I am reading the book “Drop the Rock” as my prompt for writing and working Steps 6 & 7. On pages 26 and 27, they talk about the concept of Reflection as the final piece in the triad of Prayer, Meditation, and Reflection:
Prayer is seeing answers and direction in life. Meditation is listening for answers from a Higher Power [HP] and developing the ability within ourselves to accept the answers. Reflection is the study of ways to turn the answers we get from prayer and meditation into action.
I don’t remember ever seeing that before, but it is a profound and vital piece of the puzzle for me to stay on the path of recovery. I consider prayer as asking my HP for help and meditation as listening for the answers. But too many times, my “brainstorm” in that quiet turns out to be nothing more than self-will run riot. It has truly been by learning new skills in DA, such as waiting 24 hours before making major purchases or having a PRG before allocating extra money, that I can begin to understand the concept of reflection.
So many times, what I think of as a vision is really just a way for my disease to act out. How many times, I heard what I thought was my HP telling me to start a new career or business, but what really was happening was my disease looking for ways to spend money I didn’t have on dead-end ideas that wouldn’t earn me money in the long run. For instance, for six months, I yearned to become a harp therapist. I obsessed, took a few lessons, read books, etc. I felt called to this as a career. It was a six month process, due (thankfully) to my willingness to wait for a PRG and the availability (so I thought) of funds.
In the end, I finally came to see that I would not be able to engage in this activity even if I went through the schooling because of my disability. But even more than that, the truth was that few people, if any, earn a living at this profession. It is more a service than a business. It would have been yet another expensive hobby. As a service, it is lovely. But I didn’t have the funds to spend on this without any realistic idea of recouping it. And my illness precluded my doing it in a manner that could have possibly helped me do so.
Waiting forces reflection when it is coupled with open discussion with others in recovery and in a PRG. I suffer with an affliction called “instant gratification.” It is coupled with my disease of compulsive spending, one symptom of which is a hole burned in my pocket when I have accumulated money.
Prayer, Meditation, and Reflection are the true recovery path of this program, not just acting on willfulness. Despite years of recovery, I still need help discerning my will from my HP’s nearly all the time (Reflection). That is ok. It’s my willingness to use whatever tool works to help me move forward on my recovery path.
I have never seen reflection discussed as such a vital component of our program, but it truly is. I do get answers in meditation. But unless I pass them through the filter of my program, by writing, talking with others, and waiting, I cannot get to the truth of whether the answer is my HP or my disease.
So after you ask for answers in prayer and sit in meditation to hear an answer (especially on issues involving spending), you can follow up with reflection by doing the following:
- Talk to your sponsor about your answer
- Talk to your network about your answer (and make a concerted effort not to only talk to people you are sure will agree with you)
- Wait at least 24 hours (preferably 48), no matter how much urgency you feel (e.g., the sale ends today)
- Have a PRG if it is a large expenditure or big life change
- Do some of your daily writing on this issue
Reflection is only possible if you take a pause and wait before acting. There is no way to reflect when you act impulsively. And, unfortunately, for people like us, acting on impulse often leads to debting and regretting.