Koan: “…with whatever meets your eye being nothing other than the essential source.” Daoxin (580-651) The 4th Zen ancestor
This Step and koan has, over the past two weeks, taken me all over the map.
It was one of those times when my words were not enough; and not finding a corresponding definition to my experience. Then, of all places while reading an NPR article on my iPad, the answer appeared.
· “…praying to the ultimate power behind all things.”
No longer feeling stuck, these words made sense to me, and my working with Step 3 and a Higher Power of my understanding.
Bill W. wrote: "The phrase 'God as we understand him' is perhaps the most important expression to be found in our whole AA vocabulary.”
I had a similar experience when coming across the sentence fragment that became the koan we’re sitting with today. What our eyes meet is the essential source? Of course! It corresponds well with the Big Book: “…I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, or thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.” came to mind. The essential source of ultimate power is in each and every moment. This is what God, the Universe, is giving to us.
· Higher Power, essential source, ultimate power, at this moment
Being in my 70s now, health matters seem to be coming at me faster than I would prefer. My cardiologist said my A-fib has returned so not only increased the dosage of my blood pressure med, he added a “blood thinner” to boot. My family doctor says I am at a pre-diabetic level and need to start doing something about that (or more meds). And then there’s surgery coming up at the end of the month for an inguinal hernia. I’m falling apart.
One morning late in February on my usual walk with Ryla, maybe I was thinking of my mortality when I wrote O vast Ocean.
|Ryla, about 8 weeks old|
Which brings me to our beloved Ryla, while walking about the neighborhood on the first day of March, I’m abiding in the ocean and waves and the Source, when I stopped to and say hello to Norm. I had seen him before but just learned his name. He was loading up his SUV, to drive to UC Davis with Maggie, one of his dogs. Maggie has cancer and goes to Davis for treatments. Norm was telling me of how he is spoiling Maggie and feeding her chicken-apple sausages as “enhancements” for her meals, so she’ll feel better.
“Ryla is having health issues, too,” I said. I could feel the lump in my throat growing as I told him that she has Liver Storage Disease, and how it’s become incredibly stressful for us all.
Things seemed to be going well. She had gained some weight back (47 to 50). But of late she decided she didn't like the dry dog food anymore. She stopped taking her meds no matter how we tried to hide them, so I had to pry open her mouth and stuff them way back in her mouth, close it shut and see if she swallowed (4 times a day).
I couldn’t go on speaking and lost it. We hugged each other. We understood each other because we’re dog people. I continued on our walk.
Then it struck me, the verse wasn’t about me; it was about Ryla and her condition. In Step 3 there’s a lot about my will and God’s will, with the object being, of course, to align with God’s will, the will of the essential source, as I see it now. There was a time when Ryla would eat the dog food and accept the pills readily. All was good. But for whatever reason, Ryla began telling us she doesn’t like her present condition of nasty-tasting pills and dog food. I wasn’t paying attention.
|Ryla, March 2017|
The next day our household was in a different dimension, we all were happier and our hearts lighter. We fixed Ryla scrambled eggs for brunch. We shower her with extra belly rubs and scratching her ears a certain way. She returns wags, nudges, and brings me one of her toys to play with. We still walk every morning. This we will continue to do…until one day, she will tell us that she’s had enough. She will leave us one day, but not from our hearts. I must remind myself that her essential source is always right here before my eyes.