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Guided Meditation – Step 3 & The 3rd Noble Truth
Step 3 of Alcoholics Anonymous
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of “God” as we understood “him”.
Buddhism Step 3: The 3rd Noble Truth
The cessation of suffering.
Let’s begin by adjusting ourselves so that we are in a comfortable position. Imagine a red string attached to your pelvic bones, drawing up through the spine, neck, and head, exiting at the top of the head, and connecting you to the ceiling. This thread keeps your body comfortably erect, not stressing joints or muscles, simply holding you in the posture most beneficial to your meditation. Your seat is grounded into your chair, legs strong and relaxed grounding into the feet which connect to the floor, the earth.
Now that we have focused our awareness on preparing our bodies for meditation we begin to direct awareness to the breath. We don’t change or alter the breath in any way, we simple pay attention to it. We notice the breath coming in at the upper lip and the edges of our nostrils, cool on the inhale, we feel it fill our chest and abdomen, we notice the slight pause before the body naturally begins the exhale. Now we notice the abdomen flattening, the chest becoming less swollen with air, the throat guiding air up in to the nasal cavity and as the breath exits the body we notice the sensation of warmth on the edges of the nostrils and upper lip. We will remain here for several breaths, noticing, naming internally the phases of the breath, not forcing or altering.
Begin by considering the similarities between the 3rd Step of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 3rd Noble truth.
In Step 3 we make a conscious decision to change the direction of our lives by giving up control. Until this point we had been the director of our lives. We decided what we did, who we associated with, where we worked, and a myriad of other things. Our self-will was the driving force in our lives.
Yet, our self- will did nothing to insure manageability of our lives. In fact we have realized and surrendered to the unmanageability of our condition. Our self-will had run riot. We were out of control because it had gotten out of control. We believed that we were directing our will toward the care of our lives, our selves, but instead we had given up control and allowed our self-will to take over.
This negative surrender and unhealthy letting go of our control has resulted in progression of our addictions, has caused wreckage, has brought us to our knees.
We have surrendered to these facts, that we are powerless and out of control, that we were unable to fix ourselves, instead something more powerful than our will needs to intervene on our behalf. Something needs to set us on the right course toward healing and health.
Here we begin to struggle. We desperately want our suffering to end but we struggle against the idea of a power greater than ourselves. We believed we were in control until we were painfully shown the opposite, reality. We may feel that we cannot trust this power greater than us to be a god, a being, magica, mystical, or otherworldly. After all, whatever we believed was in control of this universe before had failed to get us sober, had disappointed us, and abandoned us. We were unable to trust that there was something bigger than our will, we believed that perhaps we just had no discipline.
In the 3rd Noble Truth the Buddha shows us that suffering will end. The 3rd Step of Alcoholics Anonymous shows us how this will happen. However, we must make a decision. This is a turning point. We have to be open, honest, and most importantly willing, to see a power greater than ourselves.
Seeing a power greater than ourselves, a god of our understanding, at work in our lives may come easily or it may be quite difficult. Regardless, bring to mind a recent coincidence or a situation that worked out in your life. Consider the pieces of that situation. Trace this event back to its root and then follow it all the way to its completion.
What did you want to have happen?
What did you do to direct the situation for the outcome you desired?
Did you force your will on the situation?
Did you feel in control or out of control?
Did things turn out the way you had hoped?
Was the outcome better or worse than expected?
Look at the path the situation took. Connecting the dots between the parts of what happened, can you see the connections between things?
Where those connections of your creation?
Or were you merely in the right place at the right time?
Introduced to someone out of the blue who made a positive difference in the situation?
What happened that was out of the ordinary that changed the course of the situation.
When we have these experience and don’t know how the will end up, we tend to plan or picture things going a certain way. Because we’re human beings living a spiritual experience, they almost never work out the way we planned. Instead things beyond our control align and bring people, places, and things into our life that affect the situation. Sometimes we think these things work out well and sometimes we do not, however, they always end up the way they do because there is a power greater than ourselves at work.
Think of all the times things of this nature happened to you. Begin to see how you did not control as much as you may have wanted to, or thought you did. Regardless of whether we acknowledge a power greater than ourselves that power is always at work in the universe. In our lives and in the lives of every sentient being.
We may choose to call that power God, Allah, Jesus, Buddha, or the name of any other religious figure we have belief in, however, we each have a higher power that is a guiding force in our lives. The 3rd Step and 3rd Noble Truth invite us to let go ouf our will, take our hands off the wheel, acknowledge this power, and begin to connect more regularly with it. This is the the way suffering ceases.
Now let’s let the work we have done settle in our bodies by practicing Buddha’s four part breath. Breathe in long and breathe out naturally for ten breaths. Breathe in naturally and breathe out long for ten breaths. Breathe in short and breathe out naturally for ten breaths. Breathe in naturally and breathe out short for ten breaths.
Now let’s bring awareness back to our bodies by wiggling the toes, gently moving the feet, legs, shifting in our seat, torso, back, arms, neck, and heads. Gently, open your eyes when you are ready.
About the author:
Pia Kiri-yo Donovan, better known as InkyMama, is a tattooed, Buddhist meditation teacher, author, and speaker with over twenty years experience studying Buddhism and teaching meditation. Her meditations and creative non-fiction pieces focus on addiction recovery on the path of enlightenment. She is currently working on a forthcoming collection of meditations on the 12 Steps, the 4 Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path.
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