Meditation and 12 Steps to Innovate for Recovering Humans

Step 10 in Meditation

The first nine steps define and outline the basic steps required to achieve a strong foundation in building a new spiritual framework to think, feel and act within. Meditation is a tremendous aid in this process.

The miracle of the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is that they very clearly and concisely outline each action within the process of spiritual development. One of the key concepts is that this is a process.  We are all approaching life, sobriety and the steps from our own unique perspective. But, it does not matter from which particular spiritual level that we find ourselves today, just a beginner, or a little more advanced along the spiritual path, there is always more to discover.

We often hear the analogy of “walking the path of life.” Life is certainly a journey, and what is the goal?  Our life goals are also progressive. Just to stay sober is an incredible goal and should be our primary purpose. Each step that we have worked is a goal that moves us ever closer to living life as a Spiritual Being, expressing our SpiritSelf, while overcoming the effects of living a life of self-will run riot, through our ego. The ultimate goal for the steps is a spiritual life with a “conscious contact with God,” and to live a life of love and service to others.

The 11th Step Meditations work to create right inner relationships and foundations to help us move from living completely within our PersonalSelf and to move towards connecting and operating from our SpiritSelf.  To do this we need to learn to include each of the nine previous steps into our daily life and to continue to support these actions with our daily meditations. This is the goal of Step Ten.

Step Ten – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Meditation Aspect of Step Ten: Continue our reflective meditations to be mindful of our errors and defects of the present and to make interior improvements to mirror our outer 10th Step actions.

The first word of this step, “continued,” reflects the process of spiritual growth. There is an old saying that states: “Error runs down an inclined plane, while Truth has to laboriously climb its way up hill.” It is easy to be lazy and to not work on improving ourselves. Every moment that I am coasting I’m going down hill towards my old habits.

“This thought brings us to Step Ten, which suggests we continue to take personal inventory and continue to set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code.”

“It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee — Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.”

“Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power. If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have become God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action.” (Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous pg 84- 85) The 11th Step Meditations can help to accelerate this process of connecting to Spirit, or becoming more God-conscious, in developing this sixth sense or, conscious contact with our Higher Power.

The Steps have shown us a method to self-examine our lives, our thoughts our motivations and our actions. The spiritual path is one of self-examination and self-understanding. This is an activity that all religious and spiritual practices teach. Know thyself. In the SpiritSteps we have also learned to identify and know which self – the LowerSelf and the SpiritSelf.

Steps 10, 11 and 12 are commonly referred to as the “maintenance steps.” In this step, as well as step four, we are to watch for “selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear.” This reflective inventory is to be a daily review of our success in applying all previous 9 steps. Steps Eight and Nine are a part of this in that we are to “make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone.”

We can continue with the reflective meditation technique that we used for our 4th Step inventory meditation. Reflective meditation is a guided, coordinated thought process on a specific subject. After we get settled and centered into our meditation we introduce the reflection segment:

  • Hold the attitude of the Observer and mentally walk through our entire day- Notice when your mind tries to deviate because of emotions or mental baggage attached to the resentment or fear, defect or the person we harmed.
  • Relax into your insights into about each situation and to see if further perceptions will come to you.
  • Keep the intention of the 10th step meditation present – to take a personal inventory of our day. Your mind will try to distract you from the work you are doing.
  • Remember, we are weeding our Spiritual Gardens through this daily moral inventory correcting our mis-steps in meditation and planning our outer corrective actions.
    • Identify and heal our spiritual wounds, – resentments and fears, where our defects.
  • We will also identify our positive spiritual moments to nurture and increase these in our lives.
  • We can carry this reflective, mindful attitude through our waking day. Be persistent in looking for moments throughout the day where we fell short of our goal of walking the spiritual path. Make in inner course correction as soon as you are aware of the shortcoming.

We want to learn to use our minds as a tool. We have the habit of letting our minds use or control us. This is a skill that we develop and practice in meditation. We learned detachment from our thoughts and emotions in the Step One meditation and continue to practice it in every meditation.

