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Meditation Mediation

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I want to share about a coincidence at a recent meditation meeting. When I arrived, I noticed a man with long, matted hair and a beard to match, wearing wrinkled, dirty clothes. My first thought was he might be homeless. He had quite a few belongings in several paper bags and a backpack.

After I exchanged words of welcome with this newcomer, I realized he might have mental health issues or an addiction (or both). The secretary indicated that the newcomer came bearing gifts for us, instant coffee and other goodies, all in a brown paper sack. He lovingly set the items on the back table, and then he sat on a bench along the wall instead of joining the circle of chairs. Then he started talking loudly as others entered the room.

I noticed quite a bit of eye-rolling and puzzled looks being exchanged. Then, just as the group finished saying a long version of the Serenity Prayer, the man stood up and said, “Well, that’s all I wanted to hear,” and left with his backpack.

There seemed to be a group sigh of relief as he shut the door. It’s always tricky knowing how to handle situations in which a person is clearly at the wrong meeting, but no one was prepared to make him feel unwelcome.

The secretary had just started the meeting again when another newcomer walked in, pushing a baby carriage.

The two meditation readings were about resentments and accepting powerlessness. Our ten-minute silent meditation began—and so did the cooing and chattering from the baby carriage.

A few members got up and left the room; I did my best to distract myself from the baby’s innocent chatter. In my early years in recovery, I would have been very judgmental, but now I can remain calm and just go with the flow.

The baby continued to chatter throughout the meeting and was distracting in many ways (I couldn’t keep my eyes off her, she was so cute). Her mom shared, and it was evident to everyone that the mother deserved a seat in the room.

Charming though it was, the baby’s chattering was causing patience to fray. The mom decided to get up and walk her baby around. In the back of the room, she found the offerings left by the previous newcomer and returned to her seat with a very happy and quiet baby eating a piece of fruit. We all embraced the silence.

I couldn’t help but think it was quite a coincidence that a strange man showed up at our meeting and brought just what the mom and baby needed. The readings on resentments and acceptance didn’t escape me either. I remembered something my first sponsor said to me years ago: “Coincidences are things that happen when God wants to remain anonymous.” — Karren K., Santa Rosa, California USA

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