Spirituality: Making Contact
The purpose of Step 11 is to discover the plan God as you understand Him has for your life.
Step 11 reads: 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.
For me, Step 11 is the daily practice step. I practice the others at different times and in different situations, but I have to do Step 11 on a daily if not hourly basis. This program of recovery that I follow is a spiritual practice. It may mean a lot of things to a lot of different people who don’t know any differently, but the twelve steps are about building character and establishing a relationship with a god of your own understanding. That can be the group. That can be Jesus. That can be Mohammed. That can be your dog. It can be whatever you grow to understand as the Higher Power that has more wisdom, courage, power and everything else than you have. I am Christian. I have my own unique view of Christ and who He is in my life. I haven’t been to many churches who see Jesus as I do. And, that’s okay.
The point is that whenever I stay in conscious contact with my Higher Power, I change. If I’m willing to submit myself to His will and not mine, I change. I learn humility. I feel grace. I have serenity. And, for me, that’s where the rubber meets the road. Now that I’ve had a taste of serenity, I really don’t like to have it taken away. Sometimes it is, but I strive to stay in that place of surrender which is so serene. Prayer is a daily habit…at least daily. I read my meditation books whenever I need them and at least once a day. One thing I haven’t been doing as frequently as I should is meditate. That definitely settles me down and allows me time and space to listen to God. It quiets my psyche so I can listen to my heartbeat. A beating heart is a miracle in my book. I don’t know how it happens, but it does. And, the fact that we don’t know which beat will be our last is humbling. So, listening to my heartbeat is showing gratitude and reverence for this great gift I’ve been given which is life.
Some psychologists have a theory that all addictions are caused by anxiety. We seek out comfort for an anxious core – that empty hole – that we continue to try to satisfy. I believe that’s the case with me. When I feel anxious, it is almost unbearable. I want to do something that makes me feel calmer, more in control or happier. I want to feel peaceful again. Prayer and meditation actually make me feel it. I’ve learned to talk to God about how anxious I feel. Talking about it helps. Meditation is a proven cure for anxiety. Once we are settled and can become connected to our physical bodies, we forget about the past, the future, the reasons people are mad at us, our resentments, our fears and everything else. We are only focused on our breath and our heartbeat. Think of formal meditation as a “training” of our mind. Once I practice it frequently, I can come back to that space and that feeling regardless of how chaotic my circumstances are. It teaches me to deal with the anxiety in a healthy way.
And, as far as God’s will, I don’t always know what that is. But, I have to quit striving, forcing solutions and determining what needs to happen to hear God’s will. It always comes to me in a quiet moment in a quiet voice. If I’m too busy, I’ll miss it. Sometimes it just comes to me in what happens in my life. If it’s a fight to make something work out, it’s probably not God’s will or not at that time. When I find myself fighting against an outcome, it’s time to pray and meditate and ask God to direct me in what I should do. The path always appears. And, to be honest, it’s usually NOT what I had in mind.
Spirituality is a practice. It’s hard for me to continue practicing it when I don’t feel like I’m getting results. But, the longer that I work this program, the more I see that results come when they need to come. They are on God’s timetable, not mine. The Twelve Steps help keep me out of ego and in a place of humility. It doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want me to be special or realize results. He created me for a purpose. I sort of owe it to Him to stay still long enough for Him to guide me. My heartbeat won’t last forever. Listening to it is just one way to say thank you for giving breath to my life.