Integrate the 5 “P’s” into working your  10th and 11th Step Meditation Program

The 10th Step in the 11th Step Meditation Journey consists of many different facets that combine over time and practice to become your spiritual path towards that Conscious Contact that the 11th Step seeks.

This journey, is your journey, no one can do it for you! But the program does provide you with the tools, the information, the encouragement and a special place to explore and experience this.

The 5 “P’s” will benefit you in applying the 10th step to your spiritual program and your an 11th Step Meditation practice:

Persistence, Patience, Practice, Perseverance, Presence

Here are some thoughts on how you can bring these words and concepts to your program, to your life, to your relationship with your Higher Power, and your relationship with others, the world and the universe.

Persistence

It takes sustained meditation effort to overcome habits and patterns of thinking feeling, acting that we have used our entire lifetime. We need to forgive ourselves as we steadily trudge this road when we fall short of our goals. Persistence, continued and recurring effort, meditating everyday, even 5 or 10 minutes, is vital to changing our lives.

The spiritual path requires constant rededication. Just like when sailing a ship you can’t steer directly toward your destination. Instead a sailor must tack back and forth, adjusting sails and direction, to catch the best wind at the time. So, in hind sight, the path looks like a zig zag, but in truth, it is just the path that needed to be taken. We can’t give up just because we fall short momentarily. Each time, over the years of striving to meditate, I have needed to begin again, to pick up where I left off, and get back to my daily meditation practice.

Find or start an 11th Step Meditation meeting in your area. Utilize the tools that we have in the program of group effort, commitments to a meditation meeting, joining other meditation group’s, attend retreats, read any of the books on meditation on this site. Grow your passion and desire to find your inner connection to you higher power through persistence in working towards this worthy spiritual goal.

Patience

Acceptance of where we are in our life is key to bringing patience to our meditation practice. Meditation is not a quick fix. Chances are that others in your life will see the fruits of your meditation before you do. As a friend once said to me – “meditation is long term sobriety stuff.” Trust, have faith, and know that your efforts to learn and practice meditation will have wonderful benefits for you, others around you and for the world!

Meditating is truly a one day, or even one meditation, at a time process that grows and deepens our relationship with ourselves, the world around us and our Higher Power. Thomas Keating, who teaches Centering Prayer, a Christian Meditation method, teaches that meditation (prayer) is opening ourselves to a deeper relationship with God. This relationship with God develops through a process of growing intimacy.” As we know relationships take time, effort and patience to grow from acquaintanceship, friendliness, friendship and finally to intimacy. Through our practice of meditation, with patience, we are developing an intimate relationship with our true selves and our Higher Power.

Practice, Practice, Practice

My sponsor, when I got sober, taught me the concept of “practicing.” He suggested that I “practice” life in the same way that I “practiced” for sports. When I begin I am not very good, maybe awful. It can be frustrating starting a new spiritual practice. But as I continue to try, learn better skills, practice with others, and improve practicing turns into proficiency.

Imagine how our lives, minds and emotions are like a polluted lake when we get sober. Even if we begin meditating later in sobriety we still have some of this pollution in our system. Vedanta, the philosophical basis of Hinduism, teaches that meditation is learning to master the mind. “Vedanta says that we can master the mind and, through repeated practice, we can make the mind our servant rather than being its victim. The mind, when trained, is our truest friend; when left untrained and reckless, it’s an enemy that won’t leave the premises.”

After a period of practicing, “now, instead of the polluted lake we previously envisioned, think of a beautiful, clear lake. No waves, no pollution, no tourists, no speedboats. It’s clear as glass: calm, quiet, tranquil. Looking down through the pure water, you can clearly see the bottom of the lake,” from Vedanta: A Simple Introduction by Pravrajika Vrajaprana. The bottom of the lake is reality, the present moment, truth, God.

Pursue and practice meditation to discover for yourself the benefits (promises) of emotional stability, serenity, improved health and a life of quality sobriety.

Perseverance

According to www.dictionary.com, “perseverance commonly suggests activity maintained in spite of difficulties or steadfast and long-continued application.” This is also a synonym of persistence, but it is such a vital ingredient to spiritual life that I feel it is worthy repeating!

