Stages of the Journey Christian Meditation Your Daily Practice Fr. Laurence Freeman OSB

Jesus said he knew where he came from and where he was going.  Prayer is a journey into self-knowledge. 

As we gradually unhook from our selfish self-centeredness and egotism, we grow in the knowledge of who we truly are. In every journey there are stages, even though, because it is a spiritual journey, we cannot measure them.


The word conversion means a change of direction.  When we first begin to meditate, we may feel the ‘first fervor’ of conversion.

The discipline seems easy and we are full of enthusiasm, as in the first stages of a relationship with another person. This initial enthusiasm, of course, will be tested and needs to be deepened by commitment.


The going can get tough, but tin learning to persevere we learn the deep mysteries of God and of our own nature. In the process there will be times of turbulence, when repressed feelings or memories may rise to the surface of our consciousness.

This is purifying and liberating but may feel only negative at the time.  The support of others at such times is very helpful.


At other times, especially after a prolonged uphill phase, we feel we are breaking through all resistance into deeper knowledge and love of God, of ourselves, and of others.

We will then feel a pervasive peace and joy.  It is important to accept such times and experiences without trying to possess them, to repeat or manipulate them. Grace means gift.  A Gift ceases to be a gift when we clutch at it.

We invite you to reflect on the reading and how it may resonate to your journey of a spiritual awakening in the 12 steps of recovery, and in particular to the 11th Step – “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power carry that out.”  

“These initial steps along the road are taken grudgingly, yet we do take them.” 12&12 Step Seven, p.74
“Let families realize, as they start their journey, that all will not be fair weather.” BB The Family Afterward, p.122  
“No matter how far we have progressed, desires will always be found which oppose the grace of God”. 12&12 Step Six, p.66
“Finally, he saw that I wasn’t attempting to change his religious views, that I wanted him to find the grace in his own religion that would aid his recovery.”  12&12 Tradition Five, p.153  
“As we have seen, self-searching is the means by which we bring new vision, action, and grace to bear upon the dark and negative side of our natures.” 12&12 Step Eleven, p.98  
“And they have increasingly found a peace of mind which can stand firm in the face of difficult circumstances.”  12&12 Step Eleven, p.104  
“Joy at our release from a lifetime of frustration knew no bounds.”   BB The Family Afterward, p.128                                                    

Passages from the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions are reprinted with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.  The A.A. Preamble, copyright © The A.A. Grapevine, Inc., is reprinted with permission.  Permission to reprint does not in any way imply affiliation with or endorsement by Alcoholics Anonymous or The A.A. Grapevine, Inc.

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