How often it seems, when we were “out there,” we lost as a result of the choices we made. Not so with Step Eleven. We’re not asked to make a choice.
In my first ten years of sobriety, I made the choice to only pray. Meditation seemed so foreign and certainly not something familiar to me, or my family, while I was growing up. I was reading Step Eleven as prayer or meditation. Fortunately, prayer was enough to keep me sober then.
I didn’t feel complete though. Something was missing and what do you do when something is missing? You go searching. I began reading about Buddhism and meditation. Intellectually stimulating I suppose, but it didn’t satisfy.
Then some fellowship friends beckoned, suggesting that I check out this sangha where they meditated. The rest is history – I have twenty years in this Zen tradition.Yes, it’s prayer and meditation, like two sides of the same coin. The choice is Step 11, not prayer or meditation. Like in-breath and out-breath is called breathing. Step 11 is truly without difficulty when I embrace it in its entirety.
· One person this evening said, “I pray only for guidance. When I’m in prayer I feel like I’m being guided. Since God is leading me, I don’t have to choose.”
· The ultimate path for me in this koan is the conscious contact I have with God and my fellows.
· The picking and choosing, that’s my will, my judgments. “Prayer and meditation keep me from being swept away by it all.”
· “God’s gift to me in this process is peace. Power un-opposed is peace. Avoiding picking and choosing is peace.”
· This “without difficulty thing” …when I can detach from my thoughts, prayer and meditation help me to deal with outrageous matters without becoming outraged.”
· Step 11 is an investigation with God as I understand him. I keep investigating this matter, let go of my responsibilities, and see what is happening – to say “yes” to everything, to stand up and be ready.
As this evening together was drawing to a close, one person said, “So great to grow old with the Steps.”