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Inspiring Success on the Road to Recovery

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Take the First Steps towards 11th Step Meditation

By Randy F.

The 12 Steps, 12 Tradition and 11th Step chapter states “prayer and meditation are our principle means of conscious contact with God.” If this is true, then how can we work our 11th Step Meditation practice more fully in our lives and our program?

The 11th Step is an advanced step but we can begin learning and developing our meditation practice at the beginning of our sobriety. Early in sobriety we learn we are powerlessness over alcohol and how our lives are unmanageable.

The meditation aspect of Step 1 from my perspective is,  “We are powerless over our thoughts and our emotions are unmanageable.” We often let them rule our lives. We believe our thoughts are true. We don't know how to turn them off or what to do with them.

Thoughts are things. We communicate our thoughts and emotions chemically, magnetically and with sub-atomic light particles to our bodies, our environment and with the universe. We are what we think. It has been proven we are hardwired early in life with thinking and feeling habits that are unmanageable, and imperfect, and we can change with action. We are addicted to thinking and feeling. The good news is meditation helps us practice right thinking and feeling while remapping our neural pathways to change our habits.

We can actually “work Step 1” each time we relax and let go of unmanageable thoughts and emotions. In meditation we can approach this step as an action step.  The Step One meditation techniques that help us to detach from our unmanageable thoughts and emotions are:

Begin by focusing on your breath, then

Gently bring your attention back to your breath when you get distracted

Detach and watch your thoughts float by – try not to grab and hold on to them

Use intentions such as “I relax and let go” as a mantra to practice concentration and to re-direct our mind

Be gentle with yourself if you stray, it’s ok

Every time I relax and let go of unmanageable thoughts I’m working Step One. I can take this practice into the rest of my day, also. Try this in a guided meditation at www.11thStepMeditation.org/stepone.

The meditation aspect of Step 2 is: “Practice connecting with our Higher Power to restore me to sanity, to discover inner connections to our Higher Power and grow our relationship with Higher Power through meditation”

The last phrase of Step Two is "restore me to sanity." What is the insanity that I am recovering from?  It is not just doing crazy things. The core of my insanity, the root of many of my defective behaviors, is my perspective that I am separate and alone.  I do not feel connected to others or to my higher power.

The next phrase is, "A Power greater than ourselves."  In recovery we learn that we are powerless.  I am no longer able to force things to happen.  I need to connect to some power, some greater source to help my healing journey. We learn how to connect with and tap into our Higher Power as we understand it more effectively with practice through meditation.
In meditation, we can visualize a sacred place in our heart where we are in the presence of our higher power. We restore ourselves to spiritual sanity by practicing being connected to our Higher Power.

And finally – "Came to believe" – The first phrase of Step Two symbolizes the beginning of a journey, a discovery of our relationship with ourselves and the rest of the world.  Our 11th Step Meditation practice helps us to expand our emotional sobriety and spirituality.
We actively work Step Two in meditation each time we practice connecting to and being in the presence of our higher.

Step Three states “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”  In meditation we "make a decision to turn our will over" again and again…. as we decide:
to stay in the meditation and not quit
to let go of distracting thoughts, emotions and outside noises
to connect to our higher power in meditation

We continually make a 3rd Step decision, and work the step, over and over again in our meditation.

Our Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions book clearly states the importance of meditation. "Meditation is something which can always be further developed. It has no boundaries, either of width or height…..To improve our conscious contact with God, with His grace, wisdom, and love. And let's remember that meditation is in reality intensely practical. One of its first fruits is emotional balance. With it we can broaden and deepen the channel between ourselves and God as we understood Him." (pg. 101-102)

 Bill Wilson in a 1954 letter stated "We are only operating as spiritual kindergarten.” We practice spiritual attitudes, new habits, and connectedness in meditation. Meditation is a wonderful spiritual aerobic exercise to deepen the work of each of the 12 steps internally as we take the outer actions of working the steps with our sponsors.

Randy F. has created the www.11thStepMeditation.org website, and is currently teaching a monthly 11th Step Meditation workshop in Scottsdale. For more info, email randy@spiritstep.com.