November 2, 2013 Step Eleven Month: "sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out." "Love, forgiveness, harmony, truth, faith, hope, light, and joy to every human being." Let go and seek "truth, love and wisdom" let God. Let go: pride, ego and fear. Let God: with courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing, and confidence to learn. In all conditions, good bad and ugly.
As M Scott Peck said in his book: the road less travelled, "life is difficult." Reading the book is not essential, many people like it. And many people agree with the notion that life is difficult. At the same time, if we accept that life is difficult, and as we say in Fellowship, "live life on life's terms," acceptance means that life will be everything, good bad and ugly. And how can prayer and meditation help? One of the phrases we often use is "keep it simple" and prayer and meditation do offer a very quick reminder to anyone anywhere at any time. Meditation: learning about our defects where pride, ego and fear undermine our abilities to cope in the moment. Learning about our shortcomings: lack of courage, lack of faith and lack of confidence. Asking for help is the first step in developing courage faith and confidence.
I was able to get to a meeting yesterday morning which was all about sharing experience, strength and hope, "just for today." Anyone can speak about anything which is impacting on them today. I can't say that you were there at the meeting I can say that I was there the meeting. And I was able to listen to the truth being shared about recovery as a newcomer, as a medium timer and as an old timer. And everyone's life had difficulties as well as joyful interludes. Newcomers were finding life very difficult, medium timers were finding life very difficult and old timers were finding life very difficult. And everyone felt right and could experience empathy as well as the joy shared by some. Joyful and painful as life is today. Everyone had bad days in recovery and many had good ones too.
Getting to the meeting venue early, we get to share on an individual basis about anything and everything. Opening those feelings up before the meeting can make it easier to share in the meeting. Trying to ask for help in a meeting directly or indirectly is often triggered by something another person says openly and honestly. That inner turmoil, the inner voice which chatters away, sometimes says "don't speak because people might look down on us." And then with nervousness and trepidation, somehow we can speak up and we can share. Letting go those feelings of pride ego and fear which can keep us silent and trying a bit of courage, faith and nervous confidence can help us start a story, start a dialogue and be open to the world of Fellowship in those moments of now.
Many years before recovery, a lot of my work involved sharing ideas with other people in large groups and I learned how to be good and professional. As a newcomer in the Fellowship, I was crippled by fear, even saying my name made me nervous and fearful. Not knowing how Fellowship worked and how on earth was I to get sober was very frightening. And only by going to meetings early and accepting my fear, pride and ego were holding me back did I ever start to talk to anyone. Step eleven; prayer and meditation served me well even though I really did not understand much of anything in those early days.
We all have responsibilities and accountably in life for what we do and how we behave. And I mentioned yesterday that let go and let God felt like a cop out, that I was handing over responsibility and accountability for my endeavours. And only when I read step eleven over and over did I spot that letting go pride ego and fear, and working on courage to change faith in doing the next right thing and developing confidence and humility did not take away responsibility and accountability for my endeavours be they successful or failures. I was trying to work out some mystical mystery which would give me the answers. The answers came with humility, courage, faith and confidence to keep on going and ask for help when needed or even when it wasn't needed, just to get perspective on my life.
Whenever I go to meetings these days, most of the time I can hear everything and relate to everything in some way. Learning how to listen to people, learning how to listen to the truth rather than something I want to hear, it will be a lifelong skill developing through time. An exercise I find useful is discovering emotional and spiritual living. Emotional: knowing my feelings. Spiritual: living in the moment of now. When we ask ourselves the question: how am I feeling? Often we are confused and do not know the answer because we are trapped in thoughts, activities and driven to action. A good example is road rage, the person with the rage is trying to control and put down every other driver in their path. They are raging and yet their belief and opinion and thinking and action can kill people.
A good example of not knowing what is going on in your own mind is often to do with love. A friend of mine in Fellowship who I only see now and again was riding along on his motorbike the other day. I was on the same road on my bicycle, waiting at a red light and I could hear tooting and shouting behind me. I had no idea what the racket was about until the lights changed and this man on a motorbike was shouting at me: "I love you, I love you, I love you…" And I realised who it was, I shouted back: "I love you too" over and over until he waved and shot off into the distance. I do love this man as I would a brother. And yet until that moment I did not know his true feelings about me and I have known him for years.
Emotional and spiritual: the very essence of Fellowship, learning the truth love and wisdom of now. Even though we all think we know our feelings and therefore know the feelings of others, we really don't until we practice and start to understand emotions, mood and our true nature or natural instincts. We often believe we can think our way into our feelings, rather than understanding that we have feelings and emotions which really impact on our intelligence, thinking and actions. Many people suggest that feelings are not facts and feelings are not real. Feelings are what drive our thinking and our thinking can be real or unrealistic, our thinking is the fantasy driven by our feelings. Getting feelings and thinking the wrong way round? In most cases causes psychosis of one sort or another?
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