March 12: Day 71
Seek through prayer, meditation, and contemplation to improve our relationship with the Divine, praying for clarity of mind, an open heart, and further ways to heal ourselves and our world from the abuses of religion.
Instruction: Establish your practice.
Step Eleven takes us out of the realm of being taught by others about The Divine to a place where we have direct communication with The Divine. It reminds us that we can have a religious affiliation and also a personal encounter. This Step might cause problems for atheists and agnostics, but whether or not we choose to believe in a divine being doesn’t negate the importance of this Step. Those who do not believe in a divine being can simply skip prayer and go straight to the mediation and contemplation part of this Step. Mediation can be a way to listen for Divine guidance, but it doesn’t have to mean that to everyone. Meditation can simply be a way to connect with the inner self, the intuitive self, or the part of our brain that analyzes and solves problems. Instead of ‘“praying’” for clarity of mind, an open heart, and further ways to heal ourselves and our world from the abuses of religion,” we can simply seek for “clarity of mind, an open heart, and further ways to heal ourselves and our world from the abuses of religion.”
Some might see this Step as an attack on religions, but it is not meant to be. What Religious Recovery is doing is to recognize the truth that religion, at its best, can be a wonderful thing, but at its worst, it can create more harm than good, even to the point of creating global conflicts. How can Step Eleven help prevent the negative effects of religion or prevent more religious abuse? Through prayer, mediation, and contemplation, we can discern ways that we can help to heal our planet. We can seek ways in which we can bring religious communities together. Instead of focusing on the minor issues that separate us, we can help others to focus on the major issues that unite us. Step Eleven can move us out of the comfort of our homes and into a broader fellowship with our global neighbors, and it can open new ways of thinking, believing, and behaving.
Today’s Assignment is to find a system among the many ways there are to pray, meditate, and contemplate that works for you and to establish a simple practice. I’ve meditated “Zen” style and spent time praying in formal settings, but my established, if somewhat unorthodox method, is simply pray, meditate, and contemplate while lying in my bed each morning shortly before dressing and getting on with my day. Our practice doesn’t have to be formal or complicated. Simple is often better.
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