86-88: Moving Beyond Conceptually Meditating

By Matt Martinez 2018 06/11/18
My purpose is to be of maximum service.

Often times I wake up to an internal argument. The argument is in my head. It begins as soon as I become conscious. I never realized I did this until I started to read pages 86-88 in the Big Book. I can't even tell you how long it went on. All I can tell you is it stops once I read those pages.

Some days, I don't read those pages. I'll be fine for a little bit. When I went on vacation, I thought, "I don't need to meditate, I'm on vacation. Everything is peachy." I was dead wrong. I got a burger and someone sat on a bench outside the stand and took up all the spots on their bike. For some reason, that set me off. I thought that person should not have done that. It didn't matter that I found plenty of seating around the building once I got my food. I judged that person as inconsiderate.

It's times like that when I need a redo to the start of the day. Redo's can happen at any time. In a way, it's like eating breakfast. I can have breakfast tacos any time of the day. Reading 86-88 is no different. I need to start my day right, otherwise, I'm a ticking time bomb. Sometimes I'll go the whole day without reading those pages. I will exhaust myself trying to win hypothetical arguments. I'll even think, "Why am I doing this to myself?" Then I'll realize, I need a redo. I need to read those pages. I'll feel right as rain when I do that.

Something about those pages gets me out of self. It makes me think about someone other than me. It focuses my direction for that day. I need to be of service to others, and live within my higher power's will. I focus on what I'm meant to do that day. If I'm scheduled for work, I go to work. If I'm off, I take care of myself. Always, I need to be of service. That's my purpose now. The world doesn't revolve around me. There are other people. It doesn't mean I hand out a dollar to everyone who asks. It means I'm there for another person.

Since I started reading these pages, I find myself saying to people, "How can I support you?" At first, I thought they would bum possessions off me, like change or food. It turned out, people started to come to me for existential dilemmas. They asked me for real advice, or where to get help. I became a better friend, a better family member, and a better boss. It also gave me purpose. When I drank, I often wondered what my purpose was. Now I know: it's to be of maximum service to others.

Most of the time, I find my higher power puts me in a position to help others. Reading those pages helps me to prepare for those opportunities. I do this by searching for new meaning every time I read those pages. It has shown me the self-pity I have. I have learned that I have self-seeking motives. I also try to arrange the world around me to suit my needs. These thoughts and actions used to exhaust me. I burnt myself out. Now that I try not to do these things, I have unbounded energy. I used to sleep ten hours a day. Now I've cut that down to six.

I used to conceptually meditate. I would listen to people who meditated on a regular basis. I thought, as a concept, that sounded useful. It sounded very spiritual. In reality, I struggled to pray or meditate consistently. This gave me mixed results in life. Most people have a morning ritual that involves drinking coffee or eating breakfast. This nourishes the body and starts the day off right. For me, I also need to nourish the mind and spirit to get them going. Reading 86-88 does that. If you don't believe me, read those pages. It's all there. Try it.

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