For those of us who have not only been able to make it through a traumatic life event, but have actually been able to grow from the experience, we often think…What Now?
As I think back to several of those experiences, I realize that family and friends were an important part of my recovery. But the issue that had the most dramatic effect on me was the change in relationship with the God of my understanding. When it came to getting me through some of those days where I didn’t want to show up and participate, I asked for the help I needed to just to get through the day. I felt that tomorrow would be another day and I’d deal with it then.
Once I was able to get past the “poor, poor me” stage (which was a very important stage to go through), I was able to begin cultivating a different relationship with God. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had passed through the emotional healing piece and was entering the spiritual healing phase.
I liked this part…the spiritual healing piece. I could feel a huge difference in my attitude and how I carried myself though the day if I prayed in the morning (which was basically talking to God). I would acknowledge my love for Him, ask Him to help me with my thoughts and actions and to help me be of assistance to others. In the evening, I would get on my knees (something I began while in rehab) and thank Him for helping me get through another day and I would acknowledge those who were less fortunate than me and ask God to help them, too.
That’s all I did for a while and I really felt a difference. As I’ve heard it said, those things helped put more “gratitude in my attitude” as I went about my day.
As time went on, I felt the need to commit more to my “practices,” i.e., those things I was doing that helped me to stay balanced as I went through my day. However, commitment didn’t necessarily mean more.
For example, I was reminded of a period during my early sobriety when I was only able to see my children on Sundays between 10am and 8pm. I felt cheated and angry that my time with them was so limited. But my sponsor reminded me that the amount of time I had with them wasn’t as important as the quality of the time we spent together.
As with many things in life, if you do them every day they sometimes take on less meaning in our life. We are on autopilot; doing them out of habit, without the same feelings and intensity we felt when we started.
Yes, even prayer can become automatic if I allow myself to become unfocused while doing it. So, at first, commitment meant not rushing through my prayers so that I could move on to do the next thing. Prayer…talking to God…was not an item on my “to do” list. It became a significant piece of my life, and I needed to recommit and be present while being in the presence of God.
As with any relationship you have in life, once you decide you want to deepen it, you need to invest time and energy on the connection.
It occurs to me that prayer may have a negative connotation for those of us who have recovered from trauma or addiction, and even for those of us who didn’t experience those things, but who still would like to improve their relationship with God.
During our life’s journey, we may have been told that praying is something done by those who are weak, or that there is no God or, worse yet, for some of us, prayer is the very thing that the very person who had hurt us did all the time.
Each relationship with God is unique. It is ours; no one can improve it but us. Which means no one can tell us it doesn’t exist. Religions can tell us how to pray, when to pray, etc., but I am talking about spirituality here, not religion. Religion works. There are thousands and thousands of saints and sages who have become God Realized by following the path of their religion. I have met and witnessed some of them.
Keeping prayer simple is just a matter of you talking/communicating with God. That’s it. Yes, traditional prayer works, but so do our own private prayers.
Remember, we are talking about improving our conscious contact with God. Try to recall what you would do to thank someone for helping you, or what you do to express your love for someone. But what if that person isn’t nearby or you can’t communicate by phone? How else would you express your love or gratitude; maybe by writing a note or a letter?
Imagine writing a love letter to God thanking your beloved Mother and Father for all you have. This, too, is prayer. Imagine writing a love poem to God…a song, creating a dance, etc. I am sure there are other ways that you can communicate with God and I’d love to hear about them from you. In fact, with everything you do in life, you can simply think of God first and say “I do this for the highest good of all involved.”
Prayer works. It fills the hole that we may sometime feel in our lives. And who is it that we are acknowledging? We are acknowledging and allowing the Light to fill us from within and shine outward…a Light that has always been there, just waiting for us to turn it on. Prayer is one of the switches.
The original article appeared at www.selfgrowth.com