STEP 11- CONSCIOUS CONTACT
Step 11/Twelve Steps
Each year I like to run through the 12 steps as written in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. These steps were an adaptation of many works before them, and are a universal truth for all people who want to enjoy good mental Hygiene and an abundant life. They have been adopted by some 150 self-help groups, and in the words of my favourite forensic psychologist, are the best basis for mental health around IF worked and lived.
I am not a step guru, and like to keep things as simple as possible. In Step 11, we continue with our maintenance of a balanced and spiritually anchored way of life. Step 11 says:
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.
At first, this seemed very simple. I had to reflect deeply on what this step tells me to do, and I know many others who did not get the full meaning for a while! Think on the words.
Praying had become, and still is, a part of my regular routine. At least once a day I say the Serenity Prayer, the 3rd Step Prayer and the 7th Step Prayer. Each of these prayers is very important to me, and in doing them, I ask simply for my higher power's will to be done. I also ask for the power within to carry it out. I don't ask for stuff, I don't ask for things for other people.
Ultimately, my higher power's will is what happens, for the way life plays out is ultimately the will of my higher power. My higher power trusts me enough to give me freedom of choice; there I certainly times I make bad choices, and there is a reason beyond my understanding for that.
Conscious Contact. What an interesting concept. A thought provoker. Do I have it and how can I increase?
Long ago I saw an old movie which starred, I am told, Fred McMurray and was called "Harvey". To make a long story short, the lead player had an invisible pet rabbit named Harvey who he could converse with at will. Similarly, a meditation book, to paraphrase, one day told me to focus for a day on seeing my higher power beside me and talk freely to my higher power.
People in the movie thought the lead actor was nuts, and I'm sure some days people think I'm nuts when I talk to my higher power in public places. These are examples of how I get conscious contact; my higher power is always there when I make a point to be conscious.
That wonderful and really misunderstood word and action, MEDITATION. For years I had this vision of some funny character up in the Himalayas chanting and levitating. Then I learned a bit about meditation.
Today, I meditate in one of two ways, and some days use both. There are dozens of ways to meditate effectively.
In quiet meditation, I am now able to quiet my mind to a point where all I am conscious of is my breathing, life in, life out. I can take a "time out" from the endless mind chatter and the squirrels running lose in my head. In these moments there is a conscious contact with god. A quiet voice inside is heard, and I listen to my higher power and gain shockingly good new insights into things.
Other times I will reflect on a single thought, word or phrase, and do this in solitude. Again, insights received are amazing.
Through meditation and being tuned in to what is around me and listening, I gain insight into godâ€™s will for me. In prayer, I ask my higher power for THE POWER within to do his will. Often, his will goes against my grain and is difficult to execute it. I need all the help I can get!
Ultimately, it is god's will that occurs , even when things occur because in the moment, I've taken back my will and control and acted not in accordance with that small quiet voice. Ever felt that twinge when you've done something you knew wasn't right? That's being human.
Step 11 is once again a step that needs to be practiced daily. It is never done. In working Step 11 in my life, I increase my practice of good mental hygiene, something I did not do in active addiction. Not a simple step, and not easily understood, but a step of balance in life!
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