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.