Saturday, 30 March 2013

Step Eleven in the morning

There are many approaches to Step Eleven. Here is one.

(1) The review

Page 86 of the Big Book suggests a daily review.

If we are going to grow spiritually, we need to work out what is going wrong in our attitudes, thoughts, and actions and go to God for power and direction in changing these.

The review is the first and indispensable element in this process.

The following provide some helpful materials:

http://first164.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/step-11-review.html

http://first164.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/how-to-get-most-out-of-step-eleven.html

Another benefit of the review is that it cleans out the soul and leaves us with a fresh slate for the next day, provided we surrender what went wrong to God and refuse to continue to carry it around like smelly garbage. Talking to someone spiritually centred and light-hearted usually helps with this.

(2) Raising consciousness

The Big Book suggests we ask God to direct our thinking in various ways. See page 86.

From the vantage point of a raised consciousness, we will see our everyday lives with greater perspective, and the remaining part of the Step will be far more effective if we are calm, jovial, and thoughtful, not neurotically mired in morbid detail.

Some people find formal meditation techniques helpful, e.g. those informed by Buddhist and Taoist traditions. Others adopt Christian contemplative methods, e.g. lectio divina (http://first164.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/meditation-aaaaaargh-do-i-really-have.html)

More simply, one can watch videos of spiritual teachers on the Internet, listen to audio tapes of AA speakers, or read AA, Al-Anon, spiritual, or religious literature.

Even more simply, one can go for a walk with the dog, sit looking out of the window at some trees, listen to some quiet, contemplative music, look at a candle, or sit concentrating on breathing or physical sensations.

Some people might quietly talk to God.

Some people read poetry.

Some people run or lift.

These may seem unconventional methods of raising one's consciousness, but nature doesn't worry about convention: what works, works.

Some people become tense and neurotic trying to apply Buddhist meditation techniques but connect easily and simply to God when running, swimming, or going for a walk.

Whatever the method applied, it is important not to allow thoughts to dwell in or fuss over the mundane detail of life: gently and persistently bring thoughts back the present and remember what your aim is here—to be lifted up.

You know what you are trying has worked if, after a while, you feel more detached from everyday worries and gripes and more connected with the worlds around and above you.

(3) Envisioning the day

Now that the mental garbage of the previous 24 hours has been discarded and mind has been raised to a higher level, above the self-pity of what has not gone our way and the self-seeking of what we would like to go our way, the job is to envision the day ahead, considering the attitude to adopt, the actions to take, and the thoughts to carry with us. This comes under the heading of 'knowledge of God's will'.

Put mostly simply, the day must be planned. There are activities that keep our show on the road (eating, exercise, resting, keeping ourselves on the beam spiritually); there are obligations that must be fulfilled; and there is the spare time that can be used for fun and for developing ourselves in other ways.

Most structural problems in people's lives will ultimately boil down to bad planning for the day. If necessary action is not being taken, day by day, it is likely because it is not being scheduled, day by day. Anything that is being avoided is likely to be generating a feeling of aversion. Such actions will never be taken spontaneously, so the crux of the solution lies in the daily plan.

Typical problems in people's daily planning:

· Not having one—if you do not have a plan, you're likely to be led by will and emotion, not principle and reason, unless you're very evolved.

· Having a vague one, which means necessary actions are repeatedly left undone—a vague plan is often a fig-leaf for an underlying desire to be led by will and emotion.

· No fun activities. In the past, I've been depressed not because of some terrible, deep-seated emotional scar but because I was leading a drab, wretched, depressing life. The universe offers endless opportunities to develop interests and skills. I have been encouraged since early sobriety consciously to engage in the world around me positively, enthusiastically, and with curiosity.

· Overfilling the day—resulting in a sense of guilt or panic.

· Under-filling the day—resulting in inertia, indecision, and malaise.

This link may help: http://first164.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/planning-for-day.html.

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