Meditation and 12 Steps to Innovate for Recovering Humans

Step 7 in Meditation

There is a pattern emerging as we study the Twelve steps from an 11th Step Meditation perspective. The first three steps let us see and experience that our thoughts and emotions are unmanageable, that there exists a power much greater than ourselves and that we are a part of that power, and that we can make moment by moment choices to let this power guide our lives. Our meditations enhance this process internally and spiritually, and because these steps are fundamental to our spiritual growth we have incorporated these steps into the beginning of every meditation.

The next groups of steps work in pairs.  Steps 4 through 9 are commonly referred to as the action steps. But in our 11th Step Meditation approach to working the steps we discover that all the steps are action steps that can be practiced in our meditations to optimize our outer actions of our step work. In Step Four we look at our resentments and fears to see how our internal processes, thoughts, emotions and actions have created these negative feelings. Step Five allows us to connect with another human by sharing our secrets and to open ourselves up to God with honesty and action. We begin to open up to the Sunlight of the Spirit and we begin to allow God and other people into our lives and to heal the spiritual wounds of our resentments and fears.

In Step Six we learn the right perspective to our FalseSelf the self in which the defects belong. We practice examining and detaching from our defects and to begin to let go of them. We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience. Our true nature as SpiritSelf is that of love and oneness with Higher Power and the Universe. We act defectively when we forget our true connection and act from the FalseSelf perspective that we are alone and isolated in the world. In Step Seven we actively interact with our Higher Power to work together to overcome our shortcomings.

All of these steps are part of the process of learning to be humble.

Step Seven  “Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.”

Meditation application of Step 7: Through Right Relationship with ourselves and our Higher Power we willingly release our attachments to our shortcomings and old habits.

We identified the root cause of our defects, learned to detach from them and to view them from a new spiritual perspective.

Here is a Step 7 Guided Meditation – Let go, Let God and Let go of my shortcomings. We introduce a more advanced breathing technique in meditation. We suggest that you read through the article to learn about it before using this meditation . It is approximately 18 minutes in length.

This step involves several crucial concepts that we have been learning about through all of the SpiritSteps, humility and what are our shortcomings.

To be humble, or the attainment of “greater humility is the foundation principle of each of A.A.’s Twelve Steps.” (12&12 pg.70)  But, the word ‘humility,’ and the ideals it represents, has a negative image in our world today. So, what do we mean by humility and why is it important to us as we strive to live a spiritual life?

The word humble originates from the Latin word humilis, which means lowly, or low and from humus, which means ground. Today, humble can be defined as meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude or spirit and it’s opposite is to be arrogant or prideful.  Humility is to have a humble opinion of one’s self, a deep sense of oneness, smallness in contrast to the universe, a modesty and acceptance of one’s relationship with our Higher Power. It does not mean to think nothing of ourselves, as if we were unworthy. But it will involve thinking of our selves less often. As Spiritual Beings we are truly worthy of God’s love because God automatically considers us worthy and has naturally given us all the tools and love available that we need.

To be humble is to understand the Right Relationship between ourselves, the Ego and SpiritSelf, between ourselves and our Higher Power, and between us and the other people in our lives.  We learned in Step 1 that we have identified with our ego, false self or PersonalSelf as the true “I.”  The Right Relationship perspective is that our FalseSelf is the garment that we wear in the world and works in partnership with our SpiritSelf. In Step 2 we learned that the spiritual insanity that we suffer from is the perspective that we are separate and alone.  The Right Relationship perspective is that we are a cell of the Cosmos interconnected with everyone, everything and our Higher Power.  In Steps 8 and 9 we will work to shift and heal our relationships with the other people in our lives.

We practice these Right Relationships in meditation to change our internal systems to align with our new found spiritual perspective.  As Chuck C. says in his book…we find a new pair of glasses!

One of the qualities of our SpiritSelf that Step Seven represents is the goal of purity of our thoughts, feelings and emotions. If we are to express this quality as Spiritual Beings, we ask God to help us to eliminate our shortcomings which are expressed through our habits of thinking and feeling. This can be seen as a request for God’s grace in eliminating the negative energy and power that we have collected through years of developing these defects of character as a part of our Spiritual Garden.  As we continue to learn the meaning of being powerless, we recognize that the FalseSelf alone is only powered by self will and unable to overcome it’s defects of character. This is trying to fix the problem with the problem.  Albert Einstein, in an often used quote, told us that we cannot solve a problem from the same level as the problem. We need to approach it from a higher perspective and with a Higher Power. "I can of myself do nothing" (John 5:30). "The Father abiding in me doeth his works" (John 14:10).  Our Higher Power, working through the connection with our SpiritSelf, can and will help us if we demonstrate our willingness by working the steps to purify our Spiritual Gardens and actively let go of our defects and replace them with higher spiritual habits.

