“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
As difficult as it may be today, do your best to enjoy each moment like a little kid. But please remember that there is a difference between being child-like and being childish.
“For me, life is better because my soul has been able to wake up from the hypnotized mind and shed off the human conditioning. Seeing the truth behind the lies I had bought into. To see beyond the personal identity that I have put on myself. the self-centered worldview. To see that the core of who we really are is love. Giving and receiving love even when it is inconvenient.
All that blocks it from happening is the fear that I am unacceptable. That you are unworthy of love too. So I let these childish thoughts go. And when that happens it’s the essence of what I understand as peace. It is about receiving and being present to the moment, to the now, without judgment, analysis, or critique, without my ego deciding whether I like it or not.
So now I really don’t take these thoughts about myself so seriously. But when they come forward it is just an indication of something that I don’t fully understand- yet.
And then I let it go and just enjoy the moment.
I take in all that the situation, the moment, the event offers, without judging, eliminating, or labeling anything up or down, good or bad. It’s slowly becoming a pure and positive gaze, unattached to outcome. It is being present to all around me and the result is like seeing the world with a new pair of glasses.”
Both Eastern and Western spiritual traditions hint at a permanent, irreversible shift at the core of selfhood and in the perception that flows out from this new identity. The former sense of self dissolves, and in its place there arises a capacity to live a flowing, unboundaried life in which the person becomes “oned” with God and oned with one’s neighbor. This is likely what Jesus Christ was referring to when asked. “What is the greatest commandment of God?”
He said, “Teacher, which command in the law is the most important?”
Jesus answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.’ All of the law and the writings of the prophets take their meaning from these two commands.”
Once there is a shift from seeking God to seeing God, all of the difficult instructions in the bible no longer are a challenge. They become just what you do: because you want to do them. What you want and what God desires are the same.
Try to remember what it was like growing up and the times that you had your times of rebellion. Eventually you learned by experience that what your parents wanted you to do was really in your best interest. You do them now willingly. Well, maybe not always. If that’s you remember that its been a process of learning. If you still are struggling, make a choice to let go of what is causing the resistance to enjoying each moment by just pausing and focusing on what is happening now. Like a child. Children don’t concern themselves about the past or worry about the future. They just enjoy.
Some people have a problem with prayer in recovery, especially those who are struggling with the whole God concept.
I have heard many who dislike it because there is too much God and some declare that there is not enough. Frankly, I have been on both sides of this fence but am now neutral on the subject. The 12 Step program has been around for a long time and has changed not just my life, but lives of millions of people. Therefore, I have concluded that it works very well as it is. Can it be better? Perhaps. I think Pablo Picasso said it well: “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” And are we all not really artists creating our own life, in our own way, the best we can? Maybe. If that’s true, we should be trying to create the best recovery experience we can have. Right?
If you want to add or subtract something that’s in the process of self-discovery called the 12 Steps, you probably should know pretty well what you are going to try and modify. But being addicts, we are inclined to go for the fast track and get gratification as quickly as possible. Therefore, too help you in your quest for a quick fix, here are the references to prayer in Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book so you can see that this is a prevalent topic.
Look at this as a detective who is trying to find some clues on what the motive of the perpetrator could have possibly been. Certainly, to get that answer for ourselves about recovery we don’t have to guess, you can just read what the 12th Step is: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
Yep, this process is ultimately about becoming conscious of ourselves and our relationships. And apparently to the founders of modern recovery, prayer is an important part of being able to do that. Here is what co-founder of AA, Bill Wilson, wrote in his sequel to the Big Book, The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions: “A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.”
I would like to add in a quote from Mother Teresa: “I used to believe prayer changes things, but now I know prayer changes us and we change things.” Now here is what AA’s Big Book says about prayer:
“I earnestly advise every alcoholic to read this book through, and though perhaps he came to scoff, he may remain to pray.” William D. Silkworth, MD – (“The Doctor’s Opinion”- Preface to Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book)
“God is everything or he is nothing. God either is or he isn’t. What was our choice to be?” Pg. 53. Pg. 59 “We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.”
Pg. 63: God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always!”
Pg. 67 – Resentment: “We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, “This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.”
Pg. 68 – Fear: “We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be.”
Pg. 69 – Sex: “We asked God to mold our ideals and help us live up to them.”
Pg. 69 – Sex: “In meditation, we ask God what we do about each specific matter.”
Pg. 70 – Sex: “To sum up about sex: We pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity and for strength to do the right thing.”
