|Attunement - The eleventh step says...
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.
There are seven trillion possible humans in the gene pool. At the moment
there are about six billion of us on the planet. Assuming that a generation is
25 years and assuming that the population remained stable at six billion, that
means that we could expect exact copies of ourselves to reappear on the planet
roughly every 29,000 years. And then that duplicate would arrive in an entirely
different world. That is how unique each of us is.
I think the part about attunement and conscious contact with a higher power
is about figuring out what our particular uniqueness is about and what to do
with that uniqueness.
I recently heard Wayne Dyer talking about his book, "10 Secrets for
Successful Living and Inner Peace". He closed his talk with a lovely and
delightful thought that goes exactly to the point of understanding and
expressing uniqueness. He talked about the metaphor embedded in the words to the
children's song, "Row Your Boat." The verse goes, "row, row, row, your boat".
Row - move, attempt, make voyages, do your life. And it is your boat you
row. Not someone else's boat, not the boat someone tells you to row. But your
own one in seven trillion, one in six billion boat. Knowing what your boat is
comes to us through conscious contact with the greater whole. Call that what is
meaningful to you - God, the universe, nature, the Mind Spring. Whatever. The
wisdom source is doubtless the same and wearing many names.
And you should row your boat gently. Not roughly - not quickly - not
tirelessly, but gently. Be gentle on your path. Take care of yourself and take
care to know yourself, this says.
And row down the stream. Do not row up the stream. There is little progress
to be made rowing down the stream. You will get tired and stay in the same
place. Make progress. Go with the flow. Go down stream. Go gently.
And do this merrily. All the time - Merrily, merrily, merrily. Row, row, row,
merrily, merrily, merrily. The Buddhists tell us to go joyfully into the sorrows
of the world. Find joy. Not the empty, carnal pleasures of our addictions, but
the joy of a full, multidimensional, self-determined life of rowing your own
boat. Go into you life in joy.
And last in the verse, "Life is but a dream." What is this telling us? It
suggests that there is a depth to experience that may not be immediately
apparent. And that life is an easy thing when you merrily row your boat down
stream. Life is not a struggle or a trial or and ordeal or a triumph. Life is a
dream. Be then a dreamer.
This is how Dyer sees the secret of successful living and inner peace. I add
a bit to his interpretation of the metaphor by thinking of where the stream ends
up. In time it merges with another stream and then another and another still
until it becomes a river. And the river runs on, merging with other rivers until
it becomes a great river. At last it merges with the sea - the source - the
place of joining. And from there, the sea is recycled to rain and snow to begin
the cycle again. So the ancient rhyme also positions us at a moment of moving
time in the great cycle.
On a rainy night a few years ago a client came into a session with me,
grousing about the rain. Now this was a deeply pessimistic man. He did not row
merrily. This was also a deeply Christian man. It occurred to me to tell him
this. I told him that I did not know how many molecules of water had fallen on
him as he walked from his car into the office, but I knew there were very many.
I also told him that it was virtually certain that among those molecules was at
least one that had been among the molecules of water with which Jesus washed the
feet of his disciples. And molecules that filled the lungs of those who drown
with the Titanic. And molecules that soothed the parched throats of the hardy
folk who walked across Death Valley in 1849, and on and on.
The point is this. There is opportunity in every moment to make conscious
spiritual contact with the greater. It takes us out of ourselves and into
contact with other people and the greater whatever beyond. That sense of
self-knowledge and connection can be achieved in deliberate prayer and
meditation. It can be achieved through awareness of nature and others. I don't
think the particular method matters a bit, so long as the product is a knowledge
of our uniqueness and purpose here and the will and energy to row on in that