Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How Are We Doing?

This is exactly what I asked myself a few weeks ago... "How are we doing with 12&Zen?"  Ever since we moved to a once-a-month format back in October, I felt a shift for the better  in how the
the evenings progressed.  But I wanted to know how the participants felt ... so I asked them to send me some examples of what they are getting out of 12&Zen.  Have they noticed any changes?
Here is what four people had to say, plus a bonus contributor (whose email simply arrived in time).

J.S. -- It's done at least two things I can think of immediately...first, it's solidified for me how koans are way more than mind puzzles...applying a koan to a step enriches my understanding of the step...perhaps as valuable, the participation of the group members in the discussion of the koan allows me to see other ways of thinking about how the koan and the step interact with each other and within my life...

B.F. -- The 12 and Zen has improved my conscious contact with God, as I understand him...hoping and praying that this knowledge will guide me in doing HIS will and carrying that out, to the best of my ability.

 K.G. -- I've attended the last two 12 Step Zen meetings.  These meetings are my first experience working with koans and I have really enjoyed trying to find the connection between the koan and the step.  The koans have challenged my understandings of the steps and invited me to think of them in different ways.  I appreciate the gently guided meetings and the respectful and light-hearted group who attend.  I really enjoy hearing how the other meeting attendees link the koan and the step and I generally keep thinking about the koan for a few days after the meeting.  I very much appreciate the chance to attend a 12-step meeting that is not solely Christian in it's understanding of the steps.  I look forward to attending in June.

L.M -- What I get from working in a small group around the steps is support, a different take, and an intimate relation-ship that only meditation brings.

And lastly the bonus contributor who lives 2000 miles away.  He shows by example that one can practice and become a part of  our 12&Zen community  by reading this blog, following his 12 Step program and embracing koan practice.

O.M. -- Just wanted to say that I've really been benefiting immensely from the blog.  It really has solidified the fusion between recovery and practice, clarifying that they are one and the same.  It's also been instrumental on a number of other phenomena, most notable selflessness (forgetting the self) and its centrality in the practice as recovery, and in the fostering of an awakened mind.

After sesshin paradigmatic shifts can often be ushered into one's life.  After this particular one, and because of the presence of the 12 Step Koan project, it seems like an unfolding of a new type of understanding of my koan practice has emerged.   Over and over again, 12 Steps/Koans enable me to see the koans in the steps and therefore in my life.  There is something congealing, as it were, and this for me is kinda exciting because the life of the mind and the external physical aspect of life are getting closer to one another.  This most assuredly makes life somehow better. But don't ask me how.

- - -

Bill K.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Step 6: Hush ...

Koan:  Who is hearing?

I can hear myself saying to my kids, "Time to get ready."   Getting ready takes some effort.  Getting ready takes some attention to the details at hand.  The same is true for truly hearing … first we have to be ready to hear, then pay attention to what comes our way.  

Who is hearing?  If we're comfortable with our Higher Power -- trust in our Higher Power -- practicing Step Three with our Higher Power, then we believe we will be heard by our Higher Power.  Believing that we are being heard, then, creates a space for a dialog with God … communication … a conscious contact… and the expectation that God will speak to us in some mysterious way. 

Today is June 1st,  a good time to sit with Step 6.  As with all mysteries, it's important to pay attention to clues along the way.   Some are delivered ever-so-faintly.  Hush… I think I hear something.

Bill K.