Step 11 - Getting (More) Spiritual
Step 11 Sought
through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God
as we understood God* praying only for knowledge of God's* will for us
and the power to carry that out.
If we've gotten this far
it's safe to assume that we've made a pretty good effort at turning
our will and our lives over to the care of some sort of Creative
Intelligence. Now, as the second in the so-called maintenance Steps,
we have the opportunity to deepen that connection and begin to live
our lives on a spiritual plane.
Which doesn't mean we
have to give up all desires for material goods, great sex and the work we
long to do! Far from it in fact, this Goddess of our understanding
wants far more for us than we can possibly imagine.
A conscious contact is
just that, awareness that there is something more to life than what's in
our face at the moment. There's more to life than what our parents taught
us, and what we see on TV news and what society as a whole tells us.
How you express that
awareness, how you practice it, is up to you. Although the founders came
from a Christian background, they worked hard not to limit 12 Step
spirituality to that tradition. They went so far as to include an atheist
and to take copies of the Big Book in draft form to as many religious
leaders as they could find in order to be sure they didn't restrict
belief. (The story is told that, when a Buddhist monk looked over the
manuscript he nodded and said something like, "
we would have
preferred the word 'good' to the word 'God'
The point, of course, is
to find your own way, which may take some experimentation and will most
likely change over time.
Step 11 points to
discipline a regular practice of some sort, formal or not. Such a
practice may be as simple as a quick 'make me a channel' type of prayer
said with your first cup of coffee, doing some sort of meditation daily,
or almost daily, joining a religious organization of one sort or another
and worshiping in that manner
the list of possibilities is endless.
If you're not sure how
you want to practice your spirituality, experiment. Ask others, both in
and out of Program. Read, shop for a church, try a meditation or two. This
is truly a case of 'ask and you shall receive,' with willingness the only
key you need.
Of course the biggest
question with Step 11 is how can we know what God's will is for us? Like
all things dealing with faith, there isn't any single or certain way.
We're on the right track if we're being honest with others and ourselves.
Watching out for fear, anger building to resentment and not getting to
Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (HALT). It helps if we learn to plan
without demanding, or even expecting, a particular outcome. Some call it
personal responsibility others simply say it's growing up.
Working with some sort of
regular practice (yes, that word again) can go a long way toward helping
us see ourselves and our world clearly a definite move toward Powerful
*Yes, the original 12
Steps say Him and His but long ago I stopped using gender-based
references for our Higher Power and do so here.
Love, peace and
* I deliberately use gender neutral language, even in the Steps