Saturday, June 13, 2015

Step 6: Not the Wind, Not the Flag That Moves

Step 6:  Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Koan:  The wind was flapping a temple flag, and two monks were having an argument about it.  One said, “The flag is moving.” The other said, “The wind is moving.”  They argued back and forth but could not reach the truth.  The sixth ancestor said, “It is not the wind that moves.  It is not the flag that moves.  It is your mind that moves.” The two monks were struck with awe.

The Gateless Gate # 29

The flag is moving …no, the wind is moving – Take all my defects … You don't really mean ALL of them.  Really?  I can keep "that" one a little longer?  My mind is moving...

“Were entirely ready…”

I’m not ready until I’m ready.  This is very much like “admitted I was powerless …came to believe and made a decision…” Conditions have to be met, just as conditions have to be met before winds appear; but for me, the condition comes from somewhere outside myself, and certainly not my self will. 

Here it’s my mind that’s moving.  Moving from today to tomorrow, from subject to object, from this story to that story.  My mind seems to be always moving –but there are times when it’s still.  Meditation helps still my mind.  In reality, my mind is moving AND still; but the moving part drowns out the still part. Perhaps it’s in the stillness where we become ready, in the stillness of  prayer.

“…to have God remove all these defects of character.”

This is my prayer in the 7th Step.  In Step 6 I’m just getting ready.  How do I get ready?  I think this goes back to our 3rd Step, where at least a thin layer of trust is growing. This gives me the wherewithal to be entirely ready.

But even when my prayers are sincere, there’s my self will to reckon with, and sooner or later I find that I’ve taken something back, even before giving it to the universe – much like the two monks, “The flag is moving … the wind is moving...”

It is my mind that is moving.  It all comes back to my mind – this wonderful, habitual, delusional mind of mine.  In our discussion yesterday evening, we seemed to be in agreement with this.  “When I’m ready,” one person replied, “I’m ready to open up to things, yes, open to change!”

The wind is blowing, Nicky's hair is blowing...

Bill K

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