Step Eleven >>
“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
I put the spin on everything
nothing is really good or bad in itself—it's all what a person thinks about it."
More will be revealed
"God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come if your own house is in order."
The key to
happiness in this life.
Meditation is the surest way to clear the mind from the cares and worries of everyday life, and as such, it helps open the doorway to effective prayer. So it is really meditation and prayer and not the other way around.
Meditation is based on the spiritual principle that “I am not the thoughts in my head.” This wonderful idea frees me from the tyranny of my own stinking thinking. I no longer have to act on the first idea that comes screaming into my head. I no longer have to respond reflexively to every insult the world throws at me.
Meditation is not some complex religious ritual
It is certainly not the Hare Krishna people in orange robes chanting in the airport. It is not a guru meditating on a mountaintop. It doesn’t take years to learn and I don’t need a special guide.
Meditation is a simple technique that has benefits right away
In the Twelve and Twelve, Bill W. tells us how he does it.
Meditation has positive benefits throughout the day
It fosters creativity, improves the ability to focus on the task at hand, and improves memory. It helps all forms of anxiety and stress. Surprisingly, it helps loving-kindness, compassion, empathy, and improves relations with family and friends. It is an effective tool in treating the disease of addiction.
Meditation clears all the noisy and distracting thoughts from my head.
I am not the thoughts in my head
I am not the thoughts in my head
I start by recognizing that I am not my thoughts. Like surfing the channels on my TV, I can learn to watch my thoughts as they fly across the view screen of my mind.
I watch my thoughts go by on the view screen of my mind
Imagine standing on a street corner and watching the traffic go by. I do not have to like or dislike anything I see. I do not have to believe or disbelieve. I can laugh at its silliness or ignore it, but I do not have to respond. Most certainly, I do not have to fight anything that goes by. I just witness.
My thoughts are neither good nor bad
It is for me to decide what to do with them. I can ignore them and watch them fade from my mind, or I can embrace them and obsess on them, until the thought becomes reality in front of me.
Thoughts are the seeds I plant in my heart
They will take hold and sprout and they will bear fruit—either good or bad depending on the thought. I can choose to grow weeds or roses, just by my thought.
A thought is just a thought
It has no power over me, I do not have to judge it, and I can ignore it or embrace it. Free will is nothing more that choosing which thoughts I will embrace and nurture.
How do I meditate?
There is no right or wrong way to do it
What works for another person may or may not work for me. However, a few guidelines are helpful.
Find a quiet, calm, and peaceful place
Sit comfortably. The so-called “lotus position” is not required. Sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor is just fine. Close your eyes.
Breathing is the key
Breathe slowly in and out and from deep in the diaphragm. The air should move without making a sound. Pay attention to the breath as it moves. Try not to hyperventilate. You should notice right away that the rumbling thoughts in your head are calming down.
Watch your thoughts as they come across the screen of your mind
Realize that they are just thoughts and you are no longer subject to their tyranny. Observe them as if they were leaves moving on the wind. Remember, you are not your thoughts.
Your mind will wonder
that is to be expected. A thought will drag you along with it. When you realize this is happening, simply come back to the center and start over again.
Do not expect your mind to be quiet for very long
Only with time and practice will your thoughts actually become still. This is the space between your thoughts and is a wonderful place. In time, you can reach this state with one or two breaths. When you have reached a state of calmness, you are ready to begin your formal prayer.
Bill W. on Meditation
from the Twelve and Twelve
We shouldn’t be shy on this matter of prayer.
"There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer
Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life."
"Find a sense of calmness
like relaxing on a warm sunlit beach then let the words of a prayer float through your minds. The Prayer of St. Francis is recommended. Examine each word and phrase as if hearing them for the first time. When your mind wanders off, gently pull it back. Let the spirit of calmness and peace will persist during the day. "
"Meditation is our step out into the sun
Meditation is something which can always be further developed. It has no boundaries, either of width or height. But its object is always the same: to improve our conscious contact with God, with His grace, wisdom, and love."
"Having opened our channel as best we can
we try to ask for those right things of which we and others are in the greatest need. If at these points our emotional disturbance happens to be great, we will more surely keep our balance, provided we remember, and repeat to ourselves, a particular prayer or phrase that has appealed to us in our reading or meditation. Just saying it over and over will often enable us to clear a channel choked up with anger, fear, frustration, or misunderstanding, and permit us to return to the surest help of all— our search for God's will not our own, in the moment of stress."
"We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer
that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will."
Use meditation all during your day
During your day, you will encounter periods of stress and anxiety.
We can maintain our spiritual balance
provided we remember, and repeat to ourselves, a particular prayer or phrase that has appealed to us in our reading or meditation.
Meditation can clear a channel choked up with anger, fear,
frustration, or misunderstanding, and permit us to return to the surest help of all—our search for God's will, not our own, in the moment of stress."
It only takes a second to recover your serenity
There will be moments in your day when you can stop, take a deep breath, and remember your morning meditation:
• While commuting
• When you stop at the traffic light
• While waiting for an elevator
• Before answering your phone
• Before opening your email inbox
• Before starting a meal
• Before you open the door of your house
• When you start your car
• Next time someone asks you a question or says something that you bothers you
• When you hear the alarm clock in the morning