It's probably not too much of a stretch to say that gratitude has an easier way of being noticed by those in recovery, especially when going over what it took (hitting bottom) to eventually get to where we are today.
Not only was gratitude arising from the koan given a few Mondays ago but it came via the relationship of giving and receiving and how they correspond to each other. This also includes not giving, not receiving, taking, pushing away and the most amazing way we realize that we've received something good but not recognizing it at the time. I was feeling a general sense of gratitude for what the Universe has given to me throughout my life -- grateful for life itself -- grateful for things that, at the time, seemed negative and foreboding.
Daito (1282-1334) is revered as one of Japan's most famous Zen teachers. As the story goes, he practiced for 20 years living with beggars under a bridge in Kyoto. The emperor heard about this accomplished teacher and in disguise, went searching for him. He also heard that Daito was fond of melons. Coming across a beggar under the bridge whose eyes were full of life, the emperor said to Daito, "Take this [melon] without using your hands." The immediate response was, "Give it to me without using your hands."
At first I thought this koan would be well suited for Step 12 … at the time where we have finished this Step and are ready to help others find what we have found. Twelve Step programs are given freely to all who are open to them -- to those who are willing to stop the pushing away in whatever form.
But it's not about finishing Step 12 or any Step for that matter; it's more about my daily life and what is given to me and what I can give to others. Take this koan when you feel gratitude; take this koan when you're not feeling gratitude. Giving and receiving take many forms, including when doing nothing.