WTS ~ WORKING THE STEPS

2009

STEP ELEVEN
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 it out.



Sought: past tense of seek

Seek: to search, to discover, to endeavor to reach or obtain, to go toward, to make an investigation. It seems to me, we have really been seeking from the very beginning of the steps. We have come through the door of OA to search for a better way. We have tried to discover what would work better than self will. We have attempted to reach a stable place and to obtain some peace of mind. We have moved toward "LOVE" and are still investigating how we can draw nearer to our higher power or better still, how we can now allow our higher power more deeply into our heart and life. We are going to do this seeking through prayer and meditation.

One of the hardest things for me when it comes to prayer is that I was raised in an alcoholic home and learned the "don't talk, don't trust, don't feel" rules to perfection. It is very difficult for me to verbalize prayers sometimes so I write many of them. Also I love to do alot of silent prayers. This is one of the ways I calm the "hamster on the wheel" in my sick mind! If I am praying, I cannot be worrying or analyzing! Recently I got into a habit of an "open posture" toward God. I just really worked on opening up to the divine and nature and the good of the universe. But then, I forgot to specifically ask! My sponsor caught that! If it isn't one thing, then it's another in this complex journey!! Prayer does not come naturally to me. I need alot of help and I am willing to seek that help!

The first thing I pray about is consciousness. Being conscious and grounded in reality, in the moment, is the exact opposite of addiction. Addiction is all about taking a trip. Abstinence is all about staying present--present to my body, to my feelings, to my thought processes, to relationships, to my responsibilities and primarily inviting my higher power into all of these areas.

Consciousness is really what I have tried to avoid from a very young age!

To be consciously aware of Higher Power within and without is amazing to me. It is an awareness that abstinence, the fellowship of OA and the 12 steps makes possible. What a gift! Of course I want to improve that conscious contact. I can do that by praying and meditating as I seek knowledge of God's will for me and the power to carry it out.

First and foremost, I pray about knowing God's will for me as his/her child. I believe God's will for me is to be restored, renewed, redeemed and cared for. I need to learn how to nurture my inner spirit being. Through prayer and meditation I have learned my child spirit is nurtured in nature, music, art, humor and fun, poetry, writing, truth, loving relationships, kindness, gentleness, honesty.

I pray for knowledge of God's will for me concerning everything about my body: what I put in my body, how to take care of my body, how to protect my body and how to set healthy boundaries for my body.

I pray for God's will for me regarding my emotions: how to let them surface from the addictive fog of years past and how to handle the feelings ABOUT the feelings! That's a biggie!! I had to have professional help for that one! I even have to pray about recognizing how I am feeling since I don't have alot of practice with that yet. Then I need to pray for wisdom regarding how to safely and responsibly express my feelings. I have learned there are many options and I need to experiment and find what works best for me under each set of circumstances.

I pray for God's will for me regarding my mental process or mindset. I have found that it is God's will for me to be more knowledgeable about what an addictive mindset is so I can begin to cooperate more fully in my own reprogramming mentally! Sometimes in the past I have thought certain thinking was a matter of personality or creativity and then learned it was part of my illness!!! Time to let that thinking go and replace it with truth instead!

Praying for God's will for me in relationships is a super challenge! My fear of intimacy is huge. I am learning but it is very slow growth! Little by little, I am learning to be who I really am in relationships. Many times I have to pray for willingness and strength to do the right thing over and over again. I fall very short in this area. It is ingrained deeply from a very dysfunctional childhood.

Last but not least, are my responsiblities. Praying for knowledge of God's will and the power to carry it out with my daily tasks rather than to avoid or procrastinate on one end of the spectrum or to take care of other people's responsibilities on the other extreme, is my goal. I have a long ways to go on this one! But it's OK. I am learning. I can relax and learn.

And then praying to understand God. That will take a lifetime. I hope and pray your higher power is as vast and unknowable as mine is! That makes it an awesome journey!

Meditation is simply becoming quiet and knowing God is God. I believe that even stillness itself comes very close to revealing God. There are many ways to meditate. For me the simplest are the best. I like to just breathe in and out normally without any pause between breaths for a minimum of 5 minutes but preferably 15-30 minutes. I try to do this at work often. Because I am concentrating on my breathing, any kind of "revelation" seems to kind of "float" to me afterwards when I have gone on to the tasks in front of me. The car and restroom are places that God reveals little pieces of truth to me and usually at the most unexpected times!!

