I’m overly fond of how they worded all of AA’s Twelve Steps. Case in point: the 11th Step.
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.
— Step 11 of Alcoholics Anonymous
It doesn’t say that we pray in the morning and meditate in the afternoon or whatever. It says that we continued to seek, it doesn’t say when or where or how. The reason they didn’t put it on a schedule is because some people might work the third shift.
It’s really that simple. It’s not up to me to assume that everybody else’s life is just like mine and they need to work the steps just as I do.
Sometimes I kneel when I pray. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes my prayers last five seconds and sometimes they’re extended. Sometimes all my heart and soul are in them. Sometimes I’m just mouthing the words. That’s okay. Because I’m praying.
I never sit Indian style with my hands on my knees and meditate either. That doesn’t work for me. I either end up falling asleep or thinking about something nonsensical. And the point of meditation for me is to quiet my mind. To listen. To not to have all the crazy monkey chatter going on. Just shut it all down and let my thoughts come and go as they please.
The only way that I can do that for long is to have some meaningless, mind-numbing task to do. Maybe I’ll meditate when I’m folding laundry or doing dishes or cutting the grass or just riding my bike.
It doesn’t matter. However I do it is fine so long as I continue to do it. “Continue” and “sought” are the first two keywords in the 11th Step.
Only seeking God’s will when I pray is also important. One of my most often prayers in early recovery was:
“God, I don’t care what happens just help me accept it.”
Prayers for me don’t work. Prayers for God’s will do. They keep me focused. They keep me out of what I want and in what’s really important.
And after I pray I meditate. Sometimes only for a moment, sometimes more. I put myself out there and I need to be open to the cosmos sending something back.
God speaks to us. Directly. It took me a long time to let go of the notion that God is separate from us. That God’s somewhere else, far away. But I don’t believe that God is anymore. I believe that God is here. Right here. Right now. With me, with each of us. In this very room. Or wherever you’re reading this.
Quiet your mind and feel the presence. We’re never alone. Tune out the static. It’s irrelevant. Embrace the peace.
You deserve it.