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 it out.
Continuing with the so called “maintenance steps”, step 11 suggests using prayer and meditation to build on our relationship with our higher power. God as you understand him. This does not have to be a complicated act. ” Keep it simple” is a theme throughout the 12 steps.
What prayers should I use? How do I meditate? I have trouble sitting still.
The prayers one should use are a matter of personal choice. There are an unlimited supply of prayers that you can pick from AA literature or other 12 step programs, or a religious practice of your choosing, as long as they emphasize the ideal of improving your knowledge of God’s will for you. There is one prayer that expresses the spiritual principles of the 12 steps referred to as “the Saint Francis prayer”. This prayer is so closely matched to the 11th step that it is referred to as the 11th step prayer in AA. The words you use in the prayers only matter in their meaning. You can just use your own words as long as they express the principles of Gods will and power to carry that out.
Meditation is also a method that is used. The method or discipline you use is a personal decision. What is important is the meaning and purpose of your actions. Meditation can be anything from sitting quietly listening to your breath, or practicing a discipline you would learn from a teacher or meditation group.
If you have trouble sitting still a good beginning meditation exercise is simply to sit and breathe. Just focus on the cool air at the tip of your nose as you breath in. Just a couple minutes of that and adding another minute or two as you go is a great starting place. If your mind tends to wander, just bring it back to your breathing in and out. No struggling, that is the opposite of meditation.
What exactly is a conscious contact ? What does this really mean?
When you are praying, we call this conscious contact with your higher power. Reaching out to your higher power for direction and help is a conscious contact. When you are consciously thinking about God your are in conscious contact. It is that simple.
What is Gods will?
Keeping it simple here would be to assume that Gods will would be to act in accordance with the principles consistent with the 12 steps. Patience, tolerance, kindness and love would be a good place to start with what might be Gods will for us. Of course being human we will fall short at times in these areas which is why not only do we pray for knowledge of Gods will but also for the power to carry that out. Once again, a sponsor would be very helpful here.