The Only Requirement for Membership Is the Desire to Stop Thinking

30 Jul

I’ve been reading a great deal about meditation lately. It’s a key component of the 11th step in AA: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” I have several friends who swear by meditation and make it an integral part of their day. I’ve always thought that I was unable to meditate because I couldn’t sit still for more than five seconds. I’m currently reading a book called “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Perhaps up until now, I haven’t been ready to meditate. Kabat-Zinn says:

You certainly have to be ready for meditation. You have to come to it at the
right time in your life, at a point where you are ready to listen carefully to your
own voice, to your own heart, to your own breathing — to just be present for
them and with them, without having to go anywhere or make anything better
or different. This is hard work.

Kabat-Zinn defines meditation as the “process by which we go about deepening our attention and awareness, refining them, and putting them to great practical use in our lives.” He describes mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgementally” and as as the “art of conscious living.”

So I’m trying to deepen my awareness and to pay attention in the present moment. It is hard work. But little by little, I am increasing the length of time I can sit still and just BE. Just be with me and not let my mind wander and go down the long list of things I think I should be doing. I try this in yoga too, when the instructor says to acknowledge and then let go of any thoughts that come into my mind. But we live in a society where we are expected to always be doing something, otherwise we are considered lazy. It’s hard to just sit and be. Yet it’s often exactly what we need.

Without taking the time to breath and be still and quiet my mind, I can continue to run around in circles like a raving lunatic. In today’s world, we barely have enough time in a day to do all that is expected of us. How are we supposed to just sit and meditate? We just have to make the time, because when we get ourselves into a good peaceful frame of mind, the rest of life falls into place.

Ordinary men hate solitude. But the Master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.” Lao-Tzu, Tao-te-Ching

6 Responses to “The Only Requirement for Membership Is the Desire to Stop Thinking”

  1. Bob Hisel July 30, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

    I will be 75 this fall, am fully retired and am financially solvent. So why do I feel guilty when I take a morning or even(God forbid) a whole day off to read, garden and take a nap and go to NO MEETINGS? Same problem you have and it doesn’t go away without work. Like you suggest, I must tell myself that meditation time is both useful and worthwhile and my time alone is valuable. Thanks for the excellent Blog to remind me to continue to work on that important part of my journey………………………Bob Hisel

  2. earth-school July 30, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

    I hated it. hehehehe…………🙏

    Sent from my iPad


    • jj July 30, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

      Love it!!!!!! On my wave length my friend!! Keep up the good work!

  3. Tracy Dunn July 30, 2015 at 10:48 pm #

    I love this! I need to put your words into practice! Can you do coffee or tea next week?? Xoxox. Come over! I’ll send an email to you and michelle and maybe a few others. You rock !

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Mimi Laughlin July 31, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    I read the Zabat Zin book recently, and although I have not followed it step by step, I find the little I remember and follow helps me. Just making the time to be alone and be “mindful” is so difficult! It takes enormous discipline!

    I always find your posts of interests, Martha.

  5. Christy August 1, 2015 at 11:05 pm #

    Love this entry AG. You are right about having to be ready for meditation. I am one of the lucky ones that was taught how important mindfulness was very early in my recovery. I learned to be still with my mind and let thoughts “float in and float out” without passing any kind of judgement on them. I also think meditating while out in nature is a most helpful practice. Being in nature is being closest to God. I feel my mind quieting and my breathing slows as I become aware of sounds, smells, touch. If I get real quiet I hear…”Be still and know I am God” Good job on slowing down your lists in your mind AG. It works better and better the more practice we commit to it!

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