The 5th Step on the 11th Step Journey
Allow the Sunlight of the Spirit to Shine Within Us
By Randy F.
This next step is considered to be vital if we wish to let go of our past actions, thoughts and emotions. As we continue to work towards developing our concept of our Spiritual Garden this step continues the process of shining a light upon our garden after the Fourth Step begins to take a truthful survey of its contents.
One of the spiritual lessons within the 4th and 5th steps that we practice in meditation is detachment. We have been given mind, emotions and body, to express our SpiritSelf in thought, speech and action. Our past behavior expressed by our LowerSelf, when performed with dishonesty of mind, an insincere spirit and attachment was destructive. The key word here is “past.” We only exist in the present, now. The actions of looking honestly at our past behaviors, analyzing them to see our part in them and then sharing this with another person and God helps us to detach from our image of ourselves and our past. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. We can learn not to identify with our past as who we are today. We practice opening up the love within our heart through the process of sharing the wrongs of our past with another human being and with our Higher Power.
Step Five: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Meditation application of Step 5: We allowed the Sunlight of the Spirit to shine within to begin to heal our spiritual wounds.
Here is a Step 5 Guided Meditation - Allowing the Sunlight of the Spirit to Shine within us. It is aproximately 15 minutes in length
To download this meditation, right click on this link and "save target as" and save the file locally on your computer. It will take a few minutes to download.“This practice of admitting one’s defects to another person is, of course, very ancient. It has been validated in every century, and it characterizes the lives of all spiritually centered and truly religious people.” 12&12 pg 56
When we hold onto our resents and fears "we shut ourselves off from the Sunlight of the Spirit." Big Book pg 66
Meditation is our most effective tool in healing the root causes of our spiritual wounds. “We have been trying to get a new attitude, a new relationship with our Creator, and to discover the obstacles in our path.” (Big Book pg. 72) We are working to overcome the terrible feelings of isolation and loneliness that has plagued our lives. There always seems to be a wall or a secret that we could not climb over or understand that stood in our way to feeling at peace and a part of the rest of the world.
“This requires action on our part, which, when completed, will mean that we have admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our defects.”
But, people have asked, “How do we begin?” We can take these actions in our meditations by remembering and practicing that we are not alone and opening ourselves up to the Sunlight of the Spirit. We are all interconnected to our Higher Power as One. This connection, as we have discussed, is made through our heart centers and our SpiritSelf. Consider the expression which is often used, such as ‘having a heart-to-heart talk’ with someone. What does this mean? It means you will express yourself, as you really are, you will communicate from the center — your heart center —your SpiritSelf. If you practice this, it will transform you and those around you.
The heart is a key focal point for our spiritual development. It actually has more neuron cells and neural networks than our brain, and science is clearly demonstrating that it is the home of our intuitive intelligence and connectivity to our surrounding environment. Ancient traditions place our connection to God and to the Universe within our heart. It is the mind that leads us astray. Peace, bliss, happiness and grace are the qualities of the heart. When we tune into the ‘feelings of the heart’, “we are able to experience our natural innocence, that innocence we had as a child. This “feeling of the heart” is one of the components that we have been practicing in our meditations and should continue to practice in all aspects of our lives.
Honesty of mind leads to honest speech and honest action. This harmony leads to peace and happiness. Step Five is the beginning of a true relationships through honesty with ourselves, with others and with God.
We have to instill, and practice, honesty of mind. This allows us to become detached from our resentments, fears and past behaviors. As we practice detachment in meditation this allows us to have honesty of mind. It also involves practicing sincerity of spirit. We are over-identified with our thoughts and emotions. We imitate all the time. We want people to think that we are this rather than that, that we are nice, that we are good, that we are honest, that we are whatever ideals we seek to present to the world. It is rare to find people who sincerely and honestly are who they are. This produces a state of speaking from the heart and, in this way, the spiritual nature of a person can be conveyed to somebody else, and they can respond.
The greatest obstacles that we face in overcoming our PersonalSelf and expressing our SpiritSelf seem to be our pride and prejudices, our resentments and worries, our fears and fantasies. Jesus explains this when he indicated that it takes faith like a grain of mustard seed to remove these obstacles. For the mustard seed has a whole world of potentialities hidden within it. Next note what Jesus said concerning the spiritual kingdom in relation to all this: ''The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all (then known) seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.'' (Matt. 13:31-32)
But, the farmer has sense enough to sow or plant the seed in his field. For, with all its tremendous potential, the seed remains dormant until it is planted, and thus exposed to the warmth of the sun's rays, plus the moisture and nurturing elements in the soil. Our practice of meditation is cultivating this tremendous potential that we have within us, nurturing it and when combined with the right outside actions our SpiritSelf will grow and blossom into a beautiful Spiritual Garden.
“More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn't deserve it.”
“We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease. Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator. We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come on strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.“ Big Book pg 75
We also continue to practice the ability to forgive ourselves, and others, as we see our past in a spiritual light. While we discuss this with another person we can really understand how we can truly forgive others despite the wrongs that we think they did to us. In our 11th Step Meditation work in Step Five we work to inwardly sense and practice forgiving ourselves, receiving forgiveness and to giving forgiveness, also.
