11/11/08 BB Into Action pp 85-86 (prayer and meditation 11)

The book Alcoholics Anonymous, aka The Big Book, is the basic text for the AA program of sobriety. "Alcoholics Anonymous" Copyright 2012 AAWS, Inc. All Rights, Reserved. Short excerpts used by permission of AAWS
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Karl R
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11/11/08 BB Into Action pp 85-86 (prayer and meditation 11)

Post by Karl R » Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:23 am

Good Morning,

"God, for today, direct my thinking; divorce it from self pity, dishonesty, and self seeking"

Yesterday we read of "carrying the vision of God's will into all our activities" and beginning to be "God-conscious".

Today's reading (below in red) begins examination of the discipline of step 11; Sought 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.

Prayer and meditation are divided in the big book into three times; Evening inventory, morning planning, and constantly as we go through our day.
In the big book each has it's separate theme.

For the evening meditation, the theme is inventory and reflection on our day. I am called to look for some of the same things that I looked for in my 4th step-they're pretty inclusive as far as being indicators of when things aren't right with the world. (resentment, selfishness, dishonesty, fear). One of the pitfalls I face is letting this evening inventory and meditation become a worryfest or a pity party. I have to take action to move it beyond that. I've found that action to be asking forgiveness from God, asking God what needs to be done to make my inventory right, and practicing the discipline of the 10th step when required. A positive action to prevent myself from slipping into a negative place in my mind.

Tomorrow we look at "upon awakening"

Anyone care to share of their ES and H concerning the "proper attitude for prayer and meditation"

or-share of their ES and H on the evening "inventory" meditation

or--on a much lighter note---share on your ES and H concerning your pet's response to your morning or evening meditation-their demands for your time?


thanks all who share and all who read,
have a great Tuesday trudge,
Karl


Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. We shouldn't be shy on this matter of prayer. Better men than we are using it constantly. It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it. It would be easy to be vague about this matter. Yet, we believe we can make some definite and valuable suggestions.
When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.
Last edited by Karl R on Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Blue Moon
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Post by Blue Moon » Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:07 am

Key words: "if we have the proper attitude"

I had a call a couple of weeks ago from a chronic slipper in AA who found that prayer wasn't working very well in keeping him sober. I tried discussing with him how prayer itself really isn't the solution. It's not "how" we pray that really makes the difference. I arranged to meet him, but from the outcome I'm guessing he still wants to do it how he knows best.

He'll likely not recover from alcoholism until he makes a decision to stop trying to pray himself sober.

You could spend every waking moment on your knees as though any entity even cares, yet still be plagued with untreated alcoholism upon finally standing up.
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

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Post by Karl R » Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:34 am

You're right. Although prayer has been a part of my program from the beginning it has taken a long time to find the right attitude for prayer. I still struggle some mornings and evenings. If I start with any of these attitudes:

"HP what have you done for me lately?"

or

"HP help me with X Y or Z"

instead

"HP reveal to me the unknown and reinforce the known. Show me what is next for the day" seems to work better. Especially when it's coupled with a willingness to follow through with action.

To me prayer and meditation seem to consist of two components-an asking for enlightenment and willingness coupled with a following through on the indicated action.

At each step-I could have prayed all I want about that step but until I was willing to take the indicated action-nothing would happen.

An example from my journey...In working through my resentment inventory I got almost done. All that was left was my part in my relationship with my wife. I got stuck. Prayed...still stuck...prayed some more coupled with becoming increasingly irritable and discontent..still stuck...abandoned the effort for a day or so...still stuck..finally came back to it and just did the writing without prayer. I had prayed about it for that week or so and was shown what had to be next. Unfortunately it took me a bit to find the willingness to do the indicated action.

willingness, action and more action seems to be the key to making step 11 vital for me.

thanks
Karl

thanks Ian,
Karl

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Post by avaneesh912 » Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:20 pm

ES and H concerning the "proper attitude for prayer and meditation"

Last couple of days, i started asking god to direct my thinking the moment i wake up. Afterward before I feed the dog, i meditate for about 5 minutes. And past few months waking up at 5.30 am on all days Sun-Sat.

share of their ES and H on the evening "inventory" meditation

I try not to take resentment/fear/issues into my evening inventory and I just think thru the actions of mine during the day. Meditate again for few minutes at night.

share on your ES and H concerning your pet's response to your morning or evening meditation-their demands for your time?
I don't let the dog out of the crate while i am meditating. First few days I tried, but she would stick the snout and start licking my face when i am meditating.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Post by Karl R » Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:38 pm

avaneesh912 wrote:I don't let the dog out of the crate while i am meditating. First few days I tried, but she would stick the snout and start licking my face when i am meditating.



