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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Establishing "Conscious Contact" with God

"In meditation," we read in the 'Big Book' of Alcoholics Anonymous (at page 69)," we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The answer will come, if we want it."

This instruction dealing with our sex relations, and simple on its face, is found in the instructions for how to do Step Four, yet its forward looking implications are for Step Nine and (perhaps more importantly) for Step 12, where we endeavour to "practice these principles in all our affairs." Its inclusion in Step Four is an indication that as part of Step Two and Step Three we have already begun to seek out, through the practice of prayer and meditation, a conscious contact with God.

Indeed, the "word-of-mouth program" from the Oxford Group that Ebby T. passed on to Bill W. stressed the need for daily periods of meditation. In the "Three Talks to Medical Societies" pamphlet, we read that the sixth 'step' that Ebby relayed to Bill was: "By meditation, (we) sought God's direction for (our) life and help to practice these principles of conduct at all times." Similarly, Step Eleven in A.A.'s suggested program of action says that we seek "through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact" with the God of our understanding.  If we are to "improve our conscious contact with God," we must have already established such conscious contact at some earlier point in the Steps.

All of this implies, of course, that meditation is one of the fundamental practices that facilitates the spiritual awakening that is necessary for recovery from alcoholic addiction, and that we are faced with the necessity of practicing meditation even before we hit Step Four. It implies, it would seem, that beginning the practice of meditation is an integral part of "turning our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him" in Step Three, for without it we are flying blind.

Steps Four through Step Nine will, of course, relieve the sufferer of many of the punishing thoughts and emotions based on past events that fuel his or her sense of discomfort, irritability, restlessness and discontent, but it is in the state of higher God-consciousness attained in meditation that we find real release. Thus, we are urged to make time for a period of quiet each morning before we start the affairs of the day, seeking guidance for what we should do; and we are urged to take a similar period of quiet each evening, before we retire to bed.

By establishing such a routine we find a place of quiet consciousness to which we can retreat when the going gets tough during our day, and in which we can recollect ourselves and what we are aiming at - i.e., to be of maximum service to God and our fellow beings. It is, as a plaque on Dr. Bob's desk says, "to have a blessed home in (ourselves) where (we) can go in and shut the door and pray to (our God) in secret and be at peace, as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and about is seeming trouble."

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