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Monday, May 16, 2011

Meditation: "Keep Off Thoughts!"

Step 11: "Sought through prayer and
meditation to improve our conscious
contact with God, as we understood
him . . .
Why meditate? Why engage in the continual practice of "self examination, meditation and prayer"? The answer is: "We are not cured of our alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities."
[Alcoholics Anonymous, page 85.]

In meditation, we make a conscious contact with God, and we carry that "vision of God's will" for us into our day through the practice of contemplation. When we find that, once again, we have become attached to and diverted by our self-consciousness (the mental chatter of the ego), we can pray briefly to be relieved of "the bondage of self," slip back into the quiet state of God-consciousness and then carry on with our day, assured that we will be able to respond effectively to what presents itself.

The state of our consciousness is the one thing we can change to achieve inner serenity or peace at any given moment, but we need to have the courage to let go of our egoic thinking, and the wisdom to know that there is a difference between our ordinary self-consciousness and the deeper and higher state of God-consciousness. This is the essence of the Serenity Prayer.

In the 'Big Book' of Alcoholics Anonymous, at page 85, we read that: "If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have become God-consciousness. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action."

"Step Eleven," we then read, "suggests meditation and prayer."

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Ramana Maharshi
When the modern-age Indian sage, Ramana Maharshi was asked what the difference was between meditation and distraction he answered: "No difference. When there are thoughts it is distraction; when there are no thoughts it is meditation. However," he then observed, "meditation is only practice (as distinguished from the real state of Peace)."

When he was then asked how to meditate, Maharshi simply replied: "Keep off thoughts."
[Talks with Ramana Maharshi, page 56.]

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