We often tend to slight serious meditation and prayer as something not really necessary. To be sure, we feel it it something that might help us to meet an occasional emergency, but at first many of us are apt to regard it as a somewhat mysterious skill of clergymen, from which we may hope to get a secondhand benefit.
Suggested guidelines for starting a 11th Step Meditation Meeting in your area plus Meeting Format
It is our collective experience that having at least two or more people who are committed to chairing and supporting the meeting for at least one year is critical to getting the meeting established. At that time the regular tradition of ro-tating chairpersons according to individual group conscious decision can be implemented.
We have also found that if we start our 11 step meditation meetings as “open AA meetings” we can reach the most people but we also send around flyers to al-anon meetings and other 12 step meetings to make as many other 12 step members aware of the existence of the 11 step meetings.
NOTE: This meeting format came from Tom S. in NY where the meditation meeting was originally started and has been used successfully across the country. The main feature is the 20 minutes of Silence and the fact that it contains only “conference approved literature” as the basis for the readings.
Chairs are set in a circle, if possible with a candle in the middle. Members are encouraged to arrive early and ob-serve silence in the meditation room. The meeting requires one chairperson and one speaker.
The meeting is conducted in a relaxed, welcoming manner. It is structured so that it can begin and end within one hour. During the readings and meditation we suggest that the members sit comfortably with eyes closed and rest in God’s presence.
Welcome to the -- morning meditation meeting.
My name is _______ and I’m an alcoholic (addict, etc). This is an 11th Step Meeting where we improve our conscious contact with our Higher Power. We will read a selection from twelve-step literature and then we will have a 20 minute period of meditation, followed by a speaker and then sharing.
Would all who care to, please join me in a moment of silence fol-lowed by the Serenity Prayer.
Are there any visitors to this meeting? If so, Welcome! We’re glad you’re here.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recov-ery from alcoholism.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership: we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution, does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor op-poses any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
2) Do we have any announcements or business?
3) Do we have any birthdays?
Chairperson says: This is not a meeting that promotes any form of meditation over another. We have no opinions on religious or spiritual practices. If there is anyone here without experience in meditation, we encourage you to sit still for the 20 minutes to the best of your ability. We ask that all show respect during the 20 minute meditation by observing silence and refrain from moving around. We also have some information on silent prayer that you may find helpful. (You may choose to make 12 Step Outreach Centering Prayer brochures available or any other meditation material you decide by group conscience is appropriate). At the end of the following reading we will start a period of 20 minutes of silent meditation. If someone prefers a floor position, he or she should transfers to that position as quietly as possible. I will signal the end of the meditation period with the ring of a gong. We will remain in silence with eyes closed for a few minutes to give ourselves time to slowly come back to the room and adjust to our external senses.
Chair rings gong 3 times
Read the following slowly St. Francis Prayer, followed by a few words taken directly from the 11th Step, followed again by the St. Francis Prayer
“Lord, make me a channel of thy peace—that where there is ha-tred, I may bring love- that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness- that where there is discord, I may bring harmony- that where there is error, I may bring truth- that where there is doubt, I may bring faith- that where there is despair, I may bring hope- that where there are shadows, I may bring light- that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted- to understand, than to be understood- to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen”.
As beginners in meditation, we now reread this prayer very slow-ly, savoring every word and trying to take in the deep meaning of each phrase and idea. It will help if we drop all resistance to what our friend says. For in meditation, debate has no place. We rest quietly with the thoughts of someone who knows so that we may experience and learn.
As though lying upon a sunlit beach, let us relax and breathe deeply of the spiritual atmosphere with which the grace of this prayer surrounds us. Let us become willing to partake and be strengthened and lifted up by the sheer spiritual power, beauty, and love of which these magnificent words are the carriers.
“Lord, make me a channel of thy peace—that where there is ha-tred, I may bring love- that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness- that where there is discord, I may bring har-mony- that where there is error, I may bring truth- that where there is doubt, I may bring faith- that where there is despair, I may bring hope- that where there are shadows, I may bring light- that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted- to understand, than to be understood- to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen”.
Ring gong one time to begin 20 minute meditation
At the end of the 20 min chair rings gong 3x’s to signal end of meditation.
Chair Introduces the Speaker:
5) Qualification (5-10 minutes)
Chairperson introduces the Speaker who will focus (positive sharing) on his or her experi-ences with the 11th Step. Speaker selects a topic for the group related to the 11th Step or just invites the group to share their ex-periences with the 11th Step.
6) Group Sharing
Now is the time when we share our thoughts about the 11th Step or to “get current” with the group. Because time is limited, we ask you to limit your remarks to 3 minutes or less so that as many people as possible will have the opportunity to share before we close at 10:00. For people who would like more time to share or do not get to share, please stick around afterwards and talk with others.
7) 7th Tradition
According to the 7th Tradition we are self-supporting through our own contributions. Newcomers please do not contribute as the first meeting is on us.
8) Close with the Serenity Prayer