How Can I Use Meditation & the 12 Steps to End Bad Habits?

I’m in a 12-step Program and the idea of asking a Higher Power “to remove my shortcomings” feels negative and seems to be standing in the way of my growth.  Is there a way my Buddhist practice can help?

In both the Program and Buddhist practice, we don’t change ourselves by force of our will, but by encouraging the process of change to take place.  In both approaches we look closely at our habits to see the harm they do to us and others.  Then we naturally become willing to be rid of them. 

In the Eightfold Path, this state of mind is renunciation.  The Program breaks this into the 6th and 7th Steps, developing willingness and humility respectively.   In either scheme, it’s a movement of the heart away from the self-oriented desires and aversions that tied us to those habits.

Once we get to this point of being really disenchanted with our old habits, a process of transformation takes place.  We do not make the change happen.  You could envision the active force (or Higher Power) in this process as our True Nature, or the open Awareness that’s ordinarily clouded by our mental habits and misunderstandings.  Letting go of self-will facilitates this change for the better.

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