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Beside Restful Waters

“Abhyasa: Practice”

-Yoga Sutra

The Yoga Sutra loosely defines ‘abhyasa’ as practice. I use this term frequently in relation to how I apply the principles of sobriety to my life style.

Another aspect of the definition of ‘abhyasa’ is ardent effort. Again, I have pondered this term as it applies to a life style of peace and sobriety. I think of an ardent effort as hard work, nose to the grind stone with blood, sweat and tears. However, the dictionary defines ‘ardent’ as enthusiastic or passionate. My wife often describes me a passionate, and not necessarily in a romantic way. I do get fired up about our hope of sobriety and our hope of a calm and steady mind.

As I practice the 12 Steps and Yoga, I am coming to recognize that blood, sweat and tears are required in our passionate efforts to work our program. This work effort slowly transforms blood, sweat and tears in to serenity, courage and wisdom.

Doing the work results in blood, sweat and tears.

Being sober IS the result of serenity, courage and wisdom.

I cannot do serenity. I can be serene.

I cannot do courage. I can be courageous.

I cannot do wisdom. I can be wise.

You may have heard my story of Ray. Ray was 90+ years old when I met him. He was a spiritual pillar in his small church community. He came to me following several strokes and could not put more than a word or two together to express himself. He loved his Bible and his daily study guide although he was no longer able to read. So he asked me to read to him. One particular day, the reading and reflection was about Jesus instructing us to “Pray always”.

I asked Ray: How do you pray always?

He was quiet for a couple of minutes, while he bowed his head.

He slowly lifted his head and fixed his eyes on my soul.


Thank you Ray. I will carry this wisdom to my grave and beyond.

How much effort does it take to be grateful?

How much effort does it take to accept your gratitude?

Oops! I have to pay attention to this second question as I am not very good at accepting your gratitude.

Hmmm? That means I am not very good at accepting your prayer for me.

Today, my intention is to hear your prayer of gratitude. This will be a good practice.

We’ll meet beside restful waters in mutual gratitude. We will practice together.


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