12 October 2007

Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you

As predicted, I went to a meeting tonight with my new pigeon, Overseer. That's actually the name of the position of responsibility he has at the rehab he's in—Overseer. I was taken aback when he casually mentioned this to me on the way to the meeting. He's black, and to me this term has strong slavery connotations. I was more than taken aback; I was stunned. I said so, and he agreed, but then used the term again in a completely un-self-conscious way. So that's what his nom de blog is going to be.

We stood in the parking lot for a few minutes talking about where he is in recovery and what's going on. He clearly doesn't know how to be still and likes to talk too much. At least he knows this about himself. And was able to sit in the meeting and just listen, at my mild suggestion.

Somehow in the parking lot we wound up on the subject of prayer. I talked to him about my experience praying for people toward whom I have resentments. I told him how it took over a year of praying to heal my resentments over people like my ex-wife, Bitter Cookie; Idlerich, the boyfriend she left me for and Deadbeat, Nimue's ex-husband (can you tell I'm not 100% over them?). I told him how important it was to continue even when we don't feel like praying at all, that's it important to just mouth the words if that's all we can do. Then we went in to the meeting.

It was a Big Book discussion meeting. And, of all things, we read the story "Bondage of Self." It's amazing that it was a story from beyond the first 164 pages to begin with; around here the stories are only rarely read in meetings. But that is was this story? Wow!

For those of you not familiar with this particular story, here's a excerpt that will show its relevance:
If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don't really want it for them and your prayers are only words and you don't mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks, and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love.
Well, as I always say when we read this story, the author must have been a spiritual giant if she got that kind of result in just two weeks (the particular resentment she had was one of 25 years against her mother). But it can still work for the rest of us; it just takes a little longer.

Good discussion after the reading too. I think maybe I'll go back.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

This is something that has helped me so much. The more compassion and love I am able to feel for people who have hurt me, the better I feel myself.

Kathy Lynne said...

I am in the process of learning this now. I really like my Big Book and Step groups. Seems to me that's what its all about.

Why pigeons? I don't like that.