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 that out.







Share One
Share Two

Leader's Share and Step Questions


My name is Shlomo
I am a compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop.

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 that out.

Now that we are in recovery we have to act to improve our conscious contact
With H.P., since unless we progress in our spiritual life, we begin to regress.
We improve our conscious contact by prayer and meditation on a daily basis.

The Big Book says that prayer does work if it is the right one.

"It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it." page 86.

So what is the proper prayer attitude? Step 11 says it is asking to know God's will for us, and asking for the power to carry it out, since even if we
Know what is God's will for us we sometimes don't have the power to carry it
Out, and we need God's help.

But why always "God's will not mine be done?" Cannot I use my will, you may
Ask. Sure, I can use it to do God's will.

Here are the reasons as I understand them. Our perception of reality is
Limited. We may visualize reality as a picture puzzle with an infinite
Number of pieces. We see only very few of them which means that we don't see
The whole picture and therefore cannot really know what is best for us. God's perception is unlimited. So God knows what actions we should take for our
Highest good. Since God is the embodiment of love, He wants for us the highest good that we would have wanted for ourselves if we could see the whole picture. Therefore conforming our will to God's will makes perfect sense, since by doing it we act for our highest good.

Prayer is the way we talk with God, but a relation with someone is a two way
Street. If we talk we should also listen to the other one's answer. The same
Is true for our relationship with God. There is the talking part which is
the prayer and there is the listening part which is meditation.

Here are some quotes from the Big Book about meditation.
" ... I was to sit quietly when in doubt, asking only for direction and
strength to meet my problems as He would have me." page 13.
" ... He has come to all who have honestly sought Him. When we drew near to
Him He disclosed Himself to us." page 57.
" ... In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter
The right answer will come if we want it." page 69.
" ... We ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or decision." page 86
"We relax and take it easy. We don't struggle. We are often surprised how
the right answers come..." page 86.

These quotes give us some guidelines about meditation according to the Big Book. Let me just arrange these guidelines in an order that is sensible to me. In the morning or any part of the day that is suitable for us,
We begin our meditation by sitting quietly and relaxing. Then we
Ask God for guidance and direction on some matter or problem. Then we listen
And wait for God's answers. They come as inspiration, intuitive thought or intuitive decision.

The AA cofounders used an expanded version of this meditation and called it QUIET TIME MEDITATION. They used to meet every morning and do the quiet time
Meditation together.
Here are specific suggestions for quiet time meditation, which is also called listening to God:

1. Find some place and time where you can be alone, quiet and undisturbed.
Most people have found that the early morning is the best time.
Have with you a notebook and a pen.

2. Sit in a comfortable position. Consciously relax your muscles, you can do some deep breathing to facilitate relaxation,
Or any other relaxation method that you are familiar with. Be loose, there is no
hurry.

3. Begin with a prayer either silently or aloud. just say to God in a natural way that you would like to have some directions for today.

4. Just be still, quiet, relaxed and open. Let your mind go "loose."
Thoughts ideas, and impressions will begin to come into your
Mind and heart. Be alert and aware and open to them.

5. WRITE DOWN everything that comes into your mind. EVERYTHING.
Writing is simply a means of recording so that you can remember later.
Don't sort out or edit your thoughts at this point. Don't try to direct your thinking.
Just write down whatever comes to mind without trying to control anything.
Write down any kind of thought. Anything that passes your mind without omitting anything. It can be all kinds of feelings, names of people, things to do, things to say, things that are wrong and need to be made right, good thoughts, bad thoughts
Sensible thoughts, crazy thoughts, neutral thoughts - anything at all. Be honest - WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING - without directing your thoughts.

6. When the flow of thoughts slows down or when you feel that you have written enough, stop. Not every thought comes from God, so we need to test our thoughts. Here is where the written record helps us to be able to do so.
A) Have you written thoughts whose origins are fear, or dishonesty, or
resentment, or selfishness?
Those are self-will thoughts. Draw a line on them.
B) Have you written some thoughts that are completely HONEST, PURE, UNSELFISH AND LOVING?
C) Have you written thoughts that are in line with our duties to our family
- to our country?
D) Are these thoughts in line with your understanding of the teachings found
In our spiritual literature?

Thoughts b), c), d), probably express guidance from God.

7. When in doubt share with another person who is familiar with what you are trying to do.
He may help you to see more clearly.