I also use a CD that has a background of nature sounds like water lapping the shore, birds, tree frogs, breezes through the trees and soft music. I sit in a recliner and relax and just close my eyes and pretend I am sitting by a lake. Many times I fall asleep to this CD. I have become so relaxed with this process that I can turn this on at work and I immediately feel the same peace as when I am at home meditating!

I have meditated to mindfulness CDs on different topics such as body awareness and mindful eating. These are available through the public library many times.

One other way I like to meditate is to combine soothing smells with ideas or truth. In step 11 in the AA 12x12 it talks about meditating on important prayers and I just added the smells because I believe anytime I add another sense to a process it is more powerful. You could also incorporate touch as in the way some use prayer beads.

The sense of taste we compulsive overeaters have generally overdeveloped! All the other senses can be developed and be a great source of comfort and support to us rather than depend on one sense.

When all else fails to bring me the groundedness I am needing, sitting in nature and absorbing the sights, sounds, textures, the smells, and yes, even taste, can usually open me back up to the Creator. My first awareness of my creator was in nature as a child so this is very basic to me.

I have not mentioned prayers for others because step 11 is about praying for God's will for me but many times I do pray for others and ask God if I might be part of the answer to the prayer. May I be a channel of his peace, love, power, and understanding. There are so many ways to contribute to other people's lives. Relieved of the bondage of self, we are able to comprehend the golden rule to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. If I were newly diagnosed with cancer, would I want advice or pat answers? Or would I appreciate a 'thinking of you' card that could be read when I felt up to it? One of the things I feel the best about is that when my mom was dying of cancer and she really didn't feel up to company, I would just sit by her side and say, Mom, I just want to sit with you. I just want to be here. Not to talk or have you give me anything at all. Just let me be here in the room with you. And then she would smile so weakly and go right to sleep. I don't think she had ever had anyone say that they just wanted to be with her before. She had always been the matriarch of the family--the oldest adult daughter and a nurse as well. She was always the one we called. So many times strong people, capable people, just need to know someone cares about them, not for what they do, but for who they are. We don't even have to wait until they are sick to let them know. Even strong people are just people. They need caring and appreciation too! Don't forget the strong people in your life! We hear much about caring for the less fortunate. Let's care about everyone and not put those 'above or below' labels on them!

Well, that's my story on prayer and meditation. Hopefully with the assignments below, you will discover your way! Be very open, and don't forget to ask!


READING ASSIGNMENTS:

AA Big Book: pages 85-88

AA 12x12: Summary page 8 Step 11 pages 96-105

OA 12x12 Step 11 pages 91-98

Questions for Reflection:

AA Big Book

1. Note that in step ten as we did spot inventory checks during the day we were looking for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. Now in step eleven these traits are repeated right before we go to bed at night. What are the specific instructions for dealing with these traits before we go to sleep? What does the word constructively mean to you?
2. How are we to approach each new day as we awaken? How do we pray throughout the day? What do we say to ourselves many times each day?



AA 12x12

1. What is the first result of meditation? Do you now meditate? Do you need help in this area? Are you willing to ask for help and seek out more help to gain the results needed?
2. What provides an unshakeable foundation for life?
3. After meditating on the prayer on page 99, share with us how you envision yourself, your higher power, or the universe after considering pages 100-101.
4. Read the last paragraph of this chapter and share with us if you have this sense of belonging. What is that like for you now compared to the past?



OA 12x12

1. In OA we are free to develop our relationship with the God of our understanding. What else is required to develop this important relationship? Do you give quality time to developing this relationship? Are you consistent about talking and listening to HP?
2. Why do we pray about our own concerns? (p. 94-95) What does this mean to you?
3. How do you express your anger with HP?
4. Do you write letters to God? Do you allow HP to write back to you? (known as God dialog)
5. After reading pages 96-97 share with us what your meditation practice is and if you have not yet begun to practice meditation what are your intentions to begin including this in your spirituality? Hopefully those who have more ESH in this area can be an encouragement to the rest of us!!



Optional Visual journaling assignment:

Draw a picture of your HP using color and light and whatever images seem to speak to you of the universal good or the GOMU(God of my understanding)!!


Meditate on this colorful image frequently this week and the weeks to come.

Many blessings to you as you practice prayer and meditation—inviting HP more fully into your lives!!!

In love and surrender,

Linda E.



 
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