Many practitioners and teachers talk about the challenges and rewards of taking their practice back home. I had a sweet experience this weekend sharing the practice in a place where I’m a native speaker – 12 step recovery programs. I was asked to be a part of a panel on the 11th step and lead the group in a guided meditation after the panel. For those who may not be aware, in 12 step programs, the 11th step begins, “sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood him.”
I have been a member of this program for many years, so it is very comfortable for me to speak at an event like this in general, but I’ve never been asked to speak about meditation at a recovery program event before, and I don’t often get to talk to a group about meditation in a spiritual context. Working in the field as a coach trainer and teaching mindfulness in public schools, it’s important to be able to maintain a secular approach in order to be inclusive and not offend those who are wary of religious overtones.
It was liberating to be able to share openly with this group about how profound this journey has been for me as a spiritual path, and to lead them in some mindfulness of body practice along with loving kindness.
I’ve often noticed that people can be quite resistant to offering themselves compassion and loving kindness. Some of the kindest people I’ve met want to go straight to focusing all their nurture positive practice on others, but traditionally the loving kindness does start with one’s self. There is an expression in recovery “you can’t transmit what you haven’t got.” I used that when introducing nurture positive and they grokked it immediately. It was just such a pleasure to “go home” so to speak, to share the practice.