Spiritually Waking up for Ourselves, Other Alcoholics
and the World
The final step in the 11th Step Meditation goal of spiritual awakening is in sharing how we awakened with others, and in being of service to others. We express our SpiritSelf, our higher spiritual nature, throughout all aspects of our life. In our meditation practices and in working the steps we have learned that a core aspect of our Higher Power and our SpiritSelf is love.
The steps of Alcoholics Anonymous walk us through the journey of waking up to the reality and the truth about ourselves. We learn to detach from our ego, our FalseSelf, our past wrong actions, emotions and thoughts, so that we may live in the “sunlight of spirit” and express the love within us in our lives. Step Twelve is expressed through being of service and service can be defined as love in action. This new perspective on life is made possible by a spiritual awakening, which brings about a personality shift, a paradigm shift, and a new passion to our lives.
We can express this step by living a life that includes all of the steps, every day. This is our personal evolution as humans, from a personality, “me” oriented perspective, to a realization that we are not separate and alone, that we are one with all things in the Universe. Our new mission is to express love in all areas of our lives.
Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Meditation aspect of Step 12: Having had a deeper spiritual awakening as the result of our 11th Step Meditation practice, we tried to carry this message of meditation to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Try an online Guided 12th Step Being of Service Meditation. We suggest that you read the article first before doing this meditation.
Step Twelve Service Meditation
What is a spiritual awakening? In the 11th Step Meditation approach to the steps we have looked at the inner spiritual aspect of each step and have practiced creating spiritual connections in our meditation. The awakening is the realization and the bringing forth of our SpiritSelf into our consciousness and into our daily lives. It is literally a “waking up” from our ego, the illusions of our thoughts, emotions and our physical bodies, and discovering the Sunlight of the Spirit. This process begins by making a thousand decisions every day to not act selfishly or to live in fear. We build a conscious contact with our Higher Power, learn to instinctively know what the next right action is, and to remember that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. We establish the habit of spending at least 20-30 minutes each day in meditation to strive to improve our connection to our SpiritSelf and to our Higher Power and continue to evolve ourselves to more thoroughly express our lives as spiritual beings.
The psychologist William James calls the process that we practice in the 11th Step Meditation approach the "educational variety" of spiritual experience. We have experienced how the slow, persistent and consistent practice of meditation and of taking the next right action changes lives. Often, we cannot see the visible signs of progress along this path even though we sense a greater calm and understanding of many things than we did before. Those close to us can see these changes, often very soon, after we begin practicing meditation. “With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves. Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves the essence of spiritual experience. Our more religious members call it "God-consciousness." (BB pg “Spiritual Experience” pg 569-570)
Our purpose in the 12th Step is to carry the message of our spiritual awakening to our fellow alcoholics. How can we best accomplish this? We live the spiritual life as an example to others. We continue to apply our steps in our everyday life. We continue to improve our conscious contact with God through a regular practice of meditation. We look for the many ways that we can be of service to others in the world. We show the newcomer how to begin the path of a new spiritual journey as we have discovered. We practice the 11th Step Meditation intentions in our lives:
Learn to meditate. I will persevere with patience to learn how to meditate to discover spiritual sobriety.
Meditate every day. I will be an example of living and actively practicing 11th Step Meditation everyday.
Meditate in groups. I will attend meditation groups or will start up an 11th Step Meditation Meeting in my community.
Help others to meditate. I will share my experience, strength and hope about my 11th Step Meditation practice with others.
Through service we learn to identify with those who we serve, and so a shift occurs in our center of focus. It shifts from the personal, the selfish, to the impersonal, the unselfish. And, in doing this, we identify more and more, with more and more. Our awareness expands. The path is through service. That is why it was instituted and demonstrated over and over by many spiritual teachers, as a lever for spiritual growth. As we begin to serve, we become less focused upon our FalseSelf, we identify with others and our world. And when we can identify with everything that is, we are a part everything that is. We are one with Higher Power.
