Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Step Four -- A fire alarm is sounding!

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

Koan:  Put out that fire across the river.

It takes courage to be a fire fighter, and courage as we know, is the principle of Step Four.

As I was sitting with this koan, it was my past, my selfish actions that became the fire. I became the Fire Captain.  My job was to put out the fire of my past that burned inside me.

Searching is the first thing we do.  I had to first notice that there is a fire, then go out and find it. Then there’s the process of getting to what’s burning inside.  This can take some time, time in reflection.

The river could be considered a barrier of sorts; what is this river anyway?  I had to figure out how to cross it.  Do I swim across alone?  Do I ask for help from others to make it across?

Then, upon reaching the other side I must assess the fire.  Actually it turns out to be many fires.  Some are little spot fires; others are much larger and growing.  I realize that they are all growing.  Step 4 is about seeing that I don’t add any more fuel to my fire.  There are ways to reduce the fuel load right now.  Already the fire seems a bit under control by doing this.

But how do I put it out?  Step 4 is the fire fighting, the process of putting out all these fires and keeping the fire from spreading.  It takes courage to grub out all those potentially dangerous embers.  I think