Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Changing" our Ways

At a meeting last week the topic was "change." Can you hear the collective moans from the crowd? This brings me back to the days as a newcomer where I wanted things to be different; but I didn't want to change... or I wanted things to change; but didn't want things to be different. I didn't like the way my life was, nor where it was heading. Everything seemed to be getting worse [it was]. I wanted things to be different, but please allow me to choose what to be different and what to remain the same. Emphasis on "me" of course. "I" am the problem, aren't I?

There are the changes that others make in our life that aren't so appealing, changes the world presents that are disagreeable, and especially upsetting are the changes I'm forced into against my will. GASP! "Selfishness, self-centeredness, that we think is the root of our problems...." The Buddha did say that our suffering comes from our attachments: holding onto something brings suffering, pushing things away brings on suffering ... all these constraints of the mind. These constraints of the mind tell us that this or that will make us happy; but they are all lies. Just like we cannot figure out koans, we can't figure out how to be happy, since happiness is something that comes from within.

Change seems to happen more easily when I have no intention of changing, but am willing to believe it may be possible . Deep down inside, isn't that where the yearning for change begins? By originating, not in our heads, but from within our body's center, deep down inside, it's possible to shift to a different perspective. We're tapping into the "deep down inside" where a realization of sorts begins, not "our little plans and designs." This is how the 12 steps work on us -- this is the way koans work on us. But they can only work on us if we give them space, that space between our thoughts, it becomes more broad when we meditate regularly.

They work on us when we carry them about, to filter through our everyday thoughts and activities. Any part of a Step or koan is enough: Brushing my teeth, "came to believe" (2nd Step) -- driving to work, "can hear her voice" (koan) -- jammed copier, "came to believe" -- tree, flat tire, that first sip of coffee, "can hear her voice".

May your Steps and koans become the catalyst for change.

Bill K.

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