Monday, March 17, 2014

Life After Your Barn Has Burned Down

The mere thought of thinking about making a decision requires attention – to in some way notice the process unfolding.  For God or our Higher Power to enter into this, the conversation only happens
in real time.

“Truth [God, awakening, koans, etc.] is only discovered in the moment and cannot be carried over to the next moment, the next day, or the next year …memory never contains truth.”  From an Adyashanti retreat ad.

“My barn having burned to the ground…” brought about a wide array of responses to our group last Friday.  What is the barn?  “It’s me... my ego... my past... protection from my fears,” they said.  The moon represented "light on my path...peace...and no matter what, God is always here."

Hearts Crack Open
When I was drinking, my life was full of burning barns, and burning bridges.  Hitting bottom was when I admitted I had a problem – admitting was noticing my life as it was.  My awakening (the Moon) began showing it’s face after I entered a rehab facility.  I was beginning to awaken to reality, hope, inspiration, beauty ... my heart began to crack open – my life began to change for the better.

In the Big Book on page 62 it reads “God was going to be the Director.”  And later on page 68 we ask God “to…direct our attention to what He would have us be.”  I think the Universe does this by providing us with each moment.  Direction, messages, signals, hints, clues, signs, warnings, all happen right here.  Now.  To turn my will and life (my actions and thoughts) “over to the care of God” is about paying attention to my life in this very moment -- just for the moment, casting aside my judgments and stories and all, to be open to what the Universe is presenting to me.  Isn’t this turning my life over?  Paying attention to my life is way different from paying attention to what my mind tries to tell me about life.  To shift from what I think is happening to actually notice what is really happening.  To awaken in the moment is all I need for a good life.

Being Attentive
On page 77 of the Big Book, “Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.”   To fit ourselves compatibly with whatever is going on. Before recovery, we more often were square pegs trying to fit into round holes.  So how do we make ourselves fit into life now?  We pay attention and allow the Universe to guide us. Having a “glass half-full” attitude really helps, too.

Saving the best for last [I think], a koan appeared to me on the morning of our 12 & Zen gathering.  It goes like this:  “No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.” Page 84.  Sound familiar?

A good answer to this koan would be, “My barn having burned to the ground, I can now see the moon.”

Bill K. 


  1. What a great article Bill, I love how you use the Big Book to extract koans. Thanks for fitting yourself to be of maximum service.

  2. Real nice, Bi8ll. Really had me thinking, and then my barn burned down. MIss ya. JIm Aaron

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