Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How is it for you just now?

The more I practice Zen and the 12 Steps, the more koans seem to stick to this practice. Not a total surprise since koans can stick to any aspect of our lives, not just when we're into the Steps.

I just finished up a 7-day sesshin (retreat) where the koan for the week seemed to dance around Step 10 for me. Then a few days ago at Monday's regular sit, another koan (with my interpretation) opened up my evening. The original koan went like this:

What is Zen?

Attention! Attention! Attention!

There are many koans that ask this question with many different responses. The question this koan asks changed for me:

What is God's will?

Different questions? Perhaps not. I think they are asking the same question of us. This notion may have been planted in my mind from a meeting I went to just before sesshin. I raised my hand and responded to what I believe is God's will. "This very moment is God's will," is what I tried to convey.

In the "Twelve and Twelve" on Step Three (P. 40) it reads, "Our whole trouble had been the misuse of willpower. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God's intention for us." Right now. Here it is. This is where my life is. My Higher Power intended for me to notice this very moment. If my mind is anywhere else, then I am not paying attention to what the Universe has offered. Naturally this brings about the revised koan:

What is God's will?

Attention! Attention! Attention!

What are you paying attention to right now?

Bill K.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Sense of Community

Looking over to the group of people who are following this blog brings me joy. What I think is happening here is a continuation of what I wrote about last time. It seems to me that a sense of community is developing -- a sangha of sorts -- a community of like-minded people who happen to use Zen koans to deepen their relationship with the 12 Steps.

As you probably have noticed, I'm not one to write long or frequent postings. The crux of the matter is about practice... your practice and my practice. This reminds me of the Chinese saying, "Talk doesn't cook rice." I'd rather talk [write] less and believe that you are practicing more.

Our meeting once a month, on the second Friday of every month, is one way for everyone to plug into this Step/koan practice quite easily; but that's not all there is. There are 30 or so other days to each month. We get busy, we forget, we procrastinate, we replace our koan practice with other business.

To the 19 people so far who are following this blog, you receive a reminder that this even exists when I write a new post. There is is as a reminder ... to come back to your koan. Since I usually write but twice a month, there are two reminders to come back to your practice. This is all we need sometimes ... subtle reminders ... to return to practice.

Here's a PZi handout for you ... tips to bring koans and the Steps into your daily practice.

Bill K.