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An antidote to noxious noise roiling around the psyche is the Psalmist’s command: Be still and know that I am God. (46:10). When enslaved by obsessive thoughts, the ego has total control, and unless curtailed by a more powerful source, the hall of monstrous mirrors blackens, issuing despair or other addictive behaviors. Distractions and pills don’t help nor jags of self-pity.

When such disorders yelp for attention like puppies pulling at a toy, I pray for willingness to begin meditative breathing on each word of the command; over and over, I cycle them until they slow down and plunge me into deeper prayer. Then, I stroke each word with light.

BE

suggests the critical invitation to accept my tattered psyche with all its contents, known and unknown, to deepen the spiritual practice of awareness, and to be grateful for the psychic growth I’ve achieved; its uniqueness is like none other.

STILL

sets in play a dynamic that soothes the wounded psyche, that recalls past experiences of stillness—especially along the Atlantic Coast—and that quickens additional spiritual efforts. The Sacred is rarely found in commotion.

KNOW

speaks of the cumulative lessons internalized from suffering, colors the present moment, and co-creates with Creator God. Such knowing also expands psyche to be of maximum help to others.

I AM

echoes Yahweh’s burning bush revelation to Moses in the book of Exodus, and clarifies the identity of Jesus, used seven times, in the gospel of John. Life-long meditation on these texts have borne fruit in abundance.

GOD

names the ultimate of mysteries, the Ground of our Being to whom we transition in the afterlife. I’m humbled …

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Such is promised those who enter the sanctuary of their hearts and listen and obey. The guidance is there. We’ve only to follow it.

At 6:20 A.M., I woke with this dream:

It is evening service at the black church I’ve been attending, at the invitation of the pastor and his wife. Again, I’m greeted and enter the fellowship filled with hymns and prayer. Other than occasional constipation, I am well. The pastor, also a physician, will perform a proctologic exam in his office in the morning. Having had one before, I’m anxious.

The vibrant setting of this dream, the evening service at the black church, opens my psyche to hidden disorders that require identification and correction. The occasional constipation keeps my body/mind starved of vital nutrients, dulls my perceptions, and dumps me within the morass of sloth: Why bother?

The pastor bridges the gap between God’s presence and the worshipers in his black church: such engagement restores disorders that sludge human interactions and quickens spirits into living flames. On my own, I’m powerless to achieve the wholeness to which I aspire.

Yet, I’m anxious. Given my long-standing pride, it’s painful to admit my arrogance and willfulness, smirches upon my character for all to behold. For much of my life, pretense kept such disorders at bay; whenever aware of them, I barely nodded at their toxicity.

Since working the Twelve Steps in Recovery, however, such disclosures become frequent cries to Higher Power to effect the necessary changes. This is precisely the task of spirituality.

With the afflicted Job (10:6), I identify with his cry to God: You must search out my faults and probe after my sin. Such purification works: It’s about becoming humble and serving others.

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