Voices of Recovery today puts an almost empirical importance on the daily practice of meditation.  I am reminded of an Eleventh Step retreat I attended at a monastery this past year, where I found that a great many of those paid, registered, even returning guests had a very simple but profound question, “What exactly IS meditation?”  My earliest understanding of the word still proves the best for me: it is a quiet reflection.  Through my recent associations, I have learned a lot about how better to accomplish this quieting, and I continue to learn helpful practices to add.  But often, meditation is less organized and more a simple being still and listening for God to speak to me.  Sometimes the quiet itself is enough to make me feel nearer to Him.  Other times clearing the clutter from my mind allows for a fresh perspective on an old thought or a revelation of a new one.  It is, for me, a celebration of the connection of my finite moment with His infinite eternity – an occasion for God’s greatness to wash over me and make me clean again.  “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

Proverbs 14:8 also promotes this idea of quiet reflection, “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.”  This verse, combined with my distaste for being deceived, makes me take a second look at the word “folly.”  I normally equate folly with foolishness, which circles around to mean the identifying characteristic of a fool (sort of defining the word with the use of the word).  Since I so often relate the description of the fool to my own defects, I owe it to myself to reflect on what folly really is, according to my guide to wisdom, the Proverbs of God through Solomon.  The Proverbs repeatedly demonstrate a contrast between wisdom and folly, so one might consider the polar opposite of one to be the other.  Many of the Proverbs make the same distinction between integrity and duplicity, the focused and the wayward, the purposeful and the random, the attentive and the hap-hazard, or more directly the one dedicated to following instruction and the one dedicated to pleasing himself.  So folly is not just silly, funny, or entertaining acts, but it is a lack of regard for the purpose for which I was created.  It is using a delicate precious family heirloom as a juggling article.  Folly is the misplacement of priority of what I want over what He wants.  The Emperor of the Universe gives me His royal carriage to attend a festival, but in the middle of the procession, I turn away and crash through the forest, risking harm to His assets to chase after a fluffy white bunny just because I saw one.  This misuse of God’s resource in the pursuit of my own cravings and distractions is folly, and it is the pattern I have followed throughout my disease.  I want to stay on the path, focused, purposeful, discerning the way and loyally following it, undivided, and dedicated to bring glory to my Father, the Emperor of the Universe.  God, equip me to do so, that I may never bring shame upon Your Name or that of Your Son.

In 1 Samuel 11, a nation rose up against the City of Jabesh Gileaed and threatened to enslave its occupants and cut out each of their right eyes.  “When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came upon him, and he burned with anger.” (verse 6)  He rallied Israel to rescue Jabesh and slaughtered and scattered the Ammonites.  At this, the people of Israel commenced to confirm Saul as their king and offered to execute anyone who had opposed his coronation.  My favorite part is Saul’s humble reverence for God in verse 13, “But Saul said, ‘No one shall be put to death today, for this day the LORD has rescued Israel.”  God, no matter how my enemies fall or how overwhelming my defects appear, may I always credit You for my deliverance.

We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only.

  …As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions.”  (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 87-88)

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