The message that Step Twelve carries is this: “Tell him exactly what happened to you. Stress the spiritual feature freely. If the man be agnostic or atheist, make it emphatic that he does not have to agree with your conception of God. He can choose any conception he likes, provided it makes sense to him. The main thing is that he be willing to believe in a Power greater than himself and that he live by spiritual principles.” (Big Book Pg 93) Wecan practice this with our 11th Step Meditation approach to the steps.This is our means of service to the newcomer. To show them, by our example, how we learned to live a spiritual life, and encourage them to begin the practice of learning to meditate. Service is nothing less than the demonstration in our relationships of the law of love. It is the love of God in action. We love the newcomer. Teach them to meditate from the beginning of their sobriety.
We have looked briefly at instances where all of the major religions are similar in the teaching of the Golden Rule and the expression of love through our lives. Step Twelve shows us how to include these teachings and spiritual principles in our daily prayer and meditations. As we have learned to develop our practice of meditation we are beginning to sense the fruits of this labor.
Meditation enables contact and rapport with one’s SpiritSelf or one’s soul. The actions of doing service enables one to carry out the God’s will, thereby moving one’s focus away from our FalseSelf and enhancing spiritual growth. The more our connection with our SpiritSelf grows, the more opportunities become available to us, and the greater will be our desire to be of service to others. As we serve, we grow in service and we grow in love. As we grow in love, we grow into more service and into more love. It is the nature of God to love and to serve.
The twin ways of the path to expressing our SpiritSelf and following God’s Will are meditation and service. Through meditation, contact with the SpiritSelf is deepened and strengthened, gradually bringing about a stronger connection between our FalseSelf and our SpiritSelf.
Through service, the purpose of our SpiritSelf is carried out. The nature of the SpiritSelf is to serve; it knows only selfless service; all that it is of Will, Love and Intelligence it seeks to express service to God, to others and to our world. The Path of Service combined with meditation is the best way to realizing our SpiritSelf.
The great illusion of our past life was our obsession on our thoughts, emotions and actions and we thought of ourselves as being at the center of the Universe. Nothing is as effective in turning our attention away from ourselves and towards God as service. Nothing better helps us to gain perspective and to grow spiritually. As we serve, we identify more and more with "the other", that which we serve, and gradually shift the focus of our attention from our little separate selves. We gain a broader, more inclusive vision of the world and so come into a more correct relationship with the Whole of which we are a part.
As we serve, we change. Why do we change? 12th Step service works within us to perform a miracle. It is literally a miracle; a transforming process takes place. Our SpiritSelf leads us to serve, and we begin to serve in whatever small, limited capacity. We can start right where we are now. The aim is to shift out of a totally self-serving, centralized situation. We have all been living as the center of our world. That is the FalseSelf experience for all of us. As alcoholics it is vital that we grow and learn through from this perception as we work the steps. As we serve we shift our point of focus. We identify more and more with that which we serve, until, without our even being aware of it, we lose consciousness of ourselves. We forget ourselves, and as we forget ourselves we become healthier, more potent, more energetic, more spiritual.
This process of the 11th step work, of incorporating active meditation into our life is a long-term project! This requires a commitment to taking the necessary actions to achieve the goal of a serene sobriety, with a greater conscious contact with our higher power and in practicing to live a spiritual life.
It works, it really does!
SpiritStep Twelve Meditation
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 relax into the allness of God
- I am a spiritual being having this human experience
2. Aligning my FalseSelf to be of Service through my SpiritSelf
- I dedicate my actions to serving God’s plan. Visualize your body and imagine your that your body aspires to be of service to God. Our bodies are instruments of God’s will as we connect with our raise our needs up from our FalseSelf to our SpiritSelf.
- I dedicate my emotions to serving God’s plan. Imagine the lifting your emotions above the daily desires, resentments and frustrations to expressing God’s love in many different ways. Our SpiritSelf knows only love. Aspire now to feel God’s love in your heart and to share it with other’s throughout your day.
- I dedicate my thoughts to serving God’s plan. Practice the sensation of knowing God’s Will and understanding God’s world. Lift your mind above the everyday mental chatter and listen in the stillness to the silent voice of God.
3. Now you may visualize or think about anything, person, or situation with which you want to be of Spiritual service towards, keep you focus on your heart center as your channel through God towards others and mentally repeat the Prayer of Protection. This was written by James Dillet Freeman and was read aloud by one of the first Apollo astronauts on the moon.
The light of God surrounds you
The love of God enfolds you
The Power of God protects you
The Presence of God watches over you
Wherever you are, God is and all is well.
3. Thank you God for my sobriety and for guiding me to do your will today.