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Switch to Forum Live View What's your experience with Step 11!
6 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2009 - 7:40AM #1
Seefan
Posts: 3,962

Step 11 tell us to improve our conscious contact with the God of our understanding. If I'm on step 11, it's at this point my life needs to take another turn and become a living prayer and not just words! My life needs to manifest the attributes and qualities which make up the spiritual principles of AA. But it doesn't say improve my life so I can have spiritual experiences of the earth shaking kind, nor so I can talk to God face to face, as if that were even possible! Actually spiritual experiences are very subtle or they get in the way of the real work, which is to refine our personalities and characters into something of which God would be proud. In other words, we need to rid us of the character defects on a daily bases. If we are not spiritually in-tune then we may not recognize those very defects of character that cause the most harm.


An alcoholic, like any precious gem in the rough, doesn't look good at the beginning stage, what with the practice of active alcoholism in all its interesting forms. Once we get into recovery we need to start chipping away the rough exterior called ego. At first it is easy and even enjoyable. We see advancements towards our goals in leaps and bounds. It puts us on cloud nine, so to speak. But once we get deep down into the self, to the quik, it become much harder and even painful for some. Our ego is fighting for what it thinks is its very life (its control of self). But this is the most purifying stage in the alcoholic's development. It is at this stage that we become very conscious of who we are and the awesome potential we have. IMHO we become Recovered Alcoholics.


Along the way there are many time we don't know where we are nor do we want to be making this journey any longer. It seems to be just too darn hard! God doesn't seem to be helping even though it actually is the answer to those secret and silent prayers said during those times of desperation. We are in spiritual limbo with what appears to be worse then if we were drinking - the ego's potential to be reborn into a greater force of encouragement for us to go back out there. But once we travel through this dark night, we enter into the light of day much wiser and stronger ...


Stay the course ...


seefan

Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world ... (Baha'i Writings)
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 29, 2009 - 8:06PM #2
mikeincolorado
Posts: 393

"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."


I guess the first thing that come to mind (focusing on step 11) is that "knowledge of His will" isn't that important. It will come (actually, it's already there, I just can't hear over the cacophony). It cannot be forced, and any effort I put forth to force a spiritual awakening/spiritual experience/psychic change will actually block it from occurring.


In my case the important thing is the seeking, via prayer and meditation. Meditation, especially. I 'm one who scoffed at the idea of meditation. The idea that I'm supposed to quiet my mind, and bring my attention to where I am currently, is/was an extremely foreign idea. One that is difficult and uncomfortable. Small wonder that I avoided it. I was also helped greatly by someone who suggested I had to let go of my idea of prayer. It turns out that prayer isn't an effort to get God-as-we-understood-Him to do something for me. Prayer is designed to change how I think. Which is the point of the exercise, isn't it? Your mileage may vary, but I've found that a very helpful attitude to adopt.


I've found that prayer and mediation, coupled with the self-examination that step 10 suggests, provides me a foundation be be able to approach life calmly, with a conscious awareness. Amazingly, it's a very comfortable way to live. I no longer have to concern myself with what my life should be, or should look like. Nor do I worry about "God's will". I'm too busy living!


I just follow the process. The principles that are supposed to manifest will do so, rightly and naturally, with very little effort required on my part.

Mike

*******************************************************
"When I've learned enough to really live, I'll be old enough to die" - Johnny Cash
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 30, 2009 - 8:10PM #3
trudging
Posts: 159

My experience with step 11 is seamless, its just part and parcel of what I have become. Maybe thats because when I was atheist I spent a lot of time thinking about God, thinking about non god, rejecting God , angry at God ...so perhaps its natural God is on my mind just as constantly as ever.


"A working part of the mind" my book says,
the authors are inferring part of my mind wasn't working and they'd be right.

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5 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2009 - 6:46PM #4
Seefan
Posts: 3,962

Step 11 says:  "sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as I understand him."


Is prayer and meditation all that is required here?  How does one improve a contact with a higher power without improving one's understanding.  How do we know when an improvement is established?  And if improving one's understanding is needed how is this done in practical terms on a daily bases?  Is it through working the 12 steps and arriving at the doors of step 11?  If this is what needs to be done, is there anything else others seem to need?


 


What's your story?


 


 

Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world ... (Baha'i Writings)
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5 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2009 - 8:20PM #5
mikeincolorado
Posts: 393

Apr 10, 2009 -- 6:46PM, Seefan wrote:


Step 11 says:  "sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as I understand him."


