As the second of the three maintenance steps, step eleven is suggesting we do something else on a regular basis in order to continue to benefit and grow from the spiritual life. If we’ve gotten this far in the steps, by now we know that there really is something to this higher power stuff. With both awe and gratitude, we are open to the idea of staying in touch with this power.
Our literature stresses that petitions to God ought not be like sending a list to Santa, because it’s clear by now that our best thinking got us into this destructive relationship with food, and all the related dysfunction in our lives. The simple suggestion of step eleven is to petition, in prayer, for the knowledge of God’s will for us, and the power to carry it out. Since I was so relieved to find out that I didn’t have to come up with all the answers in my life, I was more than happy to ask God, on a daily basis, for the blessing of his guidance in all my affairs. I have been doing so for about 17 years now.
The other spiritual practice that step eleven suggests is meditation. We are so lucky to have landed in a program that reminds us to meditate, for it is so uniquely therapeutic to simply quiet the mind for a few minutes. Many people talk about having great difficulty sitting still, being quiet. My experience has been that we can start with 2 minutes, or five minutes, which is what I do to this very day – after my writing, and my prayer, I sit quietly for five minutes, and try to keep my mind empty. Or – I might meditate with a centering word or phrase. One of my favorite meditation mantras is “peace be still”. I have found the mind to be very receptive to literal instructions. When I say “peace be still”, I feel peace. Sometimes, during meditation, we will have an intuitive or inspiring thought. I’m quite sure that in those instances we have opened a channel to hear from God.
Step eleven has inspired me to seek many different channels of spiritual sustenance outside of program. Going to a weekend retreat, sitting quietly in a beautiful church, attending a spiritual talk……practicing step eleven on a regular basis for me is seeking always to expose my mind and my soul to spiritual wisdom, wherever I might find it, and to maintain the humility of seeking guidance from my HP on a daily basis.
Questions for reflection:
How have you incorporated step eleven into your daily routine?
What meditation techniques have you tried? Which ones work for you?
Do you have a favorite prayer you might share with us, one that has brought you peaceful alignment with your world?
In loving service,
The Twelve Steps