14 Nov Step Eleven
This blog was written by guest blogger, Marcia Ullett, MA, LMFT, CPC. Marcia is on a passionate journey to help people find their purpose and create a powerful vision that inspires them for years to come. Since 1988, she’s helped thousands of people as a licensed Psychotherapist working in treatment centers both as a clinician and as a clinical supervisor. She opened her private practice in Los Angeles in 2006 and soon studied to become a certified professional coach through the College of Executive Coaching. To learn more about Marcia, please visit www.marciaullett.com.
Please note that the opinions presented in the article are that of the author and not necessarily the opinions of RHN. RHN chooses to publish articles and share individual sites to evoke discussion and show all options, ideas and beliefs.
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 that out.
When I think about the eleventh step, I think of spirituality. But what is spirituality? If you were to ask a thousand people for their definition of spirituality, you would likely get almost that many different answers. Just for fun I Googled “different definitions of spirituality” and got 4,020,000 results. It’s clear to me that spirituality is deeply personal. We need to find our own meaning in order for our spirituality to have significance for each of us personally.
Joseph Campbell, American mythologist and author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, said, “Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.” Spirituality is a heart connection, not a mind connection. It’s a connection you develop and nurture first with yourself and then with others. Developing an intimate and meaningful relationship with self is a part of the spiritual journey.
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When I was in the first year of my sobriety, I just knew that when I was at the beach or in the mountains, I was in the presence of my own Higher Power. I knew that because of the feelings that I experienced—feelings of awe, peace, and serenity. Believe me, those feeling were rare back then. So I began to walk at the beach or hike in the mountains. These were the ways I could meditate back then. These were ways in which I could improve my conscious contact with a power greater than myself.
Another thing that happened to me as I walked, or even just stood or sat in nature, was a profound sense of connectedness. The more I got to this sense of connectedness, the better my relationship to myself and to others became. So meditation is not only about peace, serenity and focus, but also about relationships.
But what about prayer? Prayer, to me, is more concrete. Wouldn’t I need to understand who or what my Higher Power was in order to pray? I began to wonder if I could pray to the ocean, the mountains. I began to visualize the ocean as I followed sponsor direction and prayed in the morning and at night. Eventually, I got that emotional feeling—the same one I got at the beach–as I prayed, and I knew I was onto something. Then one day, I fell into a deep, dark hole of financial fear. I reached out to someone and was told to try prayer. It was suggested to me that I stay on my knees, praying and praying for relief until I got it. It took awhile, but I was determined and stayed there until my heart slowed down, and I felt better. That was when I realized the power of prayer.
To this day, I cannot tell you too much about my personal Higher Power, but I can tell you this: What I understand is that there is a Power greater than me and that I can access that power if I seek it, if I truly want to find it. Is it within me? Probably. Is it outside of me? Probably. I know for certain that my world is calmer, more loving and a lot less scary when I pray and meditate—when I seek to improve my conscious contact with that power. It’s been said that prayer is talking to your Higher Power and that meditation is listening to your Higher Power. We need both in order to grasp the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
To me, the Eleventh Step is about our spiritual practice. Since each of us is different, we have to search for what works for us. The goal of a spiritual practice is to quiet the ego–which is responsible for the negative self-talk about yourself and others–so that you can listen to or feel what your spirit is telling you to do in any given situation. Your spirit, in essence, is your direct line of communication with your Higher Power. The ego tends to intercept those lines of communication with spirit. Prayer and meditation help us to move out of the darkness of ego and allow us to stay in the light.