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, we cannot do it for you! But we can, and have tried, to provide you with the tools, the information, the encouragement and a special place to explore and experience this.
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:
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 suggested 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.
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.
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.
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!