I haven't figured out how to make that one work yet. :) For some reason my dog and cat think their needs come first. Luckily the dog go to the yard with her food the cat goes to the laundrey with his food, the parrot gets his cracker and all is quiet for a few minutes. In my home--first thing upon waking becomes first thing upon waking after the pets are bribed with food. :lol:

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Re: 11/11/08 BB Into Action pp 85-86 (prayer and meditation

Post by leejosepho » Tue May 22, 2012 8:12 am

Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. We shouldn't be shy on this matter of prayer. Better men than we are using it constantly. It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it. It would be easy to be vague about this matter. Yet, we believe we can make some definite and valuable suggestions.
Prayer is seeking and meditation is listening ... and thus are we able to grow within "the Power which pulls chronic alcoholics back from the gates of death." (Dr. Silkworth)

At Step One, we saw our need for "a power by which we could live" (page 45);
At Step Two, "we saw that it really worked in others" (page 25);
At Step Three, we decided to "trust in God (as you understand God) and clean house" (page 98);
We have since done our "housecleaning" in Steps Four through Nine;
We have also learned "spiritual maintenance" (page 66) by means of Step Ten "As we go through the day" (page 87);
And now we have come to Step Eleven where we seek "growth of a spiritual experience" (page 66):
When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once?
Or in different words: How often did we need Step Ten, and what can we do to *not* need it as much in the future?

With those thoughts in mind, here are our matters for prayer and meditation:
Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken ...
... and all of that is heading us toward the overall goal of Step Eleven:

"... inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision ... (as) a working part of the mind." (page 86)
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Re: 11/11/08 BB Into Action pp 85-86 (prayer and meditation

Post by PaigeB » Tue May 22, 2012 10:51 am

Ian said: You could spend every waking moment on your knees as though any entity even cares, yet still be plagued with untreated alcoholism upon finally standing up.
There are times that I am sad about my inability to believe in a deity that intervenes and takes care of things, allowing me to sit back and soak up the joys of life. Other times I am completely grateful that I don't have to worry about my expectations of such a deity! Cause I know even the most fervent believers, who are also in AA, KNOW that this is an action program... yesterday the words "... spiritual program of action.." were used to describe the broad overview of our new lives and the absolute necessity of keeping in "... fit spiritual condition."

So how does an atheist do that?

For Step 11 I sought to be in purposeful, continual, conscious contact with my HP through prayer and meditation. Setting prayer aside was not an option, but I did not know how to proceed at first - so I developed mediation and morning and evening reading routines. I was asked by a Christian who do I talk to at 2 in the morning when there are no meetings... I had not thought of it in detail, but I was able to answer as if the words had been lent to me by some unknown source (ironic huh) I answered that somewhere in the world at every hour of the day & night drunks were gathered together in a meeting - that I was never without the Fellowship of AA. That is why I sought out online AA. First Step Chat and then Daily Reflections. Together with face-to-face meetings and service work - I am fully immersed in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Prayer is a bit more difficult as it remains a plea to an entity which AA has none. I do however see the positive aspects of prayer through science which shows chemical changes in the brain of the person praying. Since I already have no expectation of any outside response like "removal of defects" by an entity, I can see that prayerful changes INSIDE me might remove defects. AND I have been so desperate as to pray for a person I had a burning resentment against and the changes DID occur in me, so that I could again practice love & tolerance for the person. Further, scientific studies on prayer and meditation which science sought to see the difference in the effects of each, found no differences between the meditating monks and the praying nuns. Both sets had brain changes in the area of the brain that tells us we are separate from one another... interesting no?

============

At the risk of running too long here, Karl also asked us to share our ES&H on the evening "inventory" meditation - and proper attitude. When I first sobered up I thought this nightly inventory thing was a good idea - it would assist me in not repeating bad behaviors. Unfortunately, I was unable to do this at night because I would always torture myself with guilt etc. and be wound up and unable to sleep. I tried the inventory as part of my morning mediation, but that too failed because in the light of a new day, I had a tendency to brush over my wrongs with a rose colored brush and rush off into my day! SO, at night I would recite How it Works until I fell asleep and in the morning using the mantra of the Serenity Prayer.

The proper attitude and the desire results for a nightly inventory came when I officially got to the 10th Step with my sponsor and again I tried the inventory before bed. It seems the proper attitude for me was my new ability after the 4th & 5th Steps to have perspective on my wrongs and to know which ones were living amends and which ones required direct amends. My brain no longer races to guilt and shame and endless scenarios of self centered scripting.

It seems those who have gone before me were correct again! The Steps are in order for a reason! More will be revealed!
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

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