Is prayer and meditation all that is required here?  How does one improve a contact with a higher power without improving one's understanding.  How do we know when an improvement is established?  And if improving one's understanding is needed how is this done in practical terms on a daily bases?  Is it through working the 12 steps and arriving at the doors of step 11?  If this is what needs to be done, is there anything else others seem to need?



As I see it the goal is to improve our conscious contact. Improving understanding comes in the previous step. The more I understand about myself, the more I understand God.


As far as a practical start, I was pointed at pages 86-88 in the Big Book. The guy who took me through the steps was a real help. Much of what I tried was at his suggestion.


Before I finished Step 4, I ignored the top of 86. I began each morning reading the part starting with "On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead..." For a long time, I just read it. Nothing more. But I started a habit. A habit of setting aside time to get my thoughts in order. Something I had never done before.


As time went on, I finished the 4th step, and began inventory on a daily basis. I took the question on the top of 86 and made a sort of flash card for each question. 1 question per card. To help me focus. I would then lask each question - with each person I came into contact with.


Was I resentful with my wife?


Was I selfish with my wife


Was I dishonest with my wife?


Was I afraid of my wife?


Do I owe her an apology?


Have I kept something to myself about her that should be discussed?


Was I kind towards my wife?


Was I loving towards my wife?


What could I have done better?


Was I thinking of myself


Was I thinking of what I could do for others, what I could pack into the stream of life?


Am I forgiven?


What corrective measures should be taken?


Then on to the next person. A real pain in the ass to begin with, but I was highly motivated. I also started to actually practice what was suggested "As we go through the day..." It went from just a rote reading to an effort to do. When I considered my plans for the day, the plan had to do with how I was to interact with people, How I was going to treat others. The plan for the day isn't a laundry list "Go shopping, go to work..." The plans for the day were more along the lines of; "I'm going to practce patience, tollerance, kindliness, and love with every single person I meet today". It's grown from there, but gotten simpler as I gained experience. Today, the plan is step 2.


OK - so why go to all this trouble? Well, as I said, I was highly motivated. However, what was once a chore just happens, now. A working part of the mind. It improves my awareness. Where am I centered? If I'm centered in self, then the questions are answered; Yes,yes,yes,yes,yes,probably,no,no,center in a power greater than me,yes,no,no,center in a power greater than me


My contentment with my life comes down to what power is driving me at any given point in time. If I center in the power that step 2 offers, then I'm ok. If I'm centered in self, I'm not. I need to be conscious, so I can adjust as needed.Prayer and mediation , along with the self examination, provides me a simple way to do just that.


FWIW, I have a couple of daily reading books that I'm partial to;


Glimpse After Glimpse: Daily Reflections on Living and Dying: Sogyal Rinpoche


Ocean of Dharma The Everyday Wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa.



Still , the goal is simple. Get quiet, get my head in order, then go out and live.

 

Mike

*******************************************************
"When I've learned enough to really live, I'll be old enough to die" - Johnny Cash
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5 years ago  ::  Apr 11, 2009 - 7:19AM #6
Seefan
Posts: 3,962

Excellent post Mike!  I like your list of questions. 


Similar to what I use to do but have gotten lazy of late.  Too much of a hurry to get out of the house in the morning and get at living???  Too tired to do anything when I get home from work so I want to do nothing, especially think!  Too busy in the evening, what with all of the occasional meeting, computer browsing and TV watching.  And weekends!  Well what can I say???  Habits are easy to form, but also easy to break if it takes effort  to kept them, no matter how much one gets and/or enjoys the exercise.  Thanks for mentioning the high motivation factor.  I know without the motmentum, it shows and sponsees notice the mind beginning to cloud and wonder.  I guess the secret is to get over the inertia that plagues us and keep the spiritual momentum going daily!  Thanks for the reminder. 


much appreciated 


seefan

Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world ... (Baha'i Writings)
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5 years ago  ::  Apr 11, 2009 - 9:11AM #7
mikeincolorado
Posts: 393

Seefan,


Beware self-condemnation. It's not a character asset. The real adventure is to realize the presense where ever you are, whatever you are doing.


