Saturday, November 9, 2019

What is the key to Step 11?

Step 11: 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.


A sponsee asked, “What is the key to Step 11?”

Her sponsor leaned in.

At our Sunday 11th Step Meeting (It's actually called the Moment of Silence Meeting) a while back, the speaker used “Lean in” as a mantra for how she addresses Step 11. So I "made up” this koan.

Dale and his sponsee were talking about this koan earlier in the day. He was amused that both he and his sponsee came up with the same words in response to leaning in – listen and attention.

And then, laughing aloud he said, “Leaning in also means ‘Let me tell you a secret.’”

He found this evening gratifying by simply listening. First it was listening to the silence. The heater would occasionally make clicking noises and there was the faint drone of traffic going by; but what developed for him was an enveloping field of silence. “I would sense my heartbeat and then the pulse in my head,” he said, “becoming very aware of my body, leaning into myself, which I believe is also leaning into my Higher Power. This was my conscious contact this evening.”

“Conscious contact is the key to Step 11, which is synonymous with attention.”
My friend Larry exclaimed this at our 11th Step Meeting. It comes from our Twelve and Twelve, Page 98

Leaning in is an action, it takes effort; and it’s through effort that we improve our conscious contact with our Higher Power. When I’m leaning in, I’m getting closer to the object that matters, closer to the things I am thankful for. We lean with our senses, yes?

·      Seeing with our eyes -- Did you see that cute little baby over there?

·      Hearing with our ears -- Did you hear that melodious bird calling?

·      Smelling with our nose -- Can you believe the smell of that rose?

·      Tasting with our mouth -- That’s the best apple pie I have ever tasted.

·      Touching with our skin – If you could only feel how soft my dog Wendy’s ears are.

In other words, it’s by paying attention to our surroundings that we notice what we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. What’s happening here is we’re paying attention to what the Universe has presented to us in this moment. These are gates to God.

For me, the accelerant, the catalyst, the “Special Sauce” to Step 11 and “…improving my conscious contact with God” is gratitude. Gratitude is the surest gateway to God that I know. And it all comes about when I lean into my life and notice.

Leaning in also reminded me of a recent YouTube video I watched, “It Looked Impossible: New film follows free climbers up the ‘Dawn Wall’ - NPR


The mountain climbers were absolutely leaning into the rock’s face (along with gravity, a power greater than themselves), as close as they could, paying attention to every nook and cranny. Paying attention to their every movement. Their lives depend upon this closeness to the rock face. It was holding them up.

This, a perfect metaphor for practicing Step 11…when we fully lean into our lives with prayer and meditation, the leaning can be so deep into our HP, it takes us to a place where we notice there is no separation between us.

"You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop." Rumi (1207-1273)

Bill K.

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