8. Carry out the thoughts that you think express guidance from H.P. You will
Only be sure of guidance as you go through it. As you obey, very often the results will convince you that you are on the right track.

9. What if I don't seem to get any definite guidance thoughts? God's guidance is as freely available as the air we breathe. If I am not receiving
Guidance thoughts when I listen, the fault is mine. Usually it is because there is something I will not do.
- Something wrong in my life that I will not face and make right,
- a habit or indulgence I will not give up,
- a person I will not forgive,
- a wrong relationship in my life I will not give up,
- a restitution I will not make,
- something God has already told me to do that I will not obey.

Check these points and be honest. Then try listening again.

10. What if I make mistakes? God will help me put them right as long as I am sincere in my efforts. Supposing I fail to do something I have been told and the opportunity passes? Then I have to tell God about it, ask His forgiveness and begin again.

11. I think that all persons who try this honestly find that a wisdom, not their own, comes into their minds and that a Power greater than human power begins to operate in their lives.

Now let us see what the A.A. 12 & 12 has to say about prayer and meditation.

"Prayer and meditation are our principal means of conscious contact with God." page 96.

"There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer.
Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life. Now and then we may be granted a glimpse of that ultimate reality which is God's kingdom. And we will be comforted and assured that our own destiny in that realm will be secure for so long as we try, however falteringly, to find and do the will of our own Creator."

The AA 12& 12 step 11, presents an example of another kind of meditation which uses creative visualization for relaxation and contemplative reading for meditation.

In the relaxation we visualize ourself lying upon a sunlit beach looking and listening to the calming waves.
And we let our beach surroundings draw us into relaxation.
Then we read some spiritual material and contemplate on it.
The 12& 12 suggests as an example the prayer of saint Francis of Assisi.
A detailed explanation is given on pages 99-101 in the AA 12&12.

Another third example of a short (5-10 minutes) and simple meditation is as follows:
Sit comfortably beside a table and have your notebook and pen with you.
Relax by taking a few deep breaths, then close your eyes and sit quietly.
If some upsetting thoughts or feelings arise write them shortly in your notebook and continue to sit quietly for no more than ten minutes.
If no upsetting feelings or thoughts arise during this meditation it means that you are in conscious contact.
If they did arise It means that your contact is disturbed and you deal with those feelings after the meditation by applying the steps to them.

ASIGNMENTS:
1. Read the chapter "Into Action" pages 84-88 every day on a regular basis

2. Read step 11 pages 96-105 in the AA 12&12.
Mark and copy the sentences that give you new information.
Share with us.

3. Explain the difference between the type of prayer suggested in step 11,
and the prayers you used to say before doing the program.

4. Practice the silent time meditation for a few days, then practice the contemplative meditation for a few days, and then practice the short meditation for a few days. Choose which one suits you and practice it regularly on a daily basis. You can of course choose any other type of meditation that helps you to improve your conscious contact with H.P. Remember to say a short prayer before practicing a meditation. Share the effects of the meditations with us.


You are invited to send me questions and comments to:
10.shaft@gmail.com

Send your answers to the assignments to: wts@lists.therecoverygroup.org

Have a nice day.

Shlomo

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Hi everyone

My name is Shlomo
I am a compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop.

In the previous post we discussed prayer and meditation in the framework of
Step 11. But that is not all there is to step 11. The Big Book gives
Specific detailed suggestions on working step 11 at night, in the morning
And during the day. Chapter Into action pages 85-88

Let us see the "at night" suggestions:

"When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we
Resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept
Something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at
Once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better?
Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what
We could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But
We must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection,
For that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we
Ask God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken." Page 86.

We see here that at night we make a constructive review of our day. We don't
Do this review in order to criticize ourselves, but in order to learn from
Our mistakes and correct them, and in order to further develop and grow on
The spiritual path. The suggestions are quite similar to the spot check
Suggestions of step ten. But here we do an in-depth job on our whole day.
Since it is not a quick spot check, I suggest we do it in writing
Which for me is always preferred to doing it in my head.

Let me list the suggestions here, as a list of questions to answer every evening, preferably in writing:

LIST OF QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED AT NIGHT IN ORDER TO REVIEW THE DAY.
1. Was I resentful today?
If the answer is YES, then I ask: Am I still resentful now? If the answer is
YES, I do step 4, preferably in writing (resentment table), continue with
Step 5 by sharing with someone, who does not necessarily have to be the
Sponsor, and continue with steps 6 and 7.

