Meditation and 12 Steps to Innovate for Recovering Humans

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1st Step to Innovating through Meditation for Recovering Humans

1st Step to Innovating through Meditation for Recovering Humans

I’ve noticed that we are all recovering in our lives from one thing or another. This is a joy of being human – imperfection.  But some of us choose a path to improve our selves and our lives. I’ve been sober for 17 years and have learned to frame my choices within the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. They are the guiding signposts in my life and and the primary framework to innovate my life.  A definition of “to innovate” is to introduce something new; make changes in anything established.

Personal innovation and change brings improved lives and in business it brings career growth and evolution.  Recovery from alcoholism and addiction is imperative for those of us with this disease. It is life and death. Many choose death rather than changing their lives.  We are all addicted to something.  For non-alcoholics these addictions can be work, social media, food, relationships, anything that we obsess about that gets in the way of living our lives productively in love and service.

In our personal lives and in our work lives we need to constantly be willing to change and innovate how we perceive and interact with the people in our lives and our rapidly evolving society.  Change is happening so fast, technology, science, politics,society and our family institutions, that we if we are coasting and not evolving our selves we are going down hill, so to speak.

As I began trying to meditate early in sobriety, I discovered, that in addition to being powerless over alcohol and other outside things, I am also powerless over my mind and the constant thoughts that demand my attention. I am unmanageble_thoughts_emotionspowerless over my emotions and I let the outward circumstances of the past, present and future affect how I feel. And, I am powerless over my body, the cravings, injuries, disease and other funny tricks that it uses to capture my attention. I am powerless over the world I live in, my family, my work and the outside world.

The 1st Step of Alcoholics Anonymous states that “we are powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.

”The 1st Step in learning meditation is “we are powerless over our thoughts Spiritstep One Guided Meditationand emotions and that they are unmanageable.” Powerless in this context does not imply that I cannot make changes but that these things happen automatically.  I am human and my brain is designed to generate thoughts and emotions based on previous emotional programming from my past. Today, I am unable to stop these thoughts, but I can change my perspective and relationship to them.  I can relax and let go of these thoughts and emotions.

When I finally stayed sober, I was doing the outward actions of the Steps and the program, but something was missing, something – a connectedness, a feeling of belonging.  I felt an inner pull toward something within myself. After a time, I realized that I needed to re-connect to a practice of meditation to discover the sources of this connectedness that I had sporadically pursued and read about over the years.

I began an inner journey of learning about meditation, while, at the same time, I became active in my AA spiritual program, attended meetings, worked the steps with my sponsor, and found ways to be of service to others. The beginning meditation techniques I discovered helped me to relax, slow down, quiet the thoughts, sooth the emotions…surrender and to detach from our old ways of living and our old self.

Here is a guided beginning meditation. Listen, and meditate now with this beginning 11th Step Meditation from the SpiritStep One CD

Tips on taking your daily spiritual vitamin – Meditation

Here are some tips to help you develop your practice of meditation. Remember, as with any exercise or new activity it is not always easy getting started. Please, be patient with yourself and the process, use tools such as, 11th Step Meditation meetings, guided meditation CDs, or any other tools to help as you get started.

When to meditate? Mornings are best, but anytime you can find 15 to 20 minutes in a relatively quiet location will be ok.

  • Where to meditate? Find a comfortable place to sit that is relatively quiet. Where you will not be disturbed. You may hear outside noises or experience distractions, but that is ok.
  • How to sit? There are meditation practices that suggest specific postures for sitting. You will have a better chance of staying awake while meditating if you sit up straight with both feet on the floor and your hands in your lap.
  • A few words about thoughts during meditation. It seems easier to teach beginning meditators to use a guided meditation that is active that uses affirmations and imagery to concentrate on to start with. This gives you something to concentrate upon and help detach from the constant stream of thoughts
  • Our minds are designed to think and they usually keep us very busy reminding us of our past mistakes, replaying emotional scenes in our mind or worrying about what will happen in the future. We cannot stop our mind from thinking as we meditate. The trick is to learn to not grab onto any particular thought or to let it dominate our attention, or even try to ignore them.
  • As thoughts arise in your meditation just watch them float by, as if on a cloud or in a stream. It is OK to notice these thoughts. Become the observer of your thoughts. This is the practice of meditation and know that this will be a skill that becomes easier the more that you meditate.
  • I suggest that you use the guided meditations a number of times before you practice it by yourself so you are familiar with the each step.
  • We are what we think and the affirmations are a spiritual exercise towards this realigning of our thoughts and of our lives.

Please do not get discouraged and give up. Meditation takes practice. You will think that you are not being very productive, that you are distracted and not doing it right. Persist through this. Be consistent. You will discover the fruits of your meditation over time. The first goal achieved will be emotional balance, a calm within the storm of our thoughts and emotions. This is Serenity! Discover it and Stick with it.

Intro to Innovating through Meditation for Recovering Humans

Intro to Innovating through Meditation for Recovering Humans

We are multidimensional beings living in a multidimensional world with multidimensional illnesses.  Wow. What does this mean and how does it relate to my life and my spiritual program?  I’d like to invite you to join us on a journey to explore what this means, how this perspective relates to me and the 12 Step program of recovery as outlined by Alcoholics Anonymous, and how this paradigm and meditation can help heal us from many of our defects.

In 1935 the program of Alcoholics Anonymous was started with 2 alcoholics helping each other to recover a seemingly hopeless spiritual malady. From the depths of the Great Depression of our country and their personal bottoms they helped innovate a spiritual program of recovery that today has help millions of people recovery from addiction. In 1999 Time listed him as “Bill W.: The Healer” in the Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century.[

The success of an innovating idea is the amount of spin-offs and adaptions an idea has to solve other related problems. This simple 12 Step healing process as outlined by the founders of AA has morphed into close to 100 related Anonymous groups to help with other types of addictions.

Human have multiple operating systems that must be seamlessly integrated with each other to work at it was ultimately designed to work. These human operating systems are our:

  • Physical bodies
  • Emotional bodies
  • Mental systems
  • Spiritual systems
  • Universal systems

We usually strive to heal and correct our immediate problem but we can reach Meister Eckhart Layers of Selfinto the root systems that helped cause the problem.  Not only did I need to stop drinking but I need to heal my way of thinking, feeling, and interacting with others and our world.

I got sober in 1998 and immediately was drawn to the meditation aspect of the program. The 11th Step of AA’s Step Steps states “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

Today we are learning to innovate once again within the 12 step program by applying meditation to each of the 12 Steps.  We have discovered that the spiritual perspective and action of each step can be practiced and enhanced with meditation techniques and practices.

We invite you to join us on a year long journey of spiritual exploration through meditation of the 12 steps.  Here is the first Blog Post on the 1st Step in this journey.