When we begin to understand our relationship between our FalseSelf and our SpiritSelf we are learning to practice humility. It is our ego that has a false sense of self importance and pride and operates in hurtful ways to protect itself and to feel superior to others. Our 11th Step Meditation lessons and meditations have been designed to help us to identify with and to connect with our SpiritSelf. This is the beauty of the Twelve Steps of A.A. as they spell out the specific actions needed to walk us through this process of freeing ourselves from the destructive habits of our FalseSelf and learning to consciously connect with our SpiritSelf and to God. This is the act of being humble as we surrender our attachments to our FalseSelf and accept our position as a part of the Oneness of God and our Universe.

We have experienced a spiritual starvation for most of our lives. This may be the root of our disease.  Spiritual starvation. We have forgotten that we are Spiritual Beings and we have isolated ourselves within our FalseSelf. We are cut off from the Sunlight of the Spirit, and the healing power of love. We feel alienated from everyone and everything, in fear, and have tried to compensate for this by creating our character defects and by using drugs and alcohol to overcome a sense of future without purpose or hope.

Our meditations have been working towards restoring hope within us, and to teach and practice a new view of ourselves, and the world we live and participate in.  The first thing we are discovering is self-respect. True humility comes when we are aware of our true nature and we do not have to act in ways to promote or protect our FalseSelf. We can rest in comfort knowing that we are Spiritual Beings at one with our Higher Power. The Observer, our SpiritSelf, is not a limited, finite person; we are infinite through our connection with the Universe through our Heart Centers and our consciousness. In the SpiritSteps we are practicing observing our FalseSelf with sincerity, honesty and to detach our self-identity from this part of us.

The shortcoming, that this step mentions, is in failing to remember that we are Spiritual Beings and all of our thoughts, emotions and actions that are a result of this forgetting.

The Big Book offers us a prayer that we may use to assist with this process:

“When ready, we say something like this: "My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character, which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen." (pg. 76 Big Book) 

We can use segments of this prayer as active affirmations in our meditation to help us actualize the actions we are asking help with.

But as I have learned,  the actual work of Step Seven continues on for a number of years in my sobriety.  I’ve noticed that my defects have generally lessened in their severity just by having an active 11th Step Meditation practice. But over the years a specific defect rises up to a load prominence in my life which I then need to address individually and tactically. In addition to working learn the new habit which will replace my old bad habit/defect, I can also apply the following Step Seven meditation techniques to help this shift.

SpiritStep Seven Meditation

There are several techniques that can enhance your meditation experience. In SpiritStep Two we introduced the meditation technique of counting breaths. This is an ancient technique, part of a practice called Pranayama, that has been studied by ancient Masters to enhance the expression of our SpiritSelf.  It involves a balancing of the breathing and the holding of the breath for a specific number of counts at each point in the breath cycle. In that moment of holding the breath the person becomes temporarily, but immediately, Self-aware. And in that second, God can intervene, as it were, to stimulate the point reached. It is a moment where you are completely in the “now,” you are quiet, not worried about the past or future, where God can slip in through the crack within our FalseSelf and begin to work his will and healing within us.

We will use the counting breaths techniques for our Step Seven meditation but will we modify it to fit the goal of this Step.  As alcoholics and addicts we are heavily  centered and focused on our emotional centers. At times it seems that our emotions are on steroids.  Our misguided-emotions are linked to our defects.  We have energy bodies and centers commonly called chakra’s in the Eastern teachings. Our emotional energy centers our found in chakra’s in our lower abdomen.  The technique that we will use is adapted from a meditation lesson given by a Tibetan Master to a student as described in a book by Alice Bailey, Discipleship in the New Age.  This technique is designed to help lift up the energy patterns/habits of our emotions, to energize them with the loving energy of our heart and to release them into the Universe through our SpiritSelf.

