- First Movement in Centering Prayer: Sacred Word or Symbol

First Movement in Centering Prayer: Sacred Word or Symbol




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First Movement in Centering Prayer: Sacred Word or Symbol

Postby garden variety » Wed Sep 26, 2007 9:40 am

The First Movement in centering prayer is the movement of “my willâ€
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Postby anniemac » Thu Sep 27, 2007 1:32 pm

Paul, this is quite excellent ~ thank you. Your examples bring your instructions to life.

I have one question, though - you wrote It was the price the Power of the Universe paid for Mercy to ease my human struggles. and I don't understand what that means. Would you be able to elaborate on that for me?
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Postby garden variety » Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:21 am

anniemac wrote:I have one question, though - you wrote It was the price the Power of the Universe paid for Mercy to ease my human struggles. and I don't understand what that means. Would you be able to elaborate on that for me?


I'll try to keep it simple.

There is a "Law of the Universe" that seems to say that "whatever I reap, I will sow." Some beliefs consider this "Karma". This "Law" would tell me that life will continue whether or not my struggles are eased. But, prayer is given to me as a gift, and it somehow lets me "have an edge" over this balancing law of nature.

I believe that because of what seems inevitable through this "Law of Karma", that Prayer is a gift of Mercy from a "loving God" who is an "ultimate authority" according to our tradition.

To receive that gift of Mercy, by "nature" Herself, somebody or something somewhere was required to "pay a price" or "make a sacrifice" over and above "Karma's Law".

Who or what made the sacrifice is not the point. It doesn't matter if there really was an innocent son of a carpenter with a perfect connection to His Divine Source that chose to accept the agony of crucifixion. It doesn't matter if it is a Third-world village of Tibeten folks who simply accept their poverty as "God's will" and go about their lives with joy making the same sacrifice each day when they could be pursuing their individual "best interests". Someone, somewhere had enough "Grace" to see beyond themselves and willingly choose the "common good". One or many "beings" suffer beyond their "fair share" of pain as an act of free will - which is an act of Divine Grace.

So "Grace" is the price paid for the Mercy I freely receive that allows me to have my "personal" burden of struggle eased through prayer and meditation. Somebody, whether as One Savior or a "Divine Collective of Saviors", loves me so much that they regard their suffering as joy if it helps another.

Wow. That is something for me to be grateful for today - this one day of many I've enjoyed in sobriety. I can't do any of it on my own, whether it's suffering or saving myself.

It's all Grace and Mercy.
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Postby Dallas » Fri Sep 28, 2007 11:53 am

Someone, somewhere had enough "Grace" to see beyond themselves and willingly choose the "common good". One or many "beings" suffer beyond their "fair share" of pain as an act of free will - which is an act of Divine Grace.


Gee. That kind of reminds me of what I learned in regards to my responsibility -- and in regards to being a positive example for others -- in the Fellowship of Alcohoics Anonymous.... in return for the gift that I have received... which was, an opportunity -- that I could work for to achieve... and I have to continue working and achieving and practicing... so that I can have it -- so that I can freely give it away to pass it on! :wink:

Thanks for sharing this great stuff -- and all these precise instructions on meditation! This is really great! What an opportunity!

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Postby anniemac » Fri Sep 28, 2007 2:26 pm

Thanks, Paul, for the clarification. You said To receive that gift of Mercy, by "nature" Herself, somebody or something somewhere was required to "pay a price" or "make a sacrifice" over and above "Karma's Law". and I see that as the crux of your explanation. Although I do agree with the reciprocal laws of the universe, I can't say that I agree that someone somewhere needs to pay a price or make a sacrifice for the gift of God's grace. I'm thinking that things in this realm of discussion are delving a bit in to specific belief systems and not general spirituality.

That's fine with me - I'm finally to the point of being able to hear others' beliefs with an open mind...yet I am concerned that someone might read this thread and believe that to be an AA belief. I know that for the first several months of attending meetings, I had a lot of difficulty sorting out what was the official program of AA, and what was the personal beliefs and opinions of its individual members.

