Saturday, January 9, 2016

Step 1: Step by step in the dark...

Koan: Step by step in the dark – if your foot’s not wet, it found the stone

~ Shaku Soyen

Admitting to something can come quickly, or slowly to us.  Tonight we asked ourselves, “What is this admitting?”  We all came to the similar conclusion that we don’t do this ourselves using our brains – it comes from somewhere else. Then, without notice, we realize that we’ve effortlessly made that change from "no" to "yes".  Something impossible one day has become reality the next day. Dale called this our moment of clarity.

This koan took me to December, 1986, and the Sacramento Marathon.  My friend and I left on Saturday, and the race was Sunday.  I knew I had a problem; I was just shy of turning 43 and had never heard of the 12 Steps, so I didn’t know what Step 1 was.  On the drive over, all I could think about was my problem.

We ran the race (running my best time ever) and drove home.  Of course I felt good about breaking 4 hours in the race.  Other than that, I don’t remember many details from Sunday night except for one very important decision I made to myself ( I didn’t even tell my wife), I was going to call a treatment center on Monday! How could this be?  Saturday, treatment center was not in my mind. Sunday I had made a decision.

In that undefinable place of change, as if a switch has been flipped, came the discovery that my foot is not longer wet. It was later on when I read an important part of “my story” in the Big Book (in “It Might Have Been Worse”) where the writer said, “It wasn’t how far I had gone, but where I was headed.” I felt, for the first time in many years, that I was headed in a better direction.  In the treatment facility I realized that I had taken Step 1.

Roger talked about the times when he’s running his life as he sees fit and isn’t in touch with his higher power at all.  That even in those times, things happen, a shift takes place, where he discovers his foot is no longer wet.  Something for his benefit took place without notice or his input.

We’re on this journey, step by step in the dark, and the koan doesn’t say we stepped up on the dry stone as a conscious act, it simply asks, if your foot’s not wet.

A moment of clarity comes by realizing my foot is dry. If it’s dry, I’m no longer wandering in the dark -- I’ve found a different place that’s safe and firm.

It’s the wondrous nature of this koan that reminds me the “admitting” comes from a sacred place – and it doesn't come from my self will.

Bill K.

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