2. Was I selfish today?

3. Was I dishonest today?

If the answer to questions 2 and/or 3, is YES, than I share with someone and
Work steps 6 and 7 on these defects.

4. Was I afraid today?
If the answer is YES, I ask: am I still afraid? If the answer is still YES,
I work step 4 on the fear (fill a fear table), share with someone and
Continue with steps 6 and 7 on the fear.

5. Do I owe an amend today?
If the answer is YES I do step 4 on harm done to others, share with someone
And continue with steps 6-9. I set a near time for making amends, usually
Tomorrow.

6. Have I kept something to myself that should be discussed with another
Person at once today?
If the answer is YES, I share with someone now, or if
That is not possible, than I commit to sharing tomorrow.

7. Was I thinking of myself most of the time today?
If the answer is YES, then I think on what I can do to be of more use to H.P
And others, and commit to doing something about it this evening or tomorrow

8. Was I kind towards all today?
If the answer is NO, then I commit to being kind this evening to my family
And commit to being more kind to others tomorrow.

9. Was I loving towards all today?
If the answer is NO, I pray to God to make me more loving. I don't think I
Can be loving towards all yet, so according to the situation I commit to use
More restraint in the worst case. In other cases I commit to be more
Accepting and less critical, and in the easier cases I commit to be more
Loving. Some of these things I can begin practicing with my family this
Evening and some I commit to practice at work tomorrow, or wherever I may be

And I try to be specific.

10. What could I have done better today?
Here I check what I did during my day and ask myself what improvements I
Could make in my words and actions. Then I commit to making them tomorrow to
The best of my ability.

11. Was I thinking of what I could do for others today?
If NOT than I think about it now and commit to do some specific things for
Others this evening and tomorrow.

12. Was I thinking of what I could pack into the stream of life today?
If NOT, than I do it now. It can be some spiritual endeavor, or being more
Efficient (not loafing at my work, etc.) and commit to do something about it
This evening or tomorrow.

I take care to make all my commitments as triple commitments, to myself, to H.P. and to someone else.

It is interesting to note that there are 12 questions.
The first 7 deal with checking for actions based on self will.
The last 5 questions deal with checking for actions based on God's will.
Therefore this is a balanced review. Doing it every night works miracles.

Now a remark:
There is a difference between asking "was I resentful today" and "was I angry today?"
Anger is a feeling that arises and is dissipated after a short time. A resentment is a feeling that I carry with me for a long time. It can even be
Many years. If I became angry during the day and the anger didn't disappear and is still with me in the evening then it means that it turned into a resentment.

A possible definition of resentment is: A feeling of continuous anger for a
real or imaginary provocation or insult. It can also manifest by blaming
others or hating others.

After answering all those questions and committing to do some actions, I remind myself that I must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish my usefulness to others. Then I
Say a prayer of my choice.


Is this all there is to this daily review at night you may ask. The answer is NO. The AA 12 and 12 has some additional suggestions. The suggestions appear in the chapter on step ten. That's probably the reason why this daily
Review at night is also called "step ten" by a lot of people.
I still prefer to call it "step 11 at night" since this is the way it is arranged in the Big Book, and it reminds me that there is a step ten that is a spot check During the day, and that it should not be ignored.
But the names are not that important. What is important is the actions we take.

The A.A. 12 & 12 Step 10 pages 93-95
Expands the Big Book's explanations and tells us to be
aware of defects that masquerade as assets. It also tells us that our daily review should include not only what we did wrong, but also what we did right
In order to balance the daily review , we write a two column list.
In the left column make a list (one under the other) of all the things that
Pleased you during that day. In the second column beside each item on the
List, write down what Talents, Strengths, Abilities or Qualities in you
Enabled that positive experience to occur.

EXAMPLE: One of the items on your list for today may be this step workshop.
So write that down as something that pleased you, then list what in you
Enabled you to participate in this workshop, such as commitment to self,
Open mindedness, willingness to explore, your talent at learning,
Willingness to confront difficult issues, etc.

This table will be called DAILY REVIEW OF RIGHT THINGS IN MY LIFE.

Now look over the assets listed in the second column of your daily review.
Compare them to the assets on your GENERAL PERSONAL ASSET LIST that we did in step seven.
Add to the GENERAL ASSET LIST, any additional assets that appear on your DAILY REVIEW.

As you can see you fill a new "daily review of right things" every evening. The "personal general asset list" is not written anew every evening, but it grows as
You add to it assets from your daily review.

