Dick B: The Spiritual Roots of AA – Quiet Time
A second thing that has passed from existence. And it is in Pass It On, where Bill says, “I al-ways sort of thought we lost something when we lost meditation.” Do you know that our trustee, Frank Amos, said that meditation was a must in early A.A. What did meditation mean?
It was called “Quiet Time.” It meant studying the Bible first, to get in tune with God’s general will. It meant praying. It meant quiet time, listening for God’s voice. And then it meant sometimes consulting things like The Upper Room, The Runner’s Bible, and My Utmost for His Highest for inspiration as to what would be discussed at the meetings. There w
What was going on is, some people were being taught by some very able teachers back there in Akron; and, in New York, by a very able teacher–Sam Shoemaker and his circle of friends. So prayers were regular fare in early A.A., as was listening to God. And it has gotten a bad rap, again by laying it on the Oxford Group. But Quiet Time was something that, whenever Anne was stressed out, she would go upstairs to have what she called “quiet time.” Why? To get peace. To get peace. To get out of the ring-a-ding that goes on. And you will see that at the end of your Eleventh Step.
The helpful books, what were they? We will get into that shortly. They did not try to invent their own program. A.A. is not a self- made religion. A.A. was something that came from this rock that I am talking about. They used The Upper Room, My Utmost for His Highest, The Runner’s Bible, Fosdick’s The Meaning of Prayer, Drummond’s The Greatest Thing In The World, to help them.
I am happy to say that now the archives back there that they have worked so hard to assemble, Ray G., in particular, that I know, and his wife, Ginny. You can see those books. It is my dream and hope that you can do more than see them before very long. That you can open them up. And it will knock you dead when you see how much of our program has come from those books. And it begins to make certain expressions in A.A. meaningful.
Quiet Time, in other words, doesn’t get its full due, unless you believe as I do, that those early people consulted God for guidance as to what to do in the program. With the speakers. I firmly believe that the residue of it in our [Twelve] Traditions is the ultimate authority as a loving God as He may express himself in our group conscience. That is an attempt to describe the old steering committee meetings that were held at the beginning.
Monday night they prayed. Later on, just be-fore the meeting, they would pray and ask God to guide them as to what could be helpful. Also, Bill reportedly consulted God when he was writing the Big Book and particularly the 12 Steps.
So there was a reliance upon God and His guidance at the beginning of this program. Not only taking ideas from the Bible, His Word, but also seeking what the Oxford groupers called His “particular will” through prayer and listening. So the Quiet Time! Bible, number one, Quiet Time, number two. Why number two? Because it was a must. No drunk-a-logs. . . . Just consulting God.
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