In Steps 4 through 7 we do our best to take an honest look at ourselves, reflect on and admit the exact nature of our wrongs, become entirely ready to let go of our defects of character, and then ask our higher power to remove them.
When we’re working these steps, we naturally take an active role — which involves engagement with our thoughts and self-reflection. With a regular practice of centering prayer, we learn to develop a passive, non-attached perspective on our thoughts and the unconscious memories of experiences and emotions that helped to form our defects of character (as well as the rest of our psyche).
As we practice centering prayer, these memories are released from our subconscious and brought to our awareness, individually or in garbled bunches, so that they can be let go of. This process, which is tremendously healing (and can also, at times, be uncomfortable and difficult), is called the “unloading of the unconscious.” It’s a form of divine therapy in which our Higher Power, with our consent through the regular practice of centering prayer, works Steps 4-7 inside of us.
On January 14, I’ll talk about the unloading of the unconscious and share how this ongoing process has impacted, and continues to support, my recovery.
Through the practice of prayer and meditation, we’re able to consciously enter into an ever-deepening relationship with our higher power. As my time in recovery (and in the practice of centering prayer) has lengthened and my relationship with my higher power has deepened, I have come to appreciate the wisdom and challenge of the second half of Step 11 "... praying only for knowledge of [God's] will for us and the power to carry that out."
On Saturday, April 9, I will be sharing some of my experience as it relates to Step 11, and I hope you can join us.
As my experience continues to teach me, "Came to believe that a power greater ourselves could restore us to sanity" is not a one-time experience that I was graced with when I worked Step 2 “correctly” early on in my recovery.
As my relationship with my higher power had deepened over time, I’ve also become more aware of motivations and actions based on the values and needs of my false self. And that awareness has prompted an ever more urgent need to depend on my higher power for a "restoration to sanity."
Step 2 presents a continuing opportunity for me to remember my need for Grace.
On November 14 I’ll share some of my experience with "coming to believe" early on, as well as how actively working Step 2, in conjunction with centering prayer, has helped me to face fear and anxiety. I’ll talk, too, about how this Step has enriched my relationship with my higher power and with others.