Tag Archives: meditation

When I first got into recovery, I was told that if I did not do steps 4 and 5 I would get drunk.  In fact, that is a so-called “dark promise” in the text book of AA.   The fear of getting drunk far outweighed my fear of that inventory process and I went ahead and did it.  And discovered that the fifth step promises came true.  Here they are: “Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.”

I had indeed begun to feel the nearness of a God that I did not yet have a complete understanding of, and I could indeed look people in the eye, and I did find being alone much easier.  And perhaps most importantly of all, my personality was changing.  That spiritual experience that is described in the appendix as a “personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism” was happening to me.  I rarely thought about drinking, and yes, I did not feel alone or lonely because I felt that Presence that was always with me, even if I couldn’t define It.

Fast forward to when I began to study New Thought, and started learning about a trained mind, and the power of my thoughts.  Ernest Holmes said that a trained mind is far more powerful than an untrained one, and I wanted a trained mind.

I was already well versed in steps 10 and 11, doing inventory and meditation daily.  What I realized with New Thought was that these two steps were the same as what were called spiritual practices in Science of Mind.  Self inquiry or introspection are the same as an inventory.  And while there are many ways to meditate, all work equally well and meditation is one of the top spiritual practices recommended to live a more joyous life.

This is the recipe for joyous living, in my opinion:  daily introspection and meditation.  The introspection leads to self awareness, which is key to knowing our truth.  And it is also key to keeping our thoughts positive, because they do set in motion what becomes manifest in our lives.  We are what we think, so it behooves us to think good thoughts, and a trained mind helps us do that.

Doing steps 10 and 11 every day, or, if you prefer, introspection and meditation, trains our mind and ensures as nothing else will that we live happy and productive lives.

Today, I came across one of my most favorite Ernest Holmes quotes in the Science of Mind textbook: "trained thought is far more powerful than untrained, and the one who gives conscious power to his thought should be more careful what he thinks than the one who does not. The more power one gives to his thought—the more completely he believes that his thought has power—the more power will it have."

I was about 10 years into recovery when I re-discovered New Thought, something I had been briefly exposed to when I was a kid.  I was on a search on behalf of the 11th step, because where I was at in my life was not satisfactory to me.

This concept of training my thinking was appealing to me, because at the time my mind was a very dangerous neighborhood.

Untrained, my thoughts will take me to depression and all sorts of other unpleasant places.  Trained, I am happy and at peace.

How does one train their thinking?  The 11th step suggests prayer and meditation.  I happen to think those are great suggestions, except that I define prayer in a different way.  Prayer traditionally is about a beseeching to an outside entity.  I like the new thought definition better: prayer as inner knowing and then affirmation.  Couple that with meditation, which is nothing more than focusing the mind, and you have a formula for living life on a firm foundation of trained thinking that leads to happiness, peace and joy.

How are you doing in training your thinking?  I'd love to hear about it.


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I love the way the steps are set up.  There is an order to them that makes it easy, for me at least, to move from victim to empowerment.

I know that it is common to hear, in 12 step meetings, that we must continually acknowledge our powerlessness.  In all my research of the steps, and in my personal experience of 29 years of incorporating them into my life,  I have failed to find any evidence that advocates powerlessness as a way of life.  Instead, I find much evidence that says powerlessness is like a doorway into recovery.  Powerlessness is for beginners.

In a way, much of life is like this:  when we first encounter a new concept, a new way of living, a new way of being, we must be open to possibilities, even though the unknown is sometimes much scarier than the known, as unsatisfactory as the known may be.  But if we admit to not liking the way things are, and to acknowledging that there must be a better way, then we somehow open ourselves up.  Powerlessness is that doorway.  Yes, we are in a powerless place in the beginning....but only in the beginning.

Once we get to step 10, we get our power back.  (Actually in my personal experience it comes much sooner in the process, but I know it isn't that way for everyone)  Here are the 10th step promises in the textbook of Alcoholics Anonymous:

"And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone—even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality—safe and ­protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our ­experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition."

Jean Houston writes, in the Foreward to the Science of Mind textbook, that in thinking of God as something within us, it moves us from a state of powerlessness to one of power.  "This grants us tremendous power and with it the innate responsibility to make or break our world through the extraordinary working power of our minds. Thus the practical emphasis in The Science of Mind of schooling in the power of trained thought."

So....we move  from a state of powerlessness in the beginning, to one of power by the tenth step.  The steps teach us to live in 10 and 11, inventories, meditation and prayer.  New Thought teaches us to consistently do our spiritual practices, with introspection (inventory) and the resulting personal awareness, and meditation and affirmative prayer making for a lifestyle that does indeed move from powerlessness to being safe and protected, from victim to empowerment.

This is a lifestyle that works, and I am so grateful for it.


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Thank you for reading.  I would love to see your comments!