Twelve-Step Spirituality: Week 1 Summary — Center for Action and Contemplation

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Twelve-Step Spirituality: Week 1 Summary

Twelve-Step Spirituality: Week 1

Summary: Sunday, May 29-Friday, June 3, 2016

In creating Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, with typical American pragmatism, designed a truly practical program that really worked to change lives. (Sunday)

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable. (Monday)

Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. (Tuesday)

Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God. (Wednesday)

Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. (Thursday)

Step Five: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. (Friday)


Practice: Letting Go and Letting God

Contemplative practice is an exercise in humility. We come face to face with our inability to control our thoughts, emotions, and bodies. With practice over time, our grip on our attachments may loosen. But even after many years, for the first several minutes of silent prayer, I still find myself thinking the same old thoughts. Each time I encounter my own powerlessness and realize my dependence on my Higher Power.

While we experience our smallness and weakness in contemplative prayer, shame is never helpful. When we let go, we fall into God’s merciful and loving presence, which paradoxically affirms our true power. Letting go is incredibly freeing and empowering!

Begin your time of meditation by setting an intention, expressing your desire to be open and present to God (perhaps this week’s “Gateway to Silence”). When your mind wanders or sensations arise, don’t judge yourself, but simply observe the thought and let it go. Every distraction is another opportunity to return to your intention and to let God be enough and all.

Gateway to Silence:
Let go and let God.

For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps
Richard Rohr, Emotional Sobriety: Rewiring Our Programs for “Happiness” (DVD, CD, MP3 download)
Richard Rohr, How Do We Breathe Under Water? The Gospel and 12-Step Spirituality (DVD, CD, MP3 download)

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