Sunday, February 16, 2014

Step 2: The Mind Comes Forth


Last Friday was Valentines Day.  I thought we might not have our “usual” number of people attending 12 & Zen, but I was wrong.  Twelve people showed up.  Step Two was our Valentine.  We had a good time of it all.

Step 2:  Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Koan:  Abiding nowhere, the mind appears.

The prior posting is still with me, especially the “turning the corner” aspect.  It seems to fit nicely into Step 2 and this koan, beginning with the word Came.   Came has this sense of movement…from there to here.  Turning the corner is moving, too.  So coming to believe, we're bouncing along in this vehicle we call the self,  traveling from one belief to another – from not the way I used to be, to not yet the way I will be.  Where is this place?

Abiding.  It means continuing for a long time or to stay or live somewhere for a long time.  Nowhere.  Not here, not there, but still abiding is taking place somewhere; that place of no thoughts of “where”.  One person said abiding nowhere was when they were not attached to beliefs, and stories, etc. 

Another person said, “The mind appears;  but it’s not my mind.”  You could say God, or the collective consciousness of the Universe, or Big Mind (as opposed to our day-to-day little mind. It's a totally different view of things because we, the "viewer", are changing.

The mind comes forth – this is the appearance of sanity.  As an example, not drinking today is a sane choice for some of us.  We are seeing things in a sane perspective.  It's this different perspective that gives rise to a growing trust in a Higher Power of your understanding.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Step Two, Turning the Corner

A month or so ago at one of my regular meetings a young woman, (“C”) spoke up about being an avowed atheist.  This particular meeting is all about prayer and meditation, the 11th Step and “C” was relating what a struggle this has been to her program, you know, the “God” thing.  BUT she went onto say, “I think I’m turning the corner toward agnosticism.”  My heart broke open in hope for her.

Last week “C” chaired the same meeting.  What struck me as funny was here we had a person sharing about her “turning the corner toward agnosticism” and when it was time for people in the audience to speak we had one of the most expansive, spiritually animated, and heartfelt discussions about God that I have heard in a long time.

One brilliant comment came from Alison regarding the angst about the word “God”  and/or “Him” as its written in the Big Book. We hear this at meetings all the time.  She began be stating that we all know that Bill W., one of the founders of AA, had a personality  (Yes) – that all the other people who helped write the book Alcoholics Anonymous each had a personality, too (Yes) – therefore the book Alcoholics Anonymous also has a personality (Yes!).

“…ever reminding us to place principles before personalities” comes from Tradition 12.  This is a good thing to keep in mind when reading the Big Book.  Never mind that it uses old-fashioned language of the 1930s.  Never mind that it refers to God as a “Him”. Things like this aresimply personality traits of the Big Book and the way they spoke back then.  I accept this.

When I hear someone at a meeting describe their Higher Power contrary to my understanding, I must remember that they are telling me their story about their God.  My job is to listen to the underlying principles of the program in their message and not judge their personality traits or their choice of a Higher Power.

The way the 12 Steps are written, affording each one of us the gift of choice in finding a Higher Power, is what makes this process we call recovery work – if we are open to it.  “Turning the corner” is how we “came to believe”.  It’s what we all did to find a God of our understanding…or maybe a God not of our understanding... or maybe something out there we don't even want to call God.

All of which leads quite well to this month’s Step and koan.

Step 2:  Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Koan:  "Abiding nowhere, the mind appears."

As usual, we will be meeting on the second Friday of this month...

... On Valentines Day!