Setting aside time is a wonderful habit and is very effective, I highly recomend it. However, I've found the spritiual life needs to be realized or "made real" no matter what. So if I don't (or can't) make time this morning for whatever reason, that doesn't mean I'm off the hook. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "I didn't pray today, and as a result my day sucked" Bullshit. The day sucks becuase of the things in me that block me off from the divine. The steps are just tools to get me to a point where I can find the power. They don't have any real power to effect the solution. The power is in me letting go of my bullshit.


What happened: One morning, I was interupted in my oh-so-important task of morning meditation by our son, who was up and wanted me to make breakfast. I stopped what I was doing, got up and made the meal, but seethingly, resentfully. "Goddamn kid, interupting... Doesn't he know how important it is? Grumble grumble..."


Suddenly - I was hit with the absurd selfishness of the whole thing. I can be self-centered about this as much as anything else in my life. The leason I took from that is "get centered in this power , right away." My whole life is construted to let me find god, not just the special, quiet, private moments.


 


 

Mike

*******************************************************
"When I've learned enough to really live, I'll be old enough to die" - Johnny Cash
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5 years ago  ::  Apr 11, 2009 - 2:09PM #8
Seefan
Posts: 3,962

Mike,


I like that "get centered in the power right away"! I've had the same experience with interruptions and have come to the same conclusion. Most times I have a short memory and need to experience my selfishness in a variety of situations in order to fully realize and recognize it's negative consequences. These negative conditions give us such a wonderful learning experience when understood at a conscious level.


I like the idea of making one's life a prayer. Coupled with the quiet times certainly help me get in touch with me and when I'm able to focus it is of great benefit. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, but it seems that it isn't really the prayer/meditation that changes me. It is the action as a result of what comes out of prayer and meditation, when I decide to take the necessary steps of course. The character defects I have, need to be worked on daily. I've come to realize the importance of daily reflections in coming to grips with what and why I need to self exam. But for me it take conscious practice, which in turn, takes effort which brings me to ....


Oh, procrastination, the gravity that pulls me into self!


It's easy to let step 11 go. And when I'm practicing the other principles, I really don't have a sound plan of action and I practice these principles in all my affairs on a daily bases in a half-hazard manner. And what's worse, I think I'm doing the best of which I'm capable and wonder why things result in a less than adequate way. I think maybe I'm working from my will of which is rather inadequate at the best of times! Step 11 for me is so very important at this point in my journey and help me to make the effort for the right reasons ...


Thanks Mike! I must strive to set aside the quiet time more consistantly ...


All the best,


seefan


 


 

Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world ... (Baha'i Writings)
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5 years ago  ::  Oct 07, 2009 - 11:52PM #9
Mcgowdog
Posts: 10

11th Step;


Step 11 : When we retire at night... On awakening...


When we retire at night... On awakening...

... and throughout the day...
I love this step. If I had to be stuck on a step the whole year, this would be the one.

Sometimes, I do something with vigor, but it eventually loses its salt. Then stop doing it. The 11th Step gives me permission to go out and try some stuff!

Read a good book like Castaneda or Tolle or Deepak Chopra or Fox or Todd Michael or the Big Big Book or Jung, or etc.

We do other things like Centering Prayer or Buddha Meditation or Yoga or Mentations or... I once went to a 75-rock sweat with a Lakota Medicine Man... I thought I was gonna die! When I didn't, I thought it was wonderful and that I should do it again! Maybe someday...

But even the Christians of the last 2000 years have found different ways to worship. Worship, as Rick Warren (author of The Purpose Driven Life) points out, can be brought down to the otherwise mundane and rote processes of life. Bring God in, wherever you are. Do things for and with God. Why not? Why wait till morning or when we retire at night to fellowship with God? God wants to be our friend! Imagine that? For some it might be singing, dancing, cooking, knitting, doing volunteer work, working with others, yes-12th step work, etc. Just get outta yer head!

We get to practice this stuff. I'll tell you this; if you've tried this stuff you should know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, give it a try and find something that clicks with you and gets you out of your head and into the world.

Is this a sufficient substitute to booze? Heck ya!


This last trip through the steps I've been doing 11 daily and bringing 10 into my "throughout the day" so when I "retire at night", I'm more aware to what happened in terms of 'resentful, selfish, dishonest, afraid".  I use WADTC.


Watch...


Ask...


Discuss...


Turn...


Carry...


If you've done your amends or at least started them, you know the drill.


-McGowdog

Don't believe everything you think.  Especially if you're an Anti-A.A.ing A.A. basher.
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