This step is one of the most powerful spiritual steps that we get to walk through in our recovery. We will want to have a good foundation built from learning and experiencing the spiritual principles in the previous eight steps as we begin this process of cleansing our Spiritual Gardens through meditation and healing our relationships with others. Our Spiritual Gardens are the accumulation of positive and negative energy as a result of our thoughts, emotions and actions.
There are a number of spiritual qualities expressed in the actions of this step, good judgment, harmlessness, strength, but most of all love. Just as one of our Higher Power’s qualities is love and expresses love for us, it is now time to demonstrate our love for all of the aspects of our lives, both past and present. Ultimately our spiritual goal is recovery from our addictions and our old behaviors and learning to express our SpiritSelf. Yes, it will help as we slowly begin the process repairing our relationships with others, to pay off our debts and to create right relationships, but this Step is vital for us to release the immense amount of guilt that we feel and to clean out the disease within our Spiritual Gardens from our past actions.
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Meditation Aspect of Step Nine: Heal the spiritual wounds of my relationships during in meditation, sowing the ground for outer direct amends where possible and to remotely connect with and heal those I cannot make in person.
The previous Eight Steps taught us to identify and express our SpiritSelf, our true spiritual nature; that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. We are stepping towards our SpiritSelf through awareness and the practice of "honesty of mind, sincerity of spirit and detachment." We have learned how we are very literally interrelated with each other and with all life, and that the next step forward for humanity — right human relations — can be achieved through harmlessness and service.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous provides us with simple and very practical advice on how to walk through the actions of Step Nine. It is a good idea to talk over your strategy for making amends with another alcoholic. We want to demonstrate good judgment and good timing in this step and another person’s perspective will be valuable to us as we begin to accept the consequences for our past and to take responsibility to express our love toward others.
While we work through the outer actions of our amends we can actively begin working this step in our daily meditations. In meditation we are not limited to making those amends which are convenient, safe or may otherwise cause more harm if done in person. Remember that our thoughts are actions and these thoughts when focused and energized may be transmitted with positive effect remotely in prayer and meditation.
“It may be he has done us more harm than we have done him and, though we may have acquired a better attitude toward him, we are still not too keen about admitting our faults. Nevertheless, with a person we dislike, we take the bit in our teeth. It is harder to go to an enemy than to a friend, but we find it much more beneficial to us. We go to him in a helpful and forgiving spirit, confessing our former ill feeling and expressing our regret. .” ( BB pg 77-78)
“Although these reparations take innumerable forms, there are some general principles which we find guiding. Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing no matter what the personal consequences may be. We may lose our position or reputation or face jail, but we are willing. We have to be. We must not shrink at anything.” (BB pg 79)
“So we clean house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love.
“The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it.” (BB pg 83)
Each time meditate we are living the spiritual life, actively working the first three steps and then applying these actions to the step at hand. Once we have our list of amends to make we can practice and initiated the amends in our meditation as a true spiritual experience. This lays the groundwork, provides us a safe place to practice the feelings and mental approach of our amend which we may make later in person.
We are changing the balance of our energy bank account from a negative deficit to positive asset balance. The natural law of cause and effect, or karma and the Christian metaphor or reaping what we sow express this Universal Truth.
Similarly, there are patterns in nature that we need to be aware of. Spiritual bankruptcy creates the suffering of disease in the world. We are the mind, spirit and body. If the physical body is starved it weakens and becomes sick; if the spiritual body is starved a person fades and dies; if the mental body is starved a person loses his direction in life.
This balance in mind, spirit and body is tipped over the edge by the negative actions, emotional and mental energy. One of our chief causes of our spiritual crisis is complacency. We have not been willing to work for our spiritual growth. This "not caring" or settling for "good enough" is one of our spiritual obstacles. Complacency is an inside attitude or perception that can be summed up as: I’m ok, I don’t need to change.
When people move into this attitude of complacency, they are essentially cut off from their SpiritSelf and fall into a rut, the same old thing day in and day out. We sometimes fall into this rut after we overcome the initial trauma of getting sober and maybe working through the steps with our sponsor the first time. Things are good enough and I don;t have to continue deepening my spiritual connection. Life is movement, but complacent people are, in effect, not moving toward the Sunlight of the Spirit.
The practice of meditation allows our inner true self, our SpiritSelf, to help nudge us along. As we meditate we tap into this Universal desire to evolve spiritually, to move closer to our higher power and to help become better people.
In our meditations with Step Nine, and we commence to do the inner work through our meditation practices and through the outer work of working the Steps. Our Spiritual Gardens are beginning to get more attractive and flourish. We have worked to eliminate the wrong emotions, thoughts and actions that have cluttered it form our past. As we do this we begin to see what life can be like in sobriety. In Alcoholics Anonymous we call these the promises and the Big Book describes these wonderfully. Meditation helps to quicken and deepen the realization of these promises.
