Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Barfing Koan

Rarely does my stomach bother me, so I probably wasn't paying enough attention to the vague unease last Monday.  Just a tinge of upset, then it would pass, only to return an hour or so later.  "It's nothing," I thought.

Fast forward to 11:30 PM. I immediately gave full attention to my stomach this time, the rumbling inside and muscle contractions and quickly dashed to the bathroom.  Knowing full well what was about to come next, embracing the toilet, then BARF!

There was a fleeting memory of past such events of long ago only to FULLY engage in the next contraction.  And what I mean by fully engage is letting go, my body was in full command and knows exactly what to do next.  I simply went along for the bumpy ride.  There aren't other choices really -- I could have begun a woe-is-me dialog but didn't.  Uncomfortableness yes, but there was some sense of ease by not resisting or arguing with the universe about what was happening here.  Instead, I went right into it ...I was the barfing...the entire world was barfing.  My response to this koan was BARF.

This continued all night long at 1 1/2 hour intervals.  I became very good at being the barfing.

Steven Grant was teaching last Monday evening (remember, I was still feeling OK then).  Since I usually arrive early to help with the setup, we talk about stuff.  In part of our conversation he asked, "You know what I tell the person who has never sat with koans?  I say take the koan to your pain."

This is exactly what we do when working the Steps!  We bring the Steps to our pain;  we bring our pain to the Steps.  This is all the more reason I believe that koans help my Step work.

Have a fun Halloween,


Monday, October 8, 2012

Saint Francis Prayer-Koan

It always amazes me when things all come together.  In this particular case I didn’t realize what these “things” were or what was to come together; but they did so at our Sunday Moment of Silence Meeting where we meditate for a spell then talk about the Eleventh Step.

What stuck with me the most was when Sheila, the speaker, said, “We become the prayer.”

I had been taking two men through the Steps, both on Step 11, just two days prior to this meeting.  We read the St. Francis Prayer on page 99 of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions:

Lord, make me a channel of they peace – that where there is hatred, 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 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

In my 12 and 12 is a notation, a suggestion, in red pen.  I do not know where or from whom I heard this, but I’m glad I did.  Where it reads “I may bring harmony”, instead of saying “bring”, substitute the word “be”.  May I be harmony.  Instead of “I may bring hope” say “May I be hope”.  Make this change throughout the prayer.

May I be love
May I be the spirit of forgiveness
May I be harmony
May I be truth
May I be faith
May I be hope
May I be light
May I be joy

Remember the koan “Who is hearing?” 

Who is comforting?
Who is understanding?
Who is loving?

This is what Sheila meant when she said, “We become the prayer.”  Which also means, “We become the koan.”  The Saint Francis Prayer is both prayer and koan.

Bill K.