“For it is in giving that we receive,
In pardoning that we are pardoned,
And in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
From the Prayer of St. Francis
I have recently been offered an opportunity to experience a meditation practice called “Passage Meditation”, presented by Eknath Eswaran. The technique is a variation of the use of mantram, or the thought that guides. He suggests a mantram that is a phrase or prayer. His recommendation is to start with the Prayer of St. Francis. The challenge is to meditate on such a prayer one word or phrase at a time. He suggests that we set aside 30 minutes to be in the practice.
I am not sure any of us can describe the quality of our personal meditation experiences. However, I can share with you that there has been a deepening of my spiritual awareness because of meditation. Most powerful has been the meditation on the words above. As I reflect on the experience, I notice a deeper appreciation for the mystery of sobriety. As many of us realize, we know we have to work the 12 steps faithfully. The result is the miracle of our sobriety. The mystery is the responsibility to work the steps while being part of a miracle that we cannot explain. Right? A miracle is an experience that cannot be scientifically proven, rationalized, or generally explained. Thus, we experience a mystery. Why? I don’t know. It’s still a mystery.
Why does giving feel so good? Why does forgiveness lighten our souls? How can I experience birth without death? (This is a good one.) One thought that persists from the Yogic philosophy is the practice of making space. When I give, I make space that was once occupied by the gift so my soul is lighter.
Forgiveness? Wellllllllllllllll………. The stuff I carry when I don’t forgive cannot be adequately weighed in ounces, pounds or even tons. However, the release of burden or creation of space as a result of forgiveness is monumental. I must have a huge space where I store the anger and resentment when I am unforgiving. Otherwise, I wouldn’t feel so free, grateful, or alive when my forgiveness is genuine. Hmmmmm? Alive? I truly feel full of life (which I cannot further define) when I have forgiven. If I am alive after an experience of forgiveness, was I also dead in my unforgiveness, anger and resentment? I will say yes! Yes, a vital part of me is dead as I wallowed in anger, fear, judgement, and blame.
How about you? Can you identify with this experience? As I think of my using days, I will confess that I was in a state of walking death. I was dead to intimacy, honesty, respect, honor and ………… we can all make our own lists.
Today, I choose life! Further, I know that the pains of the death I will continue to experience as my sobriety progresses will be shared. In this sharing, I am able to suffer for a purpose. We are all able to suffer for a purpose: a life of sobriety. When we gather, we celebrate that purpose. We glimpse the restful waters here on earth as evidence of our hope for eternity.
Gratitude. I am in gratitude for you all who share this journey.