Waking – a meditation

light

 

In the grey cocoon of light the mind
finds metamorphosis,
makes from the wreck of what she was
the wings of what she is.
 

Ursula K. LeGuin — Waking

 

I have been thinking about “spiritual awakening”. I heard a speaker, who said, that “spiritual awakening” is just what it says: that we “wake up” to a new life of the spirit. It’s just that simple. There does not have to be any sudden change, any “aha” moment, any flood of inspiration or visitation. Just waking up. I think about waking up from a night’s sleep. Sometimes I come slowly to consciousness, not really sure where the boundary is between sleep and waking. At other times, I am instantly and suddenly wide awake, with a clear boundary between dreaming and reality.

My spiritual awakening in recovery was gradual. I did not have a moment of enlightenment, when it all changed for me. I had to pause and take stock, to ask myself, “How am I living my life now? How is this different from my life before recovery?” In that asking, the answer was clear: I had awakened. I was more present, more aware, more conscious, more intentional, and perhaps more rational in the way I lived, in the way I interacted with others, and in my understanding of a Higher Power that was restoring me to sanity. The Al-Anon program was, for me, a “grey cocoon of light” that supported and enabled my metamorphosis from “the wreck of what [I] was” to “the wings of  what [I] am”.

A meditation for December 28, 2013.

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Step 12 – Episode 53

Are you wondering whether you’ve had a spiritual awakening, or even what a spiritual awakening might be? How can you practice these principles in all your affairs? And what are “these principles” anyway? Are you not sure how to carry the message? Today, Linda and Spencer talk about Step 12, which states “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

Our discussion is structured by these questions:

  • Have you had a spiritual awakening?
    • What does that mean to you?
    • How do you know?
    • What sort(s) of spiritual awakening(s) have you experienced?
  • What do you understand to be “these principles”?
    • Steps? Traditions? Concepts? Slogans? What else?
  • What are some ways in which you practice these principles “in all your affairs?”
    • In the family
    • At work
    • With friends
    • In society
  • What are some ways in which you carry the message of the program to others?
    • In meetings
    • As a sponsor
    • With family and friends
    • This podcast!
  • How does Step 12 empower and inspire you?

Our topic for next week is communication. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email feedback@therecoveryshow.com with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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spiritual awakening – a guest meditation from Beth

how much love?

 

 

Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

 

Step 12 of Al-Anon

 

I have heard many people in al anon say that they have had a spiritual awakening, thanks to this program, and that as a result, they have gotten their lives back. Thankfully, I can say that too. I am one of those lucky, happy people. But what does having my life back really mean for me? After years of not being present in my own life as a result of throwing myself headlong into the drama and chaos of trying to live other peoples’ lives FOR them, because of working this program, the crazy negative constant chatter in my head has subsided. I am peaceful where I was once obsessed. I am kind to myself where I once was my own worst enemy.

This internal quiet has become a part of my daily existence, and I now find myself open and available to receive the many joys life offers me each day. I observe, listen, and am present with myself and others in a way I have not experienced in a long, long time, maybe since I was a child. People say it is never too late to have a happy childhood. I am having mine now. I am happy to say that I am actually LIVING each day, and treasuring my life to the fullest.

This does not mean every day is a picnic. It just means that I am ok with it, whatever happens. I know by now that both the bad and the good will always come and go like the tides, because i embraced with my whole heart the wise slogan this too shall pass.

The pain and sadness I have endured have left me with a melancholy streak. That is ok. Because of my experiences I can offer true compassion to others who are in pain, like my son. I can allow him the space to walk his own path for himself with dignity. I can detach in love, with real hope for him in my heart because I know that the program works.

Because of the mistakes I have made, I have the humility to know that I don’t have all of the answers, and I am absolutely done forcing solutions.

How did all of this happen? My sanity and balance have been restored in large part by love. The love shared between members of this program is very powerful. You loved me when I could not love myself. The love I felt for you was real and heartfelt, and so i began to trust and believe that the love you showed me was real too. This helped a lot! It started me on my journey of learning to love myself again. The love a newcomer receives from members of this program is like a tidal wave, very powerful, and at first very unexpected. I am humbled and immensely grateful for the love freely given to me in these rooms. And I love being able to reflect all this goodness right back at all of you. But most of all i love being loving and kind to MYSELF.

