Self Examination, Meditation, and Prayer

"There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer.  Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit.  But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life."  Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions page 98

This passage is very powerful to me.  I have a BIG arrow pointing to it in my Step book and many works highlighted.  I think today the word that is speaking to me is "unshakable."  Lets face it, like most people, I have been shaken enough in my life time, so to find something unshakable = GOOD. 

For me, the first part is always the willingness.  I ask myself,  am I willing to continuously practice self-examination?  Yes, I personally am.  I am a BIG lover of Step Ten.  I don't always do it perfectly but the practice is ingrained in me.  In the early years of my recovery I would call my sponsor going on and on about this or that.  Mostly everyday life stuff that would really rattle me.  She would listen briefly and then say "Gwen, go read Step 10 and call me back."  Oh I hated when I got to the words... "every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us." Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions page 90.  But by continuously being brought back to that line the self-examination became a way of life.

Am I willing to continuously practice meditation?  Yes, I personally am.  But now it was a question of HOW?  So in hindsight I can tell you I started doing this in the earliest days of my recovery unknowingly.  See I could not sleep in early recovery.  I was so used to the alcohol pass out I had no idea how to settle my mind and go to sleep without it.  There were many many nights I only dozed off here and there.  People in the rooms told me "no one ever died from lack of sleep."  My friends mother, not recovery related at all, gave me a meditation cassette.  I used it every night.  I wore that cassette OUT!  It was a guided meditation.  I just popped it in and laid in bed.  It was amazing how it worked. 

As I stayed sober this practice, every so slowly grew and grew.  I bought more guided meditations and bought many books.  I was open and tried new ways of getting the mind quiet.  Journals, letters to God (combo self exam and meditation,) walking, being alone in nature, breathing (what a concept.) 

Am I willing to continuously practice prayer?  Yes, I personally am.  Again I was doing this from my earliest days in recovery.  My prayers started out something like this... "God please help me stay sober for the next five minutes."  I clung to the lines I heard old timers say, "I never saw someone get drunk who HONESTLY got on his hands and knees and asked God to keep him sober."  I put a ton of faith in that from day one.  Guess what?  It worked.  Time and again, over and over, one day at a time, I stayed sober.  In my worst moments I would hit my knees and BEG God to keep me sober till I could get to that next meeting.  Slowly the begging was not necessary as the obsession to drink faded away.  But life continued and I learned to STAY sober I still needed Gods help.  Life was happening all around me and I had no clue how to deal with it.  I blindly asked God for acceptance of _____________, for willingness, to slow down, for help.  I used the Serenity Prayer, the Third Step prayer, the Seventh Step prayer, the Prayer of St. Francis.  People gave me prayer cards.  One I remember was Slow Me Down Lord.

It has taken many years to interweave these practices in my life.  Please don't think I am in any way on a kneeler every morning with lit candles then sitting for hours in a meditative pose.  I am a human being, soberly living in a high paced world.  I have days when I can do a very formal practice and days when it is done quickly.  The point is I am willing to continue building my unshakable foundation and it just gets stronger every day.

Are you willing?

Gwen R~

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