When I was drinking and trying to stay sober, I was often a quitter. I gave up on people, places, things and myself. Be steadfast in your persistence in staying sober and learning to meditate. There is so much evidence that this effort with meditation will bring your great rewards beginning with emotional balance.

Presence

We need to find every method we can to be present in the moment and in the presence of our higher power. Meditation is the greatest practice that I know that will help you accomplish this. It is a wonderful spiritual exercise in connecting to, and in spending quality time, in the presence of your higher power. This is conscious contact, the advanced part of the 11th Step. While it is vital to begin learning and practicing meditation early in recovery we may only find moments of “presence” or conscious contact with God until we have practiced meditation for a while.

The phrase “being in the Now” is uttered more often lately in meetings I’ve noticed. We spend too much time trapped in our thoughts, fueling our roller coaster emotions, stuck in the past, or worrying about the future. Life, reality, God, can only be found and experienced in the present moment. Meditation gives us a perfect way to detach from all that interrupts our “presence” and let’s us learn to spend quality time within the presence our higher power.

Wayne Dyer in his book, Getting in the Gap, summarizes this perfectly for us:

“The paramount reason for making meditation a part of our daily life is to join forces with our sacred energy and regain the power of our Source (God). Through meditation, we can tap in to an abundance of creative energy that resides within us, and a more meaningful experience of life. By meditating, we come to know God rather than know about God.” (page 2) “It’s been said that it’s the space between the bars that holds the tiger. And it’s the silence between the notes that makes the music. It is out of the silence, or “the gap” or the space between our thoughts that everything is created – including our own bliss.” page 71

“By making conscious contact with God, it is said that you will come to know the power of that Source and use that power to attract anything into your life. God is that one force in the universe that is indivisible. There’s only one force, one power, and you can’t divide it.” page 72

Remember – Persistence, Patience, Practice, Perseverance, Presence!

SpiritStep Ten Meditation

At this point you have experienced a taste of the fruits of meditation and understand the value of a regular, disciplined practice of meditation. To apply the 10th step to your meditation means to strive to be consistent and persistent in meditating daily.

This 10th Step Meditation is an opportunity to use this as a daily meditation format or to add it as a 2nd, evening mediation to your practice.

Here is a 10th Step Meditation Outline that you can use and adapt to your own practice.

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.

2. Aligning our bodies with our SpiritSelf and with your Higher Power’s will

  • I offer myself to my Higher Power.  Imagine that that your are offering your body, emotions that thoughts as an instrument to help others in your life.
  • To do with me and to build with my as it will.  Try to lift up your emotions from those of your PersonalSelf of fear and resentment to love and empathy with others. Practice being the love that you are and feel this love motivate you to help others.
  • I am now relieved of the bondage of self. Strive to point your thoughts to positive loving images and patterns. Our thoughts become our lives. Here we practice programming healthy thought patterns.

3. Begin our Step 10 Reflective meditation segment.

  • Hold the attitude of the Observer and mentally walk through our entire day- Notice when your mind tries to deviate because of emotions or mental baggage attached to the resentment or fear, defect or the person we harmed.
  • Relax into your insights into about each situation you mishandled and to see if further perceptions will come to you.
  • Keep the intention of the 10th step meditation present – to take a personal inventory of our day. Your mind will try to distract you from the work you are doing.
  • Remember, we are weeding our Spiritual Gardens through this daily moral inventory correcting our missteps in meditation and planning our outer corrective actions.
  • Identify and heal our spiritual wounds, – resentments and fears, where our defects.
    • Take a few minutes to visualize and surround the situation you mishandled with a healing cloud of light and love.
    • Focus on this intention: The light of our Higher Power surrounds us. The love of our Higher Power enfolds us.
  • We will also identify our positive spiritual moments to nurture and increase these in our lives.
  • Slowly bring your awareness back into the room and your body.  End your meditation slowly and sit quietly for a few minutes to absorb the experience.

 

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