Tuesday, December 17, 2013
The Twelve Steps, 12 months, it works to sit with a different Step each month; but something seems even better for it all here in December. There’s so much going on now – Buddha’s enlightenment celebrations in early December, Hanukkah in the rededication of their temple practice, Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus, and Kwanzaa which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. Perhaps the sum of them all is spreading and gathering seeds of good.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics [others], and practice these principles in all our affairs.
I wonder how he’s doing
“Autumn deepens…” We have less daylight now (at least here in the northern hemisphere) so we spend less time out and about and more time with ourselves.
“My neighbor…” here is someone else, outside of self. This could be the person sitting next to me at a meeting, or the person driving in the next lane over, or my neighbor next door. “I wonder how he’s doing…” is a concern for another.
We sit with Step 12 now. Our spiritual awakening requires introspection and self-appraisal. This is how we have prepared ourselves to be of maximum service to others. We also have a concern for whoever our neighbor is. But we can’t just sit on this. “Try” is an action verb that requires us to strain, stretch and tax ourselves in order to make an attempt, to carry the message.
Of course we practice Step 12 all year long; but sitting with this koan and Step seems a little bit juicier right now; perhaps by making us a little more receptive to wondering, “How is my neighbor doing?”
Be well, and cherish it.