Meditation by Rocky Bottoms

Bill Black2

My Path to the Direct Path

Like everyone else, I have a history … a spiritual history, that is. Raised Catholic and briefly exposed to small doses of other promotional brands of God, I remained unfulfilled. After 33 years of listening to various interpretations of God, higher power, spirituality and meditation in twelve-step meetings, I came to one firm conclusion; none of it made sense. As a co-occurring survivor, in order to stay clean and sober and abstinent and happy, etc. I decided I needed to start over and use the principles I had learned in working the steps to redefine God as I understood him. Honesty, open-mindedness and willingness were the key (as usual).

I knew the God they tried to impose on me wasn’t working. I knew the God I claimed to know wasn’t working either, and yet I would defend him and refer to him in ignorance. When I got to Step Eleven, I realized I had no clue what meditation was. Sure, I had heard the usual liturgical lingo in the rooms about how it’s “listening to God” or other interpretations that just didn’t resonate with me. At the same time this core frustration was taking place, a couple of other things were happening in the background of my search.

At some point during my meeting mania, I ran across certain individuals who made claims about AA history that I just didn’t believe. One of those claims was that Bill W. had agreed to take LSD while sober. I thought to myself, I am going to research all this magnificent BS myself so I did. I went to the AA library and read the books. The key take away here is that I read. That, for me, was a big deal. A resentment, if used properly, can educate one as never before. I didn’t like to read. I never read. As a matter of fact, the last time I remembered reading a book was the cliff notes in high school. I rather enjoyed reading those books with my newfound sense of clarity.

During the same time period, I made a commitment to myself to be taught the Bible as it was taught by a local Christian church. Every week for about two years, I would pay strict attention to what was presented as facts and then I would interpret the interpretation.

As they say … when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. In what seemed like a series of sequential random interactions and events, I was lead further and further into a deeper understanding of my spiritual path.

I was offered a “beginner’s” meditation class at the VA to deal with depression. Up to this point in my life, my experience with meditation had consisted of a dark twelve-step room with a candle and inappropriate laughter. The VA meditation class introduced me to Mindfulness Meditation taught by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I could do this, I thought. I don’t need to sit in an uncomfortable position with tight leggings. How ignorant was I? The results were amazing. I was on my way.

I was now involved in a continual process of reading, asking questions, slowly practicing and researching further, that which had intrigued me for a lifetime. How do I reconcile my religion with your religion and how does this result into magically turning into spirituality that makes sense to ME?

I truthfully don’t recall how I initially ran across him (probably on YouTube) but apparently Father Richard Roth had the same type of inquiring mind as mine, except for the part where I drenched it in booze, drugs and gambling for forty years. His discussions on “Spirituality and the Twelve Steps” and “Cosmic Christ” were impressive. His interpretations coincided with a visit with my beloved older sister and spiritual mentor.

When my sister detected it was time to let me in on her long-studied practice, the direct path using the love of truth as motivation, this was the turning point. It was the gift of all gifts as far as I was concerned. I was blessed with an introduction to her friend and mentor of non-dual teachings and the rest is history.

After two years of increasing doses of practice, I have been able to recognize, investigate and celebrate my true nature through the direct-path of non-duality using self-inquiry meditation and yoga meditation.

And yes, Bill W. did use LSD at the VA hospital in LA.

Rocky Bottoms is a casual contributor