Pg. 75: “We thank God from the bottom of our heart that we know Him better.”
Pg. 75: “We ask if we have omitted anything”
Pg. 76: “If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing.”
Pg. 76: “My Creator, I am now willing that You should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that You now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do Your bidding. Amen”
Pg. 76: “If we haven’t the will to do this, we ask until it comes.”
Pg. 79 – Legal Matters: “We ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences might be.”
Pg. 80 – Others Affected: “If we have obtained permission, have consulted with others, asked God to help.”
Pg. 82 – Infidelity: “Each might pray about it, having the other one’s happiness uppermost in mind.”
Pg. 83 – Family: “So we clean house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love.”
Pg. 84: “Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them.”
Pg. 85: “Everyday is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all our activities. “How can I best serve Thee – Thy will (not mine) be done.”
Pg. 86 – Night: “After mediation on the day just completed, We ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.”
Pg. 86 – Morning: “Before we begin our day, we ask god to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.”
Pg. 86 – Morning: “In thinking about our day, We ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or decision.”
Pg. 87 – Morning: “We usually conclude the period of mediation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We especially ask for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no requests for ourselves only We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends.”
Pg. 87-88 – All Day: “As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action.”
Pg. 164: “Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come IF your own house is in order.”
Regardless of what you do or don’t like about prayer, it is an integral part of the 12 Step program. So much so, I would have to conclude that connection with God has been a critical ingredient in transforming my life. I really don’t believe that my life would have changed as dramatically as it has without it. Of course you get to decide if it does or does not work for you but I would like to ask you to approach it as mentioned above before dismissing it. Its worked for billions of people, so odds are in your favor that it will work for you too.
We are being guided, but God will not assist us without our cooperation.
Ten years from now, make sure that you can say you have chosen your life; not just settled on it.
Be skeptical but always listen. Take the position of a student.
Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. God will listen. Promise.
Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, arrogance, anger, jealousy envy and greed all flow from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance and that you will too.
Search for your True Self, but do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your journey, and yours alone. Others may walk by your side, but no one can take these steps for you.
Respect all that has been placed upon this earth. Every man, woman, child, ever creature, every living thing shares the same divine source.
Honor other people’s thoughts and words. Allow each person the right to personal expression but take none of what they say personally.
Never speak of others in way that you would not say to their face. The gossip that you put out into the world will have multiplied when your poison words return to you.
All people make mistakes and all mistakes have been forgiven by God, so therefore you can forgive them too.
Be truthful at all times. Honesty is evidence of one’s courage.
Keep yourself balanced. Your Mental Self, Spiritual Self, Emotional Self, and Physical Self, all need to be strong and healthy. Grow strong in spirit to cure emotional sicknesses. Exercise the body to strengthen the mind.
Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will respond.
Be responsible for your own actions and respect the privacy and personal space of others. Unsolicited advice is an insult.
Share your good fortune with others. Practice generosity regularly.
Make no assumptions. You will end up very disappointed if you think everyone has the same heart you do.
Always do your best, because you will know when you do any less than you are capable of. Ultimately the relationship that you have with yourself sets the tone for all other relationships.
Forgive yourself for not knowing sooner what you know now. Learning isn’t always easy and if it seems easy, you may not actually be learning anything new.
Respect yourself. People accept what they believe they deserve. Therefore, you will allow people to treat you no better than, no less than, what you think you are worthy of.
Say yes more often to your instincts for you are being guided and remember that God will not assist you in any endeavor without your cooperation.
Of course those of us who embark on spiritual paths are motivated in different ways. Some will want to know themselves and others want to know the secrets that unlock everything. And maybe that is the same thing but approaching it at two different angles.
Some people want transformation. Many want to alleviate suffering and affect the world in a positive manner. And then there are those of us who are looking love, inner peace, acceptance, satisfaction and happiness. We all need fulfillment in some way or another.
“There Are Two Ways To Live: You Can Live As If Nothing Is A Miracle, Or You Can Live As If Everything Is A Miracle.“ Albert Einstein
So since we have prayed before and found a way through problems, it’s very natural to return to what works. And it does. However, inspiration without an application is basically just imagination. A soul being stirred is just a mere beginning. What needs to come together is action and contemplation. Being productive gives people a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that just sitting around thinking about something can never produce. Success will inspire more dreams that lead to more success. Truly, it is not the pursuit of happiness that we find ourselves. We discover our authenticity in the happiness experienced during the pursuit.
So no matter what the reason for beginning, a meaningful life is realized when we are seeking the presence of God in each moment.