After doing it you read your enlarged asset list aloud every day.

The process for developing a daily asset list and asset review,
Essentially deals with strengthening our vulnerability in the areas of self-trust, self-worth, self-love, etc.
When they strengthen, a lot of our defensive behaviors are not needed anymore and
They diminish and vanish. Therefore I consider this procedure a blanket
Treatment that covers a lot of cases. I think it is very important and I
Highly recommend practicing it on a daily basis.

An ESH suggestion that I add here is the following:
Before getting into bed to sleep I ask H.P. To guide me during my sleep.
This is a real bonus. I sometimes get guidance during dreams and sometimes
When I wake up in the morning I just know the answer to a problem that
Bothered me. Try it and see how it works for you.

So far we dealt with what do do at night now we will deal with what to do in the morning when we wake up.

STEP 11 IN THE MORNING:
It is written in the Big Book, chapter Into Action Page 86.
"On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider
Our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking,
Especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or
self-seeking motives."

We see that the Big Book suggests we begin the morning with a prayer.
A day that is God-directed is a day of recovery. Here is what the Big Book
Has to say about it:
"Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance,
For after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on
A much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives." Page 86.

But how do we get directions from God? By listening to them. Which means
That after saying the prayer and asking God to direct our thinking we have
To do our morning meditation in order to get our directions.

The Big Book gives us some meditation suggestions:
"In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to
Determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an
Intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don't
Struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have
Tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional
Inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still
Inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not
Probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for
This presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we
Find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane
Of inspiration. We come to rely upon it." pages 86-87.
The meditation suggestions are similar to the suggestions for Quiet Time Meditation,
Which we discussed in my previous share. The suggestions
For Quiet Time Meditation add writing, which is just a tool to help us
Remember God's messages, and it adds examining our writing to discriminate
Between self will thoughts and God thoughts.

The Big Book suggests we end the meditation with a prayer.
" that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be,
That we be given whatever We need to take care of such problems.
We ask especially for freedom from self-will..."
It should be noticed that in praying we don't ask
To be shown complete projects, just the next step. I think the reason is
Simply that the following step is dependent on what we do in the present

There is yet a "during the day" suggestion that helps us avoid upheaval of emotions before it develops

Big Book Into Action pages 87-88
"As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for
the right thought or action.
We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show,
Humbly saying to ourselves many times a day THY WILL NOT MINE BE DONE.
We are than in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self pity, or foolish decisions."

And a promise " IT WORKS IT REALLY DOES."

It seems like quite a lot of work but practice makes it easy and a natural way of life. A much better and happier life.

LET ME ORDER WHAT I SHARED HERE IN A NUTSHEL.
We do the actions of step eleven during the day,
Several times as needed. I call it traffic control.
We stop to control our emotions and remind ourselves that we are not running the show.
This can take a minute or two each time.
If this does not help and our character defects arise we do step ten which is on the spot check and repair.
At night we do a step 11 review of our day as described in this share, and in the morning we do our prayer and meditation.

ACTION ASSIGNMENTS FOR STEP 11:
1. Read the Big Book Into action pages 84-88 every day

2. Read again the AA 12&12 step 10 pages 93-95 and step 11.

3. Practice the "step eleven during the day" a few times a day even if you feel ok

4. Practice step ten as needed

5. Do step eleven at night every night or if you cannot do it at night do it in the morning.
get up earlier if needed.
Remember to answer the review questions as explained in this share.
Remember to balance the review with the daily review of the right things in your life.
write them in a table as explained here
Read aloud your personal expanded general asset list.
Pray for guidance when you lie to sleep.

6. Do step 11 in the morning every day.
That includes prayer and meditation.

Share the daily work of steps 10-11 with us.

PRELIMINARY STEP TWELVE READING ASSIGNMENTS.
1. Read the Big Book chapters WORKING WITH OTHERS, THE FAMILY AFTERWARD
Mark and copy the sentences that give you new information
Mark and copy the action sentences.

2. Read the following pages in the Big Book that describe Spiritual Awakening or Spiritual Experience
Bill's Story page 14,
There Is A Solution page 27
Into Action pages 83-85
Spiritual Experience ( Appendix II)
Mark the sentences that give you new information.

3. Read the AA 12&12 step 12 . Mark the sentences that give you new information.

Have a nice and fruitful day
You are invite to send comments and questions to my private email.

Shlomo






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