher Power’s will is a difficult and challenging thing.
Let’s break that down into two pieces: 1) Praying for what God wants for us and 2) asking for God to give us the power to carry out His will is difficult if you don’t know what His will actually is. But, if you’ve been using your Higher Power as a guide through this all, it’s not so far-fetched to think that you might already know their will and asking for “power” (strength) to carry it out just reinforces what you should be feeling/thinking since Steps two and three.
According to “The Big Book”, A. A. shouldn’t be someone’s Higher Power nor should they identify as an agnostic. We talked in the beginning about how your Higher Power could be anything, but pushing the whole God thing over and over again in peoples’ faces…um…not the way to gain people if you want them to continue into the program. I think, still, use your Higher Power, after all, they’ll keep saying, “take what you need and leave the rest”.
According to this website: https://nhaa.net/new-to-aa/prayers-promises/ you can still pray to your Higher Power and each Step has it’s own prayer. “I pray for guidance of correct thought and positive action“, according to the Prayer. Why the Hell don’t they just say that in the Step? It shouldn’t be so complicated. Here it is, word for word:
Higher Power, as I understand You,
I pray to keep my connection with You
Open and clear from the confusion of daily life.
Through my prayers and meditation I ask especially for
Freedom from self-will, rationalization, and wishful thinking.
I pray for the guidance of correct thought and positive action.
Your will Higher Power, not mine, be done.
Now that all of that is settled, I am going to circle back to meditation. There are several apps designed to assist you with guided meditation. Guided meditation is great if you’ve never meditated before. It helps get you in the mindset of moving your mind to a different space. Notice, I didn’t say “clear” your mind or “free” your mind. Using frees your mind because you go comatose or are too fucked up to care.
The goal of meditation is not to clear your mind. That’s an impossible goal. With practice, your thoughts will begin to quiet more and more, but in the beginning, your goal in meditation is to go wherever you want, learn to let the thoughts come, but the key is to let them go. I used to have a designated thinking spot, right on the shore of Lake Michigan whenever I needed to get away and meditate, think, write, Hell, even cry sometimes, (you’d be surprised that no one says anything to a stranger randomly crying somewhere alone). Wtf? Humans are overall surprising people. They’ll stop you in the middle of the snow to help you get out of a parking spot because the reverse just went out in your transmission, but might not stop if you’re crying in public. Although, to be fair, you get really good at hiding stuff when you’re in an abusive marriage.
Anyhow, meditation isn’t all “omm”, it’s a little bit “calming rain sound”, and a little bit, “did I pick up bell peppers for the chicken fajitas tonight”, so it’s just about letting it come and letting it go. Pick a spot and claim it as your own, preferably not one that already belongs to someone else. A “man cave” or a “play room”, not ideal. Somewhere outside near water is ideal, however, not always achievable. Yoga mat size is good. Yoga is something that you will hear people reference all of the time when talking about meditation because during yoga, you have to be present in the moment (also known as being mindful). It’s hard to think of other things when you’re challenging yourself to stay balanced and from falling over on your face.
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