“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us — sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.” (BB pg 83-84)
In the ninth step we are given the opportunity to practice who we really are – of coming into Self-awareness, our SpiritSelf. Spiritual teachers say the first step to Self-awareness (which leads to Self-realization or Spiritual Awakening) is self-worth and self-respect. So as we learn to create right relationships by cleansing our previous relationships, learning to stay employed and to be a good employee, to do the inner work of lessening our character defects, and begin to have a conscious contact with our Higher power, our lives improve. This leads to Self-realization, the goal of humanity.
It is inside you; your SpiritSelf, it is your sense of the divine inside that gradually changes you from lying, cheating, and stealing to not doing these things. Not because somebody is telling you that it is bad, but because you instinctively know that that is not the right way to live with your fellow human beings.
Before we began our road to sobriety we were suffering from spiritual starvation, from extreme Self-alienation. Life had become purposeless and people want to bring their lives to an end, and so they commit slow suicide via drugs and alcohol. Life had no meaning We are now working towards learning and practicing a new meaning and way of life.To accomplish this it is necessary for us to experience ourselves differently, to experience a sense of our own worth. Once that happens, we can grow in Self-awareness as Spiritual Beings.
In meditation we can reach out and initiate healing activity. We can spiritually touch and heal those whom we have harmed in past. We can do this with everyone on our list without harming them. This is a form of remote healing that scientists are understanding more deeply every day. It is proven to be more effective when praying and meditating for healing to send general intentions versus asking for a specific type of healing action. The Creative Intelligence of the Spirit of the Universe knows just what is needed as long we initiate the healing with the positive and sincere intention.
My favorite series of healing intentions is the Prayer of Protection. This was written by James Dillet Freeman, often called "a modern day Ralph Waldo Emerson." This prayer was written by Freeman for all soldiers during World War II. It is as powerful today as it was then. His 1941 Prayer for Protection was taken aboard the Apollo 11 in July 1969 by Lunar Module pilot Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr.. Aldrin had the poem with him when he made his historic moonwalk!
Prayer for Protection
The Light of God surrounds Us
The Love of God enfolds Us
The Power of God protects Us
and the Presence of God watches over Us
Where ever we are God is! And all is well!
I use each line as a series of intentions. You may visualize the person, or people you wish to remotely make amends to, surround them with the Sunlight of the Spirit. Then use each line as an affirmation imagining the you are touching these people with the energy of each intention to help heal them and your relationship in whatever way is needed.
SpiritStep Nine Meditation Outline
There are several techniques that can enhance your meditation experience. One of them involves adding a specific breathing technique that has been studied by ancient Masters on the art of expressing their SpiritSelf. It involves a balancing of the breathing and the holding of the breath for four counts at a certain point. In that moment of holding the breath, we become temporarily, but immediately, self-aware. And in that second, God can intervene, as it were, to stimulate the point reached. It is a moment where you are completely in the “now,” you are quiet, not worried about the past or future, where God can slip in through the crack within our LowerSelf and begin to work his will within us.
inhale…. hold four counts…. Exhale…. hold four counts….
1. Relaxation, Centering and Aligning with our Higher Power
- Let’s begin our meditation as before 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.
- I relax and I let go. Repeat this phrase in rhythm with your breathing. You may do the physical body scan by tightening the different parts of your body and the relaxing them. Do this until you begin to become unaware of your surroundings.
- I let go and I let God. Continue your path towards relaxation by using this mantra as you breath. Concentrate on the words and imagine all of the day-to-day stuff that you can let go of and turn over to God. Begin focusing on your heart center. Imagine a white light glowing in your chest that is warm and full of love. Remember that this heart center is your connection to God and to the Universe and all of the good is available to you.
2. Aligning our bodies with our SpiritSelf and with your Higher Power’s will
- I offer myself to my Higher Power.
Imagine that that your are offering your body, emotions that thoughts as an instrument to help others in your life.
- Do with me and build with my as you will
Try to lift up your emotions from those of your PersonalSelf of fear and resentment to love and empathy with others. Practice being the love that you are and feel this love motivate you to help others.
- I am now relieved of the bondage of self.
Strive to point your thoughts to positive loving images and patterns. Our thoughts become our lives. Here we practice programming healthy thought patterns.
3. I am a Spiritual Being, One with my Higher Power. Imagine being free of all that is weighing you down emotionally, mentally and physically. One with God, in your heart center, rest in this conscious contact with God. We are not our past. We can detach ourselves from those actions and begin fresh today.
4. Now visualize the person(s) you wish to make an amends to. surround them with the Sunlight of the Spirit. Then use each line as an affirmation imagining the you are touching these people with the energy of each intention to help heal them and your relationship in whatever way is needed.
- The Light of God surrounds Us
- The Love of God enfolds Us
- The Power of God protects Us
- The Presence of God watches over Us
- Where ever we are God is! And all is well!
5. You may continue to repeat this affirmation over and over to deepen the healing intention. Or, you may apply this amend "treatment" to a series of people in one meditation.