Saturday, August 10, 2013

Everything Is Best, Part I

Scrub Jay Babies

These Scrub Jay babies.  I discovered them in a maple tree by our front porch.  The nest seemed to be placed in a perfect location -- the best location -- away from predators still hidden amongst the leaves.  Each day I would
take a peek at them to see how fast they were growing.

This month's koan:

When Banzan was walking through a market he overheard a conversation between a butcher and his customer. 

"Give me the best piece of meat you have," said the customer.

"Everything in my shop is the best," replied the butcher. "You cannot find here any piece of meat that is not the best."

At these words Banzan became enlightened.

We just met last Friday for 12 & Zen and here is the koan we used.  This was our "Pot Luck" evening where all of the Steps were available.  I asked everyone to see what koan appears when sitting with this koan.

Step 7 came to several people.  When we truly ask our Higher Power to remove our shortcomings, aren't we doing this to become the best person we can be? 

Another person said everyone is the best.  It reminded them of the koan about having no rank ... being a person among persons, which morphed into Step 9 when we make our amends.  We're just humans trying to make things better for all.

If he says it's best, then it is the best.  And who else offers us nothing but the best?  Our Higher Power.  This was Step 3 for her, trusted her God, the butcher.

One Flattened Toad
Three words in this koan stood out for me:


Best has such a charge to it.  So does worst.  We seem to place ourselves in either of these camps, depending upon circumstances. And just when we are sure of ourselves, we find where one of the worst things in our lives turned out to be one of the best things -- or one of the best things (we thought) turns out to be one of the worst.

Then one morning I peeked into the bird nest only to find that ALL the babies were gone!  Nothing
left.  No feathers because they had not yet developed them.  Just guessing that it was a neighbor's
cat.  Or it could have been a crow or raven.  I guess that wasn't the best place to build a nest.  Then
again, whatever ate them had the best of meals.

On one of my daily walks, I came across the dead toad in the road.  I'm glad we have toads in the neighborhood.  I've been known to "rescue" them and take them back to my garden.  Not the best
outcome for this one.  But I was attracted to the colors of the guts and gore; somehow they seemed vibrant and alive.   The best of colors against the road's asphalt.

A few days later I came across another toad, this one of the toad-bank variety.  Everything about this toad made it the best one of the day.

What IS the best Step?  This reminded me of what I once heard at a meeting where a person said, "If we could do Step 3 perfectly, we wouldn't need any of the other Steps."  But we can't do anything perfectly, so every Step is the best. 

I'm not making light of this.  You cannot find here any Step that is not the best. Every Step is best when we are using it in our lives.  What is best for us then is what is right happening here.

To be continued...


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