02/21/2018 8:30 PM | Anonymous

I mentioned recently how I came to undertake a careful look-see at the nature of my spiritual life in the program. Step 11 certainly called me to do so and, for that matter, the Big Book contains much on the subject. What troubled me, specifically, was how do I identify His Will. Most of the time I'm pretty careful when it comes to figuring out what the next "right thing" to do might be. I'd like to think that "the next right thing" might be God's thoughts on the matter, but that can't be all there is to it. After all, my ego can take on many different disguises and insert itself as the answer to what's right and what's wrong. I am aware of comments in the Book which call us to improve our moral fiber, to elevate our moral standards, and, importantly, to abandon reliance on my ego to guide my actions. Several years ago, my wife and I joined a group at our church devoted to study of the Rule of St. Benedict. After many discussion meetings centered on sharing thoughts about the previously selected book, a couple of retreats at cloistered spirituality centers, I've come to some conclusions that for me, at least, make sense and seem to provide comfort as I encounter life's bumps and grinds. 

First, effectively using mediation to find God's Will in a specific case; it's a process. I don't just email or text God and ask for His help. It's a process that entails daily contemplation. I don't pretend that that daily process is taking place in my basement in a cloistered enclosure, but maybe a moment of silence and isolation assists. I believe, like our daily thoughts about the program, our surrender and the litany of working the Steps and each piece of the whole program provides a backdrop for finding Him and His Way. For many, daily maintenance of our program is always present, a daily habit. Accompanying those thoughts and action steps is, in my case anyway, a repetition of the Serenity Prayer ... I ask for "His Will for us and the power to carry it out." 

Second, how do I identify His Will, which option do I select as His Will?  I've found that the search for "the next right thing" assists --  it's a good starting point. 

Third, listen. Listen to others. Don't think you have all the answers and know His Will. Listen to experts, your sponsor, the group - bring the issue up as a discussion topic, and - be quiet and listen. When I do all this I have found that His Will, his answer, is the comfortable one, maybe it is usually that "next right thing." After all, the program calls on us to "improve our spiritual life, to discard the old thought processes and elevate our moral being. His Will is a calming feeling to me --  a serenity. "It just feels like the right thing to do in this situation."  And isn't this what the Program is all about. Isn't the basic program intended to bring not only sobriety, but serenity? ... "you will know peace and find serenity" ;the Big Book promises this if we but work at it. 

Jim A.

Covington, Kentucky

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