The practice of prayer and meditation is an essential habit. In simple terms prayer is thought and pure meditation is no thought. We may have considered prayer some sort of directed communication with God and that perhaps anything else going on our heads was not being broadcast. Thought is prayer; all thought is prayer. So, knowing this we may want to pay attention to the quality of our thoughts. When we find ourselves caught up in negative or undesirable thought we can make an attempt to change it. This is a daily practice but also the practice of any given moment, because we are always thinking. So, we are always praying which means we have the opportunity to practice with every single thought.
Quiet down…. First, we breathe, then we still the mind, and then we become aware of our higher consciousness. These three things may or may not happen today. It is uncertain. If we are new to the practice or have left it for some time we may only be able to breathe. So, we breathe and we pay as close attention as we can to that breath. This is where it all begins…sitting quietly in an upright position (dignified). Just watch the breath, feel the breath, know the breath; there is no need to change it, just notice what is happening. Set a timer and don’t worry if you keep checking the time. It’s ok. Thoughts will come, it’s ok. We will lose track of the breath, it’s ok. Just notice what is happening and each time gently return to the breath. Then maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe later…the mind will still and perhaps an awareness of our higher consciousness will come to us. It’s uncertain as to when, and it will only come with practice.
QUIET will come…
At some point we may experiment with single pointed concentration or broader awareness sometimes described as mindfulness. We may chant or repeat a mantra, we might recite the prayers of our childhood. There are many approaches to explore… but remember the goal of the 11 step is to improve our conscious contact with a sense of Higher Power; whether its spiritual principles, our values, or a caring and loving strength of our understanding, that's greater than self-obsession and addiction; so that we might do what is ours to do. All of our effort should be moving us in the direction of being fully whole and wholly free.
TRADITION 11 - The personal application is about being genuine and true. Take off the mask. Abandon art and artifice, be real.
In the past I may have felt it was safer to show the world what I thought it wanted to see (pretending to be something that I'm not, and inauthentic), but I know now that the only one who was fooled was me. I might have felt “less than” others and so I attempted to appear to be “more than”. I understand now that I am not a bad person trying to become good, but rather I am truly The Good efforting to be expressed through my actions. Acting and living against my true nature of Love was just me wearing a mask and armor. That was just the disease and un-ease of addiction telling me it thought I needed to do so, to survive in a hostile world. I release all sense of threat and become aware of the Love that is within me and all around me. I am not the mask that I wear, I am the embodiment of Goodwill and Creative Action. Today, I will be just that, I will be genuine and true, accepting responsibility for what I am creating through my actions.
We can accept and take on as a gift the mantle of humility. We can release any false sense of self and replace it with true knowledge. Being humble does not mean being “less than”. Humility is knowing who we are and not trying to act like something else. We are spiritual beings. Part of a larger Spirit. Old ideas of humility as being lowly do not apply to us or anyone else. We are equal to all and all are equal to us. We no longer have to compensate for low a self-opinion. That could be the disease shaming us down, instead of encouraging us up. We can be honest and forthright in all of our dealings because we are confident in the power that is within us. Today, we can strong in our humility, grounded.
I am attractive? Let me be an example of the NA way. I focus on practicing this new life. I allow the spirit of recovery within me to express in all that I do. I am open and receptive to new ideas, but I also rely on principle that has worked for me in the past. I know that there really are no shortcuts in life and I do what is needed to be effective. I am true to my values and act with love and concern in all my dealings with others today. The people in my life notice that I am kind and compassionate, they are able to trust me and feel confident in my presence. This is attraction, the aura of good that surrounds me, the example that I set, the results that I get attract others to me.
I am intimate. I have learned to be vulnerable knowing that in spirit, I cannot be harmed. I am not afraid to touch or be touched. Physically, emotionally and spiritually I am able to give and receive love. Transparent intimacy is that which I seek. I realize that every thing that is hidden will be revealed. I will not hide anymore. I am an open book. I do not try to dissemble or deceive. I can be myself, share myself, with others without trying to “look good”. I share my strengths and my perceived weaknesses. I remember that I am not yet practicing perfectly, so from time to time I am afraid. I share my fear and I am empowered to overcome it. I also remember that being intimate does not mean that I am inappropriate in what I share and with whom I share. I do not have to tell everyone I meet every thought that I have or every deed I have done. Crossing these boundaries is a burden to others and cannot help them or me. In all situations I rely on the guidance that comes from having conscious contact with spiritual principles and my values, affirming that I will hear what I need to hear through my inward intuitive nature, so that I can say what needs to be said. I am feeling what I need to feel, so that I can encourage and offer what needs to be given.