Is a deep spiritual experience possible in 11th step meditation? We think so. The previous steps have removed the blockages to spirituality.
Why is 11th Step Meditation a key gateway to the unknown?
The 12-step program sequentially and effectively removes barriers to spirituality by guiding individuals through a transformative process of personal responsibility and reduction of the mind and ego, beginning with the admission of powerlessness, which humbles individuals and opens them to seeking guidance and strength from a higher power.
As individuals progress through the steps they engage in self-reflection, moral inventory, and the process of making amends, which align with many spiritual traditions’ principles of humility, forgiveness, and reconciliation, stepping away from self-seeking and the key blockages to spiritual experiences.
With a new and ‘clean house’ as a foundation, the fruits of meditation can much more easily be found, without the distractions of anger, resentment or longing for ‘something else’. This increasing ability to be able to sit in the present moment ultimately quiets the mind and opens the door to real spiritual experiences.
The Tao (natural order of the universe) that can be told (from the mind) is not the true eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name ― Laozi, Tao Te Ching
Why is meditation the last step before sharing with others in step 12?
The 12 steps are designed to be completed in sequence because they represent a carefully structured and progressive process of personal growth and recovery, where each step builds upon the previous one. This sequential approach allows individuals to first acknowledge their powerlessness, then move through self-reflection, moral inventory and making amends, gradually cultivating humility, self-awareness, and a willingness to seek spiritual experiences. Once this journey has been taken the individual will be able to reap the full benefits and mindful healing offered in meditation, which contribute to a comprehensive and transformative journey towards spiritual well-being.
Why is meditation not explained in further detail in the AA Big Book?
In my opinion, the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Big Book does not delve into religious practices in depth because AA is intentionally non-denominational and inclusive of individuals from various religious backgrounds and belief systems. The founders of AA wanted to create a program that was accessible and effective for people of all faiths or those with no specific religious beliefs. As a result, they emphasised spirituality as a broader concept that encompasses personal beliefs, values, and a connection with a higher power, without prescribing any particular religious doctrine or practice.
By focusing on spiritual principles rather than religious rituals or dogma, AA allows individuals to interpret and practice their spirituality in a way that aligns with their own beliefs. This inclusivity has been a key factor in AA’s widespread acceptance and long-term effectiveness in helping people from diverse backgrounds recover from addiction. It also avoids potential conflicts or discomfort that might arise from favouring one specific religious tradition over others, which could hinder the program’s accessibility.
What kind of 11th Step Meditation is best?
As mentioned above, there is no specific meditation that fits people who already have existing practices or beliefs. However, for individuals without any prior experience, it can be helpful to get started using one of the most simple meditation routines, such as anapanasati. This meditation is simply mindfulness of breathing, one of the most widely used techniques to achieve the goal of quieting the mind and being open to connecting with the divine. The technique is to sit in a quiet space, and focus your attention on your breath. However you may quickly find many problems that arise in meditation by attempting this seemingly simple task. If the mind wanders which will no doubt will happen almost constantly, just gently focus again on the breath, over and over again. This is meditation and you will find over time the mind eventually learns not to interrupt you. Just remember not to try and be peaceful, just accept everything as it is. You are not your mind or your emotions.
How can prayer help set intention with meditation?
Prayer can help set intention in meditation by providing a focused and heartfelt expression of one’s goals, desires, or aspirations before beginning the practice, serving as a means to clarify and reinforce the purpose of the meditation. Whether it’s cultivating inner peace away from the mind, seeking guidance, or fostering gratitude, clearly knowing your intention for the session can be very helpful. Consider using a pad and pen and writing down your prayer and repeat it to yourself so you are completely clear of your goal for this session. Try to approach each practice with a sense of curiosity and with a smile in the mind. Use your pad to write down things that worked or didn’t work after the session as a reminder when going into your next session.