Hanging on Step 11: Hook 2, Experience God’s Love

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“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood (God), praying only for knowledge of (God’s) will for us and the power to carry that out.”  ~Step 11

When I first started to work the Steps I was sure I knew plenty about God, thank you, and there wasn’t a drunk alive that was going to help me on that front. Sigh.

It’s been wonderful and exciting to find that, comparatively, I knew nothing. There is so much more to experience! In fact, the experience of relating to God is nothing like head-knowledge of God, quoting scriptures or being able to hold my own in theological debates. Nothing!

I came into the program with a systematic theology and a head stuffed with quotable one-liners that I used on any differing viewpoint that made me uncomfortable. Black and white thinking and labeling were my favorite tools for intellectual survival.

Through God’s grace, I was to discover the wisdom of Bill W’s terms ‘prayer and meditation’. I have been liberated from some of the bonds of self that kept me telling God what to do and calling that prayer!

In the 70s, Thomas Keating and a couple of other Trappist monks developed a simple method of teaching silent prayer. This method came to be known as Centering Prayer, focusing entirely on the presence of God. In the process, a sense of God’s love is experienced.

(You can learn more about Centering Prayer through Contemplative Outreach)

I learned about the rationale and the method of Centering Prayer from this series of 4 talks by Cynthia Bourgeault. I find it amazing that scientifically, there is data to support the calming effects of this practice.