by Reb Arie
Note from the author: I have almost 750 million sober heartbeats. I am a rabbi and clinical educator in Ottawa.
This meditation is based on the Jewish prayer said before going to bed.
There is no strong distinction in Jewish tradition between prayer, meditation, and confession. Speaking generally, prayer is the presentation of a petition to God; meditation is listening to God’s Decision; and confession has elements of both prayer and meditation. The alphabetical list in the confession here, for example, is a list of triggers, not categories: we bring to mind situations in which we have behaved this way; having done so we can dispose of it through either a 9th Step or a 10th.
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The following are the 12 Steps, a corresponding Hebrew text, and then a translation of the text.
1. We admitted we were powerless… that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore
us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of
God as we understood God.
The Logic of My Heart I forgive anyone whose despicable act against me angers me, or who has tried to oppose me or my interests. I have discerned these stressors: my body reacts, my wealth is affected, my honour is under assault, as is whatever is mine; I wonder: was my tormentor’s behaviour a compulsion, or was it wilful? A mistake? Intentional? Word? Action? Opportunistic? Planned? Directed against me here and now? Maybe it has been (or will be) directed against me in another timeline. Whatever. Whoever. Another Jew?! Punish no one (That is, punish no one – whether Jewish or not) on my behalf. As I stand in Your Presence, my dear God and God of my ancestors, I ask this: May it be Your Will that I not sin against anyone. And when I do? I offer myself to you, I subject myself to Your hoq* a and trust Your Mercies but please: I should be subject neither to torment nor malignant illness. May this be Your Will: that what I say and the logic of my heart stand firm before You, My God, my rock and in Whom I find my freedom.
* Hebrew word is distinct from "erase", which is the standard translation, but similar to "keep distance from", so by emendation "erase" seems reasonable. My thinking is different. To me it is closer to "statute", specifically an irrational imperative such as using linen and wool in the same garment. In making myself available to G!d’s Judgement without setting any condition, I am prepared to accede to any decision G!d Makes. It may be that G!d Erases but I am not prepared to set that as a condition of my relationship with either G!d or the people with whom I relate.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
My God! God of my ancestors! I have arrived to stand in Your Presence. I present our prayers, for whom am I to pray only on my behalf? I am not alone: A delegation accompanies me and together we are strong. The rigor, the anger, the speaking! Before You, our God, the God of our primordials, no one can say they are only righteous and without sin, we all have sinned.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Anger. Betrayal. Conduct Disorder. Confinement. Deceit. Evil Counsel. Fear. Guilt. Hostility. Insubordination. Insult. Leading Astray. Libel (Slander). Mendacity. Mischief. Prejudice. Rebellion. Resentment. Scoffing. Spite. Spreading Detestation. Theft. Vice. Violence. Whispering Lies.
A Blessing! You Are God. Our God. The entire Universe is Yours. I am falling: The cords which hold me awake are slack; my eyes transform from wakefulness to restful fatigue. The light which animates the pupils ‘in my eyes dims. It is my will, dear God, that I lie down in peace and anticipate rising to a good life of serenity and portion of Your Torah. May this be also Your Will as I now stand before You. A potion of Your Torah means I must habituate myself to the word, the deed, and the intangiblity of mitzva. The first step in doing this is to no longer encounter the word, the deed, and the temptation of avéra. When I commit to that I avoid all manner of transgression: My yetzer tov governs, my yetzer hara is deposed, and the satan has no accusations to make against before the Divine Magistrate, accusations which can plague me through fearful speculations, nightmares, and meditations on resentment and revenge. Let my bed lie in Your Presence and grant that my sleep not be that of death. A Blessing! You Are God. Your Are the Light of the universe. Its completion reflects Your Glory.
Deuteronomy 6:49 Israel, listen! Our G!d Is Alone! And you shall love G!d, your G!d, wholeheartedly and with the very fabric of your being. And these words? They are My Imperatives to you today: Wholeheartedly. Memorise them with your children. Speak it through them . Sometimes you will be rested in your house, other times you will be walking along the road; sometimes you will be in bed, sometimes you will be arising. You will bind your hand and centre your eye . You will write shifting letters and affix them to your doors and gates.
A perpetually moving people. My God! Our God upon us! All our many actions have long lasting consequences.
7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
A secret and supernal place: In G!d’s Shadow I will hide. I say to God: My shelter, my foundation. My God! I will trust. There are many traps set before me; I may spring any one of them and become snared but no! Suddenly talons grasp me and carry me to protection beneath Your Wings; these are both my shield ‘ and a fortress wall a; the terrors of night, the battles of the day: I may witness the downfall of myriads but I stand in the midst because You Stand behind me.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
A secret and lowly place: The father fleeing his son. Everywhere is a place of narrow confinement and no place is safe — except when I give myself to God, in spite of the murmuring masses who believe that God Has favourites. Your Shield is impersonal: It protects anyone who grasps it firmly. My voice cries for you, Dear God! I hear Your Answer! Selah. I do not fear sleep nor look over my shoulder when awake. I may be without grace but I am not without salvation.
We set ourselves to lie down in peace before the God of our understanding. When we arise? It is so that our Monarch enlivens us and brings us to goodness, peace, and a shelter spread over us to assure our welfare. Nested we are in a firm tree planted in Your presence, the good counsel which provides a norm for us. Our salvation is hastened when we meditate on Your Name. Logic defends and witnessing refines. We can let many evils prevail: Plague, war,famine. Depart! And even as the morose satan blocks our departure fore and aft, the shadow of Your Wing shelters us.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
We are blessed by God night and day, asleep and awake. God Guides our life and death, shelters our soul, animates us with the wind of life; all things become possible. Indeed, God Is the only truth. Whether in Heaven or in my life, God is the Eternal Monarch.
What happens? God Decides. What happened? God Decided. What will happen? God Will decide.
May God Bless and Protect you. May God enlighten you with Divine Grace. May God acknowledge you and grant you peace.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Behold: Israel’s guardian neither sleeps nor slumbers.
All that I hope for is bound up in my faith. My faith binds me to all that I hope for.
In God’s Name I am protected by the angelic merits of Gods Gift, God’s Strength, God’s Light and God’s Healing. And the Presence of God is about me from the top down.