The 12+12 states on page 105:
"Perhaps one of the greatest rewards of meditation and prayer is the sense of belonging that comes to us".
Share some examples of how this "sense of belonging" has influenced your spiritual journey.
This quote is lifted from the final paragraph in that chapter, and if we follow it a little further, we read:
“We no longer live in a completely hostile world. We are no longer lost and frightened and purposeless. The moment we catch even a glimpse of God’s will, the moment we begin to see truth, justice, and love as the real and eternal things in life, we are no longer deeply disturbed by all the seeming evidence to the contrary that surrounds us in purely human affairs.”
That is key to my sense of belonging. I could speak of a sense of belonging in my home group, or in AA as a whole. I could talk about a new sense of belonging in my family, in the lives of my husband and my children. I could mention that, out in the “real” world, among my non-alcoholic peers, I have come to see that I’m really not that different from them, that we have similar goals and different challenges.
But if I focused solely on those human affairs, I would have to admit that sometimes, I’ve seen changes in the meetings I attend and feel a disconnect. An influx of newcomers or a spat between old timers, which sometimes happens, and I might feel on the outside of things. In a house full of adolescents, I sometimes feel I’m no longer the main influence in the lives of my children. When my husband is occupied by work concerns or working with one of his sponsees, I have no role with him. In academia, the landscape does not remain the same. People come and go, as I will, too, eventually, and I can find only temporary security in my surroundings.
I drank because drinking was something I could rely upon. I felt I “belonged” in a numbed state, safe and protected from my emotions, my responsibilities and even my own ego. Until, of course, drinking and drugging no longer provided that protection for me. When it stopped working, when I slowly realized, through the guidance of others and the steps I took towards sobriety, that human beings could not provide with any certainty that protection for me, I accepted that “belonging” could only be found in some much greater plane than that of human existence.
I have been greeted with a cynicism, a suggestion that I am naïve, when I speak of living a blessed existence. “You are not facing reality,” I’ve been told when others point out my physical challenges, when others know of the losses I’ve suffered in my life, heck! Especially when they learn that I’m raising four teenagers! And, it is true, that every day is not one that I would choose, were it up to me, to include as part of a harmonious relationship with the Universe. But it’s not up to me. It’s up to the Universe, and my Higher Power that understands how that Universe is to function in a state of harmony.
I have caught many times a glimpse of God’s will for me, though it doesn’t always come at the time that that will is being carried out. It’s more likely to occur in retrospect when I can see, yes, that day last week/month/year was painful, but as a result of the pain, I am able to identify with and relate to this newcomer in front of me, who is in similar circumstances, who can’t seem to see past today. I can share that experience on the human level because of my belonging in the spiritual realm, my acceptance that, even when I don’t like it, I’m acknowledging my place there. I can offer hope.
I’m getting ready to graduate college this spring. If I look back almost four years to where I was prior to this journey, I could not have visualized it, as I can now. I could not see myself clearly, mortarboard snug to my head, my head held high walking towards the future. I know now that this is a reality, that it has played out exactly as it was supposed to. I belong on this path. But it was a very different story (in my mind) before it happened.
I was sitting in the office of a long-time professor, discussing the possibilities and opportunities for a college education for someone nearly twenty years past high school when she said to me, “Let’s take a walk, shall we?” I went with her to the admissions office, and before I knew it, I was registered for fall classes. I never thought to stop and say, “Wait! I can’t do this!” It was a mere few days before the semester was to start! I had a vacation planned for the following week! Had I resisted, I would have said all these things, and in the course of the next few weeks, I chuckled at them in my thoughts, but I did enroll that day, I did register for classes, I did take my vacation as scheduled (after contacting all my professors and explaining the unusual circumstances). I was in a little bit of shock, really not making any friend that fall, spending time between my classes sitting in my car feeling very much outside of university life.
But all the while, I never thought to quit. I knew, regardless of my discomfort on the human plane, I felt a calmness on the spiritual plane. I knew, regardless of how uncomfortable and difficult this process was at times, my Higher Power was taking care of me. This would not be happening if it wasn’t meant to happen, for the stars aligned and the Universe welcomed me into this circumstance. In looking along the journey, I can see, without a doubt, that it was right for me to have faith and weather out the discomfort in the human scheme of things. By accepting the discomfort as something transient, by believing that were I not meant to be right where I was, I would be guided in another direction, I have come to a place that I can only describe as ecstatic and blissful. I still have difficulty, finding days when my body will not cooperate and I cannot humanly fulfill my duties, and I have been working, very hard, on accepting that, too. I have all the proof of belonging that I need, so aren’t my limitations part of the reason that I do belong?
This is but one example. I belong in my Higher Power’s care, and I know that the Great Spirit that cares for me will reveal in time the truth and justice of all things. All I really need to do is never forget that whether or not I understand certain things, I am always loved, and I belong right here, right where I am, at all times.