If you are new to the counting breaths technique just do the best you can and reduce the number of counts to what is comfortable for you. We will begin the technique later in the meditation but here is a quick overview to prepare you with the technique:

1. Gently inhale to the count of 6. You may be able to feel the beat of your heart and use this to count.  As you count, visualize that you can lift the energy of your defect up from your abdomen, along your spine to your a spot on your forehead just above your eyes. As the energy passes through your heart center surround the defect with the energy of love.

2. Pause for 8 counts as you imagine and visualize this emotional energy evaporating into an "ocean of intelligent love."

3. Exhale slowly for 6 counts as you let go of this combined energy of emotion and love from the centre between your eye brows out into the world.

4. Pause for 8 counts as you rest in the realization of the letting go process.

Then, we repeat this over and over relaxing into the rhythm. We will do this several times during the guided meditation.  But in your own work as you become familiar with this technique you may do this for up to 15 minutes each day as you work with letting go of your defective habits.

SpiritStep Seven Meditation – Let go, Let God and Let go of my Shortcomings.

1. Relaxation, Centering and Aligning with our Higher Power

  • Let’s begin our meditation as before by getting comfortable and listening to our breath. Feel the clean light-filled air on the inhale filling your lungs and body with goodness and love. Exhale deeply and visualize all sickness and negativity leaving your lungs and body with the breath.
  • I relax and I let go. Repeat this phrase in rhythm with your breathing. You may do the physical body scan by tightening the different parts of your body and the relaxing them. Do this until you begin to become unaware of your surroundings.
  • I let go and I let God.  Continue your path towards relaxation by using this mantra as you breath. Concentrate on the words and imagine all of the day-to-day stuff that you can let go of and turn over to God. Begin focusing on your heart center. Imagine a white light glowing in your chest that is warm and full of love. Remember that this heart center is your connection to God and to the Universe and all of the good is available to you.
  • "I offer myself to my Higher Power." Become aware of how this surrender affirmation feels and what images you can use to support this affirmation.

2. Aligning with our SpiritSelf and our Higher PowerNow let’s shift to the next affirmation

  •  I am in the Presence of my Higher Power. Let’s continue using this affirmation while we visualize our Sacred Space. You may walk, or travel there in your mind’s eye. This is a special place where you feel you can rest in the presence of you Higher Power. Spend some time relaxing into the Presence.  Sense the healing energy surrounding this moment and comforting you.
  • I am a Spiritual Being, one with my Higher Power. Imagine being free of all that is weighing you down emotionally, mentally and physically. One with your Higher Power, in your heart center, rest in this conscious contact.

3. Detaching from our shortcomings and defects.

  • I am not my defects.  Practice being the Observer, watching yourself. Picture moments in your life when you are acting from a point of defect and see the fear and personal self working to protect itself. We have defects but they are not who we really are.
  • God is now releasing me from the chains of the past.  Our shortcomings and defects of character are like chains that bind us to our past and to our limitations. As a Spiritual Being I am choosing to release these behaviors of my FalseSelf to remember that I am one with God and his grace is with me.

3. Let go, Let God and Let go of my shortcomings.

  • Gently inhale to the count of 6. You may be able to feel the beat of your heart and use this to count.  As you count, visualize that you can lift the energy of your defect up from your abdomen, along your spine to your a spot on your forehead just above your eyes. As the energy passes through your heart center surround the defect with the energy of love.
  • Pause for 8 counts as you imagine and visualize this emotional energy evaporating into an "ocean of intelligent love."
  • Exhale slowly for 6 counts as you let go of this combined energy of emotion and love from the centre between your eye brows out into the world.
  • Pause for 8 counts as you rest in the realization of the letting go process.

Then, we repeat this over and over relaxing into the rhythm. We will do this several times during the guided meditation.  But in your own work as you become familiar with this technique you may do this for up to 15 minutes each day as you work with letting go of your defective habits.

4. I am grateful for my sobriety. Let’s a few minutes to express our gratitude for our sobriety, the Steps, for meditation and our Higher Power.

5. End your meditation slowly. Open your eyes and look around the room. Sit quietly for several minutes.         

Practice, Practice, Practice! You may practice this meditation as it is outlined here or you may choose to focus on only one segment during your meditation. Maybe there is one concept that you wish to bring to the front of your life.  These are guidelines and suggestions. Meditation is a personal experience and as you practice it learn to listen to your inner voice to direct how best to apply it to your life.

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