The other primary source of my restored wellbeing was working the steps. The time and sweat that I put into writing my searching and fearless moral inventory was well spent. So was the energy I devoted to making amends. I felt reborn and freed from age old self-imposed shackles afterwards. I repeat a mini version of this process using step 10 continually in my life, and I always feel truer to myself and more whole as a result. The steps are a symphony, not a note wasted or unnecessary. This fellowship and it’s gifts are truly amazing.

So now that I am present in my life, spiritually awake, practicing the Al-Anon principles in all of my affairs, I get to see some really beautiful things. Here is what i saw the other day, something i would never have seen in my old obsessed crazy state. I would have been too busy micromanaging my son’s life, fully convinced that I not only could but should control every step he took, missing my own life while careening headlong toward exhaustion and failure.

Riding home on the train the other day, on a sunny lovely day, I looked out the window as the train stopped. Passengers were getting off at “highland station”, so named because the platform is a top a small hill. I saw a group of about ten young boys ranging in age from 5 to 8 outside my window. They were pushing bikes up this small grassy hill only to ride down it together in glee, over and over. Their happiness was so contagious that i found myself grinning. As they were making their way back up the hill towards me, I started waving. One boy tentatively waved back. I smiled bigger and waved harder. Then another waved back. Soon all were waving and smiling at me. Then, from the direction they were looking, I could tell that the conductor had started waving at them too. And some other passengers followed suit. By the time the train pulled away, everybody on the train was waving at the little boys, and all the boys were waving back with glee. It was so beautiful, and I started it all, because I was awake, living my own life.

Thanks to this program I am having my own happy childhood today, finding love to share around every corner.

A meditation for December 13, 2013

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letting go of denial – a guest meditation by Beth

Eye_Of_The_World1
Image source: http://carlprox.theworldrace.org/blogphotos/theworldrace/carlprox/Eye_Of_The_World1.jpg

 

Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world,
The heart has it’s beaches, it’s homeland and thoughts of its own.
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings,
But the heart has it’s seasons, it’s evenings and songs of its own.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own,
And sometimes we visit your country and live in your home,
Sometimes we ride on your horses, sometimes we walk alone,
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own.

 

Grateful Dead — Eyes of the World

 

Nothing inspires me to wake up and enjoy this glorious day and to take my rightful place in the world like this rejuvenating song.  Step 11 conscious contact with HP to the max.

Denial is something I am having a hard time letting go of.

In meditating this week about why this defense mechanism continues to creep back into my life, when I have long outgrown it, some very interesting things were revealed to me.

By admitting my powerlessness in step one, and asking god for help to accept the things i could not change by repeating the serenity prayer, i opened my heart to a new way of living. As a newcomer this was a dramatic and cleansing awakening. It was fall then too, and I saw that the leaves falling slowly down to earth were just like my worries, each drifting gently away as I let them go, one by one. Over time, I found the courage to see my character defects for what they were, and became willing to let them drift away too.

Today I can see clearly where I want to be, and understand very well the inescapable correctness in striving to live life on life’s terms, always aware of reality as it actually is, living in this moment and this moment only. Continually seeking to improve my conscious contact with the god of my understanding, to me right now, means striving to stay in that space where I see what IS, and accept true reality without judgement or argument. Practicing gratitude is an excellent tool to bring me back into the present as well.

I know I am returning to old bad habits when I am struggling inside, exhausting myself in an internal mental wrestling match. I am usually trying to change something that is not in my control, avoiding acceptance at all costs, or resisting seeing something i am denying. After a while, when i am good and tired, I stop. Because of the good habits I have learned over time from the good people in these rooms, from readings, and from time spent being truly honest with myself, I can see my struggle for what it is, and let it go. But see, often i don’t just go there in my head. When i am in a bad place mentally, i can say or do something I regret, and hurt someone I love very much.

That is why maintaining conscious contact with the god of my understanding is so important for my recovery. I need to over and over remember to see things as they ARE, and accept them, not fight them.
I came to these realizations because I was suffering, upset with myself for a hurt I caused while in denial. Denial for me is sneaky. It creeps in without my knowing it, and I learn painful lessons again and again. My denial comes in twin forms. I convince myself that things that are not present are really, definitely there, or I pretend something right in front of my face is not there at all.
Sometimes denial can save your life, because the reality of what is actually true is too painful to bear at that moment. And other times denial is just a bad habit easy to fall back into, a crutch I don’t need anymore, which hurts me more than the pain of seeing life for what it really is. I want to banish my destructive habit of denial, and replace it with loving acceptances once and for all, and striving for mindful, conscious contact with my higher power feels like a real solution, so that’s what I’m working on.

A meditation for November 7, 2013.

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