Monday, 25 September 2017

Daily Tao / 314 – Soaring #essentialsofrecovery

For years, I’ve practiced ritual.
It’s dead now.
For years, I’ve practiced meditation.
It’s dull now.
Finally, there is only soaring
Like an ectoplasmic ribbon
Floating over the sea.



When one is mature spiritually, one no longer needs the structure of ritual or formal meditations. This is not to say that structure was unnecessary, for without it one could not stand at this vantage point. But once one attains a level where one has completely internalized the lessons of structure, one can freely improvise in fresh and valid forms.

In spirituality, one can soar, free of ordinary restrictions. Imagine yourself on a high cliff overlooking the ocean. Slowly your body elongates like a ribbon. Longer and longer, undulating up into the sky. Before you is the limitless vastness of the ocean and sky. You feel drawn forward, and you can glide and soar over that expanse like a ribbon. That is spiritual freedom.

Autumn is about to pass into winter. Spring is on the other side, just as spiritual soaring is on the other side of stiff ritual. Devotions have their own seasons. When you first learn them, they are magical. Then they yield their harvest and wither. On the other side of the withering is a new spring and a new spiritual vista. Wherever you are in your spiritual years, cooperate with the cycle of the seasons, until you emerge like a dragon, soaring in the sky.
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RANDOM BIG BOOK ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS #essentialsofrecovery

“We reviewed our fears thoroughly. We put them on paper, even though we had no resentment in connection with them. We asked ourselves why we had them. Wasn’t it because self-reliance failed us? Self-reliance was good as far as it went, but it didn’t go far enough. Some of us once had great self-confidence, but it didn’t fully solve the fear problem, or any other. When it made us cocky, it was worse.” ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition, How It Works, page 68

Leo R. - AA Speaker


Daily Dose Of Emmet Fox #essentialsofrecovery

Realizing God as Truth will save you hours of work in research in any field. You will be led to the right book or the right place or the right person without loss of time, or the necessary information will come to you in some other way.
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Daily Reflections #essentialsofrecovery


FIRST THINGS FIRST


Some of us have taken very hard knocks to learn this truth: Job or no job — wife or no wife — we simply do not stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God. 

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 98

Before coming to A.A., I always had excuses for taking a drink: “She said . . . , ” “He said . . . ,” “I got fired yesterday,” “I got a great job today.” No area of my life could be good if I drank again. In sobriety my life gets better each day. I must always remember not to drink, to trust God, and to stay active in A.A. Am I putting anything before my sobriety, God, and A.A. today?
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Just For Today #essentialsofrecovery


The Fourth Step – Fearing Our Feelings

“We may fear that being in touch with our feelings will trigger an overwhelming chain reaction of pain and panic.” Basic Text, p.29

A common complaint about the Fourth Step is that it makes us painfully conscious of our defects of character. We may be tempted to falter in our program of recovery. Through surrender and acceptance, we can find the resources we need to keep working the steps.

It’s not the awareness of our defects that causes the most agony-it’s the defects themselves. When we were using, all we felt was the drugs; we could ignore the suffering our defects were causing us. Now that the drugs are gone, we feel that pain. Refusing to acknowledge the source of our anguish doesn’t make it go away; denial protects the pain and makes it stronger. The Twelve Steps help us deal with the misery caused by our defects by dealing directly with the defects themselves.

If we hurt from the pain of our defects, we can remind ourselves of the nightmare of addiction, a nightmare from which we’ve now awakened. We can recall the hope for release the Second Step gave us. We can again turn our will and our lives over, through the Third Step, to the care of the God of our understanding. Our Higher Power cares for us by giving us the help we need to work the rest of the Twelve Steps. We don’t have to fear our feelings. Just for today, we can continue in our recovery.

Just for today: I won’t be afraid of my feelings. With the help of my Higher Power, I’ll continue in my recovery.


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Twenty-Four Hours A Day #essentialsofrecovery

A.A. Thought For The Day

Let us consider the term “spiritual experience” as given in Appendix II of the Big Book: “A spiritual experience is something that brings about a personality change. By surrendering our lives to God as we understand Him, we are changed. The nature of this change is evident in recovered alcoholics. This personality change is not necessarily in the nature of a sudden and spectacular upheaval. We do no need to acquire an immediate and overwhelming God-consciousness followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook. In most cases, the change is gradual.” Do I see a gradual and continuing change in myself?

Meditation For The Day

“Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” For rest from the care of life, you can turn to God each day in prayer and communion. Real relaxation and serenity comes from a deep sense of the fundamental goodness of the universe. God’s everlasting arms are underneath all and will support you. Commune with God, not so much for petitions to be granted as for the rest that comes from relying on His will and His purposes for your life. Be sure of God’s strength available to you, be conscious of His support, and wait quietly until that true rest from God fills your being.

Prayer For The Day

I pray that I may be conscious of God’s support today. I pray that I may rest safe and sure therein.
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As Bill Sees It #essentialsofrecovery

Behind Our Excuses, p.267

As excuse-makers and rationalizers, we drunks are champions. It is the business of the psychiatrist to find the deeper causes for our conduct. Though uninstructed in psychiatry, we can, after a little time in A.A., see that our motives have not been what we thought they were, and that we have been motivated by forces previously unknown to us. Therefore we ought to look, with the deepest respect, interest, and profit, upon the example set us by psychiatry.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

“Spiritual growth through the practice of A.A.’s Twelve Steps, plus the aid of a good sponsor, can usually reveal most of the deeper reasons for our character defects, at least to a degree that meets our practical needs. Nevertheless, we should be grateful that our friends in psychiatry have so strongly emphasized the necessity to search for false and often unconscious motivations.”

1. A.A. Comes Of Age, p.236

2. Letter, 1966 
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Keep It Simple #essentialsofrecovery

Martyrs set bad examples

—David Russell

Sometimes we call people “martyrs.” We sometimes think of them as victims. They suffer, but sometimes not for a cause. They play “poor me.” They want people to notice how much they suffer. They are afraid to really live. These are the people who set bad examples.

True martyrs died for causes they believed in. We remember them because they were so full of energy and spirit. Recovery helps us live better. Let’s go for it!

Prayer for the Day: Higher Power, thanks for giving me energy and for healing my spirit. Help me live fully by putting my life in Your care.

Action for the Day: What kind of example do I set? Does my life reflect joy for life and recovery?
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Father Leo’s Daily Meditation #essentialsofrecovery

PRAYER


“Prayer is not asking. It is a language of the soul.”

– Mohandas Gandhi

At school I was told that prayer is “talking to God”. Then I discovered that prayer is more than this — prayer is a relationship with God. It is a two-way system — I talk to God but I must also listen to Him. Like any relationship that is going to work and grow, it needs time. I must spend time developing my relationship with God. I must create an awareness of his presence in my life because I believe He is always there for me.

But more than this, prayer is a yearning for truth within the center of my being. In prayer I get in touch with that part of me that will be forever restless until it finds rest, eternal rest, in Him.

O God, prayer is my journey into You.
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A Day At A Time #essentialsofrecovery

Reflection For The Day

At the suggestion of a long-timer in The Program, I began taking “recovery inventories” periodically. The results showed me — clearly and unmistakeably — that the promises of The Program have been true for me.  I am not the sick person I was in years past; I am no longer bankrupt in all areas; I have a new life and a path to follow, and I’m at peace with myself most of the time. And that’s far way from the time in my life when I dreaded facing each new day. Perhaps we should all write recovery inventories from time to time, showing how The Program is working for each of us. Just for today, will I try to sow faith where there is fear?

Today I Pray

God, let me compare my new life with the old one — just to see how things have changed for me. May I make progress reports for myself now and then — and for those who are newer to The Program. May these reports be — heartrendingly — about “what I am doing” rather than — smug — about “what I have done.”

Today I Will Remember

Has The Program kept its promise? Have I kept mine?
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Elder’s Meditation of the Day #essentialsofrecovery


“Even the trees have spirits – everything has a spirit.”

–Mary Hayes, CLAYOQUOT

The trees are great teachers. The trees are great listeners. That is why we should meditate in their presence. The Great spirit is in every rock, every animal, every human being and in every tree. The Great Spirit has been in some trees for hundreds of years. Therefore, the trees have witnessed and heard much. The trees are the Elders of the Elders. Their spirits are strong and very healing.

Great Spirit, teach me respect for all spiritual things.
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Today’s Gift #essentialsofrecovery


A thousand eyes, but none with correct vision.


— Isacher Hurwitz

William Shakespeare referred to envy as the “green sickness.” There are only losers in the game of envy. When we envy someone else, we have judged ourselves and found something lacking.

Lack of self-love is the soil in which envy grows. Envious people are never satisfied. Self-pity is never sitting far from envy. We feel sorry for ourselves for what we don’t have. Self-pity is like a swamp, the longer we stand in the muck, the more we stink.

Concentrating on what we do have is the perfect antidote for envy. Every one of us has our own special gifts and talents. We find these by looking at ourselves instead of looking at others. By becoming grateful for what we have, we can rejoice in ourselves.

Today let me be grateful for what I have.

From the book:



                              Our Best Days by Nancy Hull-Mast. © 1990 by Hazelden Foundation
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The Eye Opener #essentialsofrecovery

Everyone is potentially as good as God made him, and the reason that he does not show it is because he has buried the fact beneath a mountain of selfishness.

It has ever been man’s misdirected efforts to benefit himself and himself alone that have resulted in his greatest disservice to himself.

The closer man gets to himself, the further away he is from God and the world. The further he is away from God and the world, the further away he is from God’s blessings and the world’s happiness.


Copyright Hazelden Foundation
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Daily Zen #essentialsofrecovery

He who treads the Path in earnest Sees not the mistakes of the world; If we find fault with others We ourselves are also in the wrong.

- The Sutra of Hui Neng
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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Just For Today #essentialsofrecovery

A Growing Concept Of God

“The only suggested guidelines are that this Power be loving, caring, and greater than ourselves. We don’t have to be religious to accept this idea. The point is that we open our minds to believe.” 

Basic Text, p.24

In a lifelong process of coming to believe, our understanding of God will change. The understanding we have when new in recovery will not be the same when we have a few months clean, nor will that understanding be the same when we have a few years clean.

Our initial understanding of a Power greater than ourselves will most likely be limited. That Power will keep us clean but, we may think, nothing more. We may hesitate to pray because we have placed conditions on what we will ask our Higher Power to do for us. “Oh, this stuff is so awful, even God couldn’t do anything,” we might say, or “God’s got a lot of people to take care of. There’s no time for me!”

But, as we grow in recovery, so will our understanding. We’ll begin to see that the only limits to God’s love and grace are those we impose by refusing to step out of the way. The loving God we come to believe in is infinite, and the power and love we find in our belief is shared by nearly every recovering addict around the world.

Just for today: The God I am coming to understand has a limitless capacity for love and care. I will trust that my God is bigger than any problem I may have.
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