Monday, April 11, 2016

It's Hot In Here!

Step 4:  Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Koan: A monk asked Tung Shan, “When cold and heat come, how can we avoid them?
Shan said, “Why don’t you go to the place where there is no cold or heat?
The monk said, “What is the place where there is no cold or heat?
Tung Shan said, “When it’s cold, the cold kills you; when it’s hot, the heat kills you.”

Some say Step 4 is the first action Step; where we begin doing something that will lead to a better life, by changing our old ways.  Otherwise, if we’re lucky, our old transgressions will continue gnawing away at our heart.  Not wanting to feel this way, we attempt to lock these thoughts away in a deep freeze. In Step 4, we stir things up – stirring produces friction – friction produces heat – this heat produces pain.  Arrrgh! Where can I go where there is no cold or heat?

·      Looking into the actions of my past is uncomfortable and troublesome. It’s too hot! The fire fighter, with appropriate equipment, resources,  and protection, plunges into the burning building.  This is what we're doing first,  taking inventory of the "burning" landscape and conditions of our past because they are affecting my feelings today.  And I don't like what I'm feeling!

·      Doing Step 4 is another acknowledgement of the "unmanageability" we recognized in Step One and the insanity we would like relieved in Step Two.

·      It’s when I can admit my part, accept what happened, see my faults, and be willing to continue the Steps – This is the place where the discomfort changes.  The heat or cold of my past actions begin to dissipate.

·      By accepting my past as it truly was, the person complaining has died.  The new recovering "me" has been reborn.

Regarding right speech, the Buddha suggested we ask ourselves three questions: Is what I am about to say kind? Is it the truth? Is it necessary?  As we search within, these same three questions are helpful in setting the tone for our Step 4 inventory.  In our discussion, we all agreed.  Finding a kind heart for ourselves as we continue working the Steps is right thought and action.

Bill K.

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