The Daily Eleventh Step

When I first began in recovery, over eight years ago, I read in a daily meditation book about a woman who used the eleventh step as a guide to the other steps. As I was an experienced meditator I latched on to this concept. Meditation was a familiar tool, and I have used it daily to increase my understanding of all 12 of the steps.

When I meditate, I breathe in harmony with the slogan "Let Go, Let God". I breathe out while holding in my mind the thought "Let Go". I breathe in while holding in my mind the thought "Let God".

That's it, that is the whole process. I repeat this process over and over, for as many minutes (or hours) as possible. Inevitably, my mind wanders away from the process. When I have noticed I am no longer meditating, I simply begin again.

Although it helps to be in a quiet, distraction free environment, it is also possible to meditate under just about any conditions. At first you will be lucky to maintain concentration for a dozen cycles of breath. Stay with the process, though, and some amazing results will occur. You will discover that if you learn to let go of your illusion of control, it is possible to align your thoughts and actions with your Higher Power's will.

Praying only for knowledge of God's will for me, and the power to carry that out has led me to the conviction that it is possible to find and follow the flow of the Living Process of the Universe (my definition of God). It is like the difference between trying to swim with the current of a river or tide, or swimming against it.

When I teach meditation to newcomers, I use the analogy of two-way radio communication to explain the difference between prayer and meditation. When transmitting (praying), I hold the mike button down and say what I need to communicate. When receiving (meditating), I let go of the mike button (stop thinking), and simply keep the radio on (receptive) and pay attention (alert).

Similarly, when I pray, I simply think: God, please grant me knowledge of your will for me, and the power to carry that out. Then I stop trying to direct my higher power, and keep my communication channel open so I will hear and understand when communicated to.

Several times a day I use the "Let Go, Let God" technique, and some other contemplation techniques, and I pay attention to where my thoughts are guided. Even a few minutes of prayer and meditation can recharge me. When I experience feelings of hopelessness, fear, desperation, anger, self-doubt and other negative feelings, I pray and meditate. The result is often like a quick clean shower for my mind, and afterward I often know what I need to do. That's what meditation is all about.

Daniel O. (2000)