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Reading versus doing

A friend in Program says:

When we talked about Step 11, many of us used to say, "I pray every morning and evening, and spend time in the morning reading my meditation books." We heard this so often that we stopped thinking what a strange thing it is to say. What would we think if someone said, "I meditate every morning and evening, and spend time in the morning reading my prayer books"? Wouldn't we suggest that she actually did some praying?

Reading about our spiritual practices is of course important. But it can't be a substitute for the activities themselves. This is something we accept without demur when it comes to other activities in our lives. Golf, for instance -- the golfers among us read books about golf, but that's because it helps us when we actually play the game. We'd think it odd if someone read books about how to play golf but never actually played. We would certainly not expect them to be much good at playing golf if they tried for a couple of days and then stopped.

And yet we frequently hear people say just the same thing about meditation. They read "meditation books" but they don't meditate. Or they try to meditate for a couple of days, but find that they "can't" do it.

We found that the only way to do Step 11 was to meditate. It didn't seem to be easy, but we eventually realized that that was because we'd never done it before ....

"The spiritual life is never one of achievement:
it is always one of letting go."

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