KOANS: With Step 4, Step 5 and Steps 6 and 7

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

Here are two old Chinese Koans.  Try either one.

"Stop the war."

The battles we carry on with ourselves are exhausting, especially those dealing with past deeds ... and how we have hurt others (and ourselves).  What war are you fighting today?  Who is fighting whom?  Is it worth your efforts?


"Save a ghost." [or demon] 

Are there ghosts (people) from your past who still haunt you because of what they did to you?  Are there demons from your past (people) who still haunt you because of what you did to them?  Invite these ghosts into your meditation.  Listen to what they have to say.  Have they always been ghosts?  Have you been a ghost to others?

Step 5:  Admitted to God,  to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Koan from Yunmen, one of the great Chinese masters:  "Sickness and medicine correspond to each other.  The whole world is medicine.  What am I?" 

Putting our character defects down on paper and sharing these with another human being is healing medicine.  Having experienced and recovered from the "sickness" of our past, aren't we better prepared to help others today?  What medicine can you offer others today?  Do you still carry a sickness?  How can your sickness also be medicine for others?

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

Step 7:  Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Koan:  Case 10, Gateless Gate:

A monk, Seizei, eagerly asked Master Sozan, "I am solitary and poor.  I beg you, Master, please help me to become prosperous."

Sozan said:  "Venerable Zei!"

"Yes Master!" replied Zei.

Sozan said"You have already drunk three cups of fine Hakka wine and still you say that you have not yet moistened your lips."

Koans change who we think we are;  they change where we think we should be, the mental states of mind and self-imposed prisons we have built ourselves.  Sitting with your defects, do you feel solitary and poor?  Or are you beginning to feel the rewards of recovery?