Sunday, September 15, 2013

Steps 8 and 9: "Have You Eaten?" asked Joshu

...continuing from the last posting on Steps 8 and 9 ...

Koan: A monk made a request of Joshu:  "I have just entered the monastery.  Please teach me."
Joshu asked, "Have you eaten?"
"Then," said Joshu, "wash your bowls."  At that moment, the monk had an insight.

"I have just entered..." suggests movement or travel.  The monk has come from somewhere and will eventually leave to go elsewhere.  The road to recovery is like this, a journey.  We are travelers, we are pilgrims, and now we are entering the realm of making amends.

"Please teach me," the monk asks.  The monk seems to have a yearning for learning.  Forgiveness and how to become free are these Steps' lessons.

Joshu asked, "Have you eaten?"  Already the teaching begins.  "Are you hungry" might be what he is really asking.  Those who are hungry for recovery are the ones who make it here.  Steps 8 and 9 are nourishment for the heart.  The people we make amends to respond differently -- sweet or bitter we are nourished none-the-less.

The monk replied, "Yes, I have eaten."  Not only has the monk answered Joshu's uncomplicated question, now he's set himself up for the lesson here, just what he initially asked for.  Yes I have eaten, yes I am hungry, yes I am ready to make my amends.

"Then," said Joshu, "wash your bowls."  Last Friday one person said, "I am the bowl, a vessel of life, my temple, body, mind and consciousness."  Eating from an unclean bowl will cause problems.  I need to clean up after myself, clean my bowl so it's suitable for the next meal.  Another person said, It's the simple process of knowing what to do next."

"At that moment, the monk had an insight."  This happens before we even finish Step 9 -- "...we will be amazed before we are half way through."  Our hearts open, we do have an insight,  "Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change."   This is what we learn, this is what happens to us from doing these Steps.


8th and 9th Step Koan:  

A woman says to her sponsor, "Please teach me about Steps 8 and 9." Her sponsor asks, "Are you hungry for sobriety?" "Yes I am," said the newcomer.Then go find the first person on your 8th Step list.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Steps 8 and 9: "Have you eaten?"

In a few days, our group will be sitting with Steps 8 and 9,  and this koan.

Step 8:  Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9:  Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Koan:  (Case #7, Gateless Barrier)

A monk made a request of Joshu:  “I have just entered the monastery.  Please teach me.”
Joshu asked, “Have you eaten?”
The monk replied, “Yes, I have eaten.”

“Then,” said Joshu, “wash your bowls.”  At that moment, the monk had an insight.

Here are a few questions that may stir things up for you:

1)  "I have just entered..."  Where are we entering with Steps 8 and 9?
2)  What am I being taught when using these Steps?  What do others teach me?
3)  "I have eaten..."  How do these Steps nourish me?
4)  Then, what do we do next?