Confiding our defects to another human being is a first step towards learning to be humble. We learn more about this trait in Step Seven.
We have lacked honesty and tolerance, and we were overwhelmed at times by attacks of self-pity or delusions of personal grandeur. The inventory helps us to see how much trouble our self-delusion had been causing us. In the Hindu religion they refer to this as maya, which means “illusion” in Sanskrit. They teach that the only Reality that we can know is God and the Now and that everything else is maya, or illusion. Often our thoughts and emotions are illusions and our perspective is clouded until we learn to detach, to step back to see them from the perspective of our SpiritSelf.
“Only by discussing ourselves, holding back nothing, only by being willing to take advice and accept direction could we set foot on the road to straight thinking, solid honesty, and genuine humility. 12&12 Pg 59
Until we actually sit down and talk aloud about what we have hidden so long, our willingness to clean house is still largely theoretical. When we are honest with another person it confirms that we have been honest with ourselves and with God. What comes to us alone in our thoughts may be garbled by our own rationalization and wishful thinking.
“Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous. How many times have we heard well-intentioned people claim guidance from God when it was all too plain that they were sorely mistaken. It is worth noting that people of very high spiritual development almost always insist on checking with friends or spiritual advisers the guidance they feel they have received from God….it is likely to be far more specific than any direct guidance we may receive while we are still so inexperienced in establishing contact with a Power greater that ourselves.” 12&12 pg 60
God works through people and through our internal connection we make during meditation. We are recovering from a spiritual disease and Step Five is the process of exposing our wounds to God and to another human so that they can be examined and the healing process can begin. The dammed-up emotions of years break out of their confinement, and miraculously vanish as soon as they are exposed. And when humility and serenity are combined, something else of great moment is apt to occur: actually feeling the presence of God.
This feeling of being at one with God, and man, this emerging from isolation through the open and honest sharing of our terrible burden of guilt, brings us to a resting place where we may prepare ourselves for the following action steps toward a full and meaningful sobriety.
In our Step Five meditation we will use the healing qualities of light to shine on our spiritual wounds. As we've discussed on other steps, as we think and visualize so we are. We will be able to begin active healing of our spirit as we open up the truth about our past and the emotions that we are holding on to with our Higher Power in meditation.
Step 5 Sunlight of the Spirit Meditation
Here is a guided meditation for you to use. Repeat each affirmation in rhythm with your breath over and over as you progress through the meditation.
1. Relaxation, Centering and Aligning with our Higher Power - Begin with a few minutes to relax, get quiet, listen to your breath and let go of the day " Begin the meditation by getting comfortable and listening to our breath. Feel the clean light-filled air on the inhale filling your lungs and body with goodness and love. Exhale deeply and visualize all sickness and negativity leaving your lungs and body with the breath.
Use the following affirmations that align with the first 3 steps to help begin the meditation:
- Step 1 - "I relax and I let go" Repeat this phrase in rhythm with your breathing
- Step 2 - "I let go and I let God (or you may use the word "love") Begin focusing on your heart center. Imagine a white light glowing in your chest that is warm and full of love.
- Step 3 - "I offer myself to my Higher Power." Become aware of how this surrender affirmation feels and what images you can use to support this affirmation.
2. Let's begin our Step 4 segment. I suggest that you select 1 resentment or fear to reflect on in each meditation. Hold in your mind the resentment or fear that you wish to share with your Higher Power in the Sunlight of the Spirit.
- Visualize yourself surrounded by a cloud of bright white light and is moving around and through you. This is the light of the Sunlight of the Spirit and is soothing and healing.
- Does the resentment or fear affect our "self-esteem, our security, our ambitions, our personal, or sex relations?"
- Detach from "the wrongs others had done," Strive to realize any emotions that we associate with this resentment.
- Next consider "where had we been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened?" Strive to become aware of any emotions that we associate with our actions in our part of this resentment.
- What is the motivation for my spiritual defect?. What am I afraid of in this situation? Strive to become aware of any emotions that we associate with our motivation in our part of this resentment.
3. Now let's admit, share and give this resentment or fear to our Higher Power. Imagine that it is leaving you, the energy of these emotions are evaporating away from you by the Sunlight of the Spirit. Spend a few minutes here.
- What is one of your Spiritual qualities that you can ask your Higher Power assistance to increase in order to prevent this spiritual wound in the future?
4. Take one of these qualities and insert it into this affirmation
- "I am the <insert quality> of my Higher Power in action."
Repeat this as you imagine this asset increasing growing within you.
5. Take a few minutes to surround the person or fear that is affecting you. Surround them in a healing cloud of light knowing that they are spiritually sick as we are.
Focus on this intention: The light of our Higher Power surrounds you. The love of our Higher Power enfolds you.
6. Slowly bring your awareness back into the room and your body. End your meditation slowly and sit quietly for a few minutes to absorb the experience.
In this way we admit our faults to our Higher Power and shine the Sunlight of the Spirit on our spiritual wounds to heal them. You may practice this meditation as you work through your most powerful resenments and fears and then apply it as needed in a 10th Step.