In AA 12 Step Recovery
A MINDFUL EARTH JUSTICE INITIATIVE
IN THE PLUM VILLAGE COMMUNITY OF ENGAGED BUDDHISM
"Beauty and goodness are always there in each of us. This is the basic teaching of Buddhism. A true teacher is one who encourages you to look deeply within yourself for the beauty and love you are seeking. The true teacher is someone who helps you discover the teacher within yourself."
Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh,
Shambhala, Kindle Edition
There it is in the header of this page. Confirmation from a true teacher
that everything I need to transform my "self" is within myself - the
unsuspected inner resource referred to in Appendix II of the Big Book, Spiritual Experience
(Alcoholics Anonymous 2nd Edition and later).
1895 - 1986
I've tried Atheist/Agnostic groups, Secular Recovery and Eleventh Step groups, but I didn't really find any of them very compelling or in possession of any particular wisdom. So I decided to start my own meeting. While looking around for where I could have a meeting and what sort of meeting I should start, I discovered that there aren't any rules. Of course you have the 12 Traditions, and Traditions 4 through 7 seem to cover this issue, but none of the Traditions are rules; they're more like guidelines.
Mindpracthing.com is the result of my efforts to develop a meeting format that would help me, a non believer, maintain my spiritual condition. The Big Book tells us that even though we have found a higher power and had a spiritual awakening as the result of working the 12 Steps,
“We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve
contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.”
I wanted a meeting that was focused on the Steps and had but one primary purpose - to carry the message to the alcoholic that still suffers. And I wanted to have a meeting that remained within the A.A. Fellowship. After all, a desire to stop drinking is our only requirement for membership.
The pages under the HOME tab on this site deal primarily with how I came to the conclusion that just as you can have "a god of your understanding," you can also have a spirituality of your understanding. I call it a SMO, a Spirituality of My Own. Under the Spirituality page you can access the 5 sub-pages that explain each of the sources I have drawn from to develop a Spirituality of My Own (SMO): Jungian Analytical Psychology, New Thought, Mindfulness Meditation, Prayer and Humanism.
The remaining 3 tabs on the Main Menu and each of those tab's sub pages focus on the 12 Steps from a perspective of Mindfulness, Contemplative Practices and/or the Spiritual Practice of Meditation.
Under the 12 STEPS & MINDFULNESS tab on the main menu bar, the first sub-tab in the drop down box is an Introduction to the Having Had Meeting Format. This introduction includes an explanation of the meeting format, the books and other materials that were the sources for the readings in the format and the materials in PDF format that you would need to hold your own meetings. You are encouraged to copy and print these materials. The remainder of this tab presents each of the 12 Steps from a perspective of Mindfulness.
Contemplative Practices cultivate a critical, first-person focus, sometimes with direct experience as the object, while at other times concentrating on complex ideas or situations. Incorporated into daily life, they act as a reminder to connect to what we find most meaningful. Contemplative practices are practical, radical, and transformative, developing capacities for deep concentration and quieting the mind in the midst of the action and distraction that fills everyday life. This state of calm centeredness is an aid to exploration of meaning, purpose and values.
The sub-pages of CONTEMPLATIVE NEUROSCIENCE explore the emerging field of Contemplative Neuroscience, which is the integration of neuroscience, contemplative practices and Ancient Eastern Wisdom Traditions. This entirely new science has provided the research base for the scientific evidence that the repeated experience of intense meditation produces extremely positive altered human personality traits such as compassion, self-acceptance, life-purpose, autonomy, self-mastery, personal growth, and an undisturbed, contemplative mind. These results are enumerated in many professional science journals, academic reports and books, just one of which is "Altered Traits."
This tab on the main menu bar is concerned with how to be mindful in general and how to meditate in particular. The purpose of meditation is personal transformation. In a very real sense this is also the purpose of the Steps - a careful and systematic dissolution of the alcoholic self and its rebuilding based on different assumptions, reactions, core values and relationships. The meditation practices that are outlined in the sub-tabs of the MINDFULNESS MEDITATION tab, when taken together, are intended to be a very basic Mindfulness Meditation beginner’s manual in the Plum Village tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.
In my opinion it is quite difficult and rather disingenuous to discuss mindfulness in general and meditation in particular without references to and discussions of buddhist psychology, history and philosophy. Many consider buddhism as a religion with its own deities, theologies and rituals; however, there is a school of secular Buddhism perhaps most authoritatively championed by Stephen Batchelor in his 2015 book after buddhism: rethinking the dharma for a secular age. Whenever possible we have utilized these materials when making buddhist references.