I really appreciate all of the work you are putting in to this Meditation board and I thank you for that.
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Postby garden variety » Fri Sep 28, 2007 3:35 pm

anniemac wrote:Although I do agree with the reciprocal laws of the universe, I can't say that I agree that someone somewhere needs to pay a price or make a sacrifice for the gift of God's grace.


Well let me clarify a little better if I can. I agree too that nobody has to make a sacrifice to receive the gift of Mercy - as it relates specifically to prayer. For me, that's the mystery, beauty, and Divine Nature of "Grace as I understand it".

Really I'm not trying to make an argument for or against theology because it seems to me that Grace and Mercy become universal spiritual principles through "autonomy" - which is their beauty and attraction to me.

The way I see it is nobody "has to" suffer for the sake of another. But many folks in many different theologies willingly do, for no reward or motive other than that's how they understand their concept of God. Their is an "attitude" I'm talking about that seeks and finds joy within pain or suffering if it can be used for the benefit of another. It comes to another universal spiritual principle talked about called "acceptance".

A friend of mine puts it like this in his leads - a very powerful message.

"I love to golf, but I spend my weekends helping my mother live at home instead of a nursing home. It's the least I can do for her for all that she did for me that got me to this point. I get a call from my friends and they invite me to go golfing one Saturday. I tell them no thanks because I'm helping my mother this weekend."

"Then my golfing buddy says 'Do you have to help your mother every single weekend?"

Tim's response floored me (some of you know Tim)

"No. I don't have to help her. I get to help her."

Grace when it's given is something I understand to be a free will choice with no expectation of anything in return. I also understand that I don't have to choose to be gracious - and it doesn't matter to "God" or the "Universe" one way or the other. The "return" a giver of grace supposedly gets is joy in knowing that another person was helped - and that God's will was served (depending on the giver and their own concept of God).

Mercy as I understand it also flows freely from a "loving God" when I seek it.

No one "is required" to make any sacrifice for the sake of another. But if I make a sacrifice because I want to, and I do it for the sake of following the Will of God as I understand Him, I believe that God could do with that sacrifice whatever He wanted for anyone He wanted regardless of theology. The only "theology" I can say that A.A. does in fact endorse is the theology in the 2nd Tradition which speaks about a "loving God" who is the "ultimate authority" over matters involving A.A.

So if anyone new or old gets the wrong impression, then maybe open mindedness is not as "open" as it can be for that person.

I believe that Grace and Mercy are universal spiritual principles. I see them scattered all over the pages of the Big Book. I don't think a single "concept" of God can make an exclusive claim to those principles. I also believe that "self-sacrifice" shows up here and there in the Big Book and is viewed as a universal spiritual principle, too.

So if someone chooses to get disturbed over the way I "connect the dots" between God and Grace and Mercy and sacrifice, I just say read the words of Bill Wilson on page 14 -

"Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid. It meant destruction of self-centeredness. I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all."

- OR the advice that Bill Wilson's sponsor gave him about theology -

"Why don't you choose your own conception of God?"
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Postby anniemac » Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:31 pm

Ah, okay, I think I understand a little better, and I think it's a difference in word usage and semantics...when I think "pay a price" or "sacrifice", I think in terms of one doing something difficult and/or unpallatable - like martyrdom or something. In the example you used with the golfing, I don't view that as paying a price or sacrificing, so I guess it's just the different way we look at those words.

Thanks again for explaining!
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Postby garden variety » Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:54 pm

Well Annie,

Now I understand what you're talking about too. My use of "Grace" is in the setting of the soul that is "giving it" freely. The "sacrifice" doesn't have to be made, but it is for the Joy of the God of the giver's understanding, and to serve his or her fellows.

But on the receiving end if I receive a gift of "Grace" or Mercy, that means some "giver" somewhere already "paid the price" (for my gift) by willingly making a "free will sacrifice". I don't have to do anything to "pay for" or "earn" a "gift", so there is no sacrifice if I'm on the receiving end - and their shouldn't be, otherwise it wouldn't be a gift.

The beautiful thing I'm seeing is that "God is served" by the giving and receiving. And both the giver and reciever get a benefit. So it's even more than a "win-win" situation. It's a win-Win-win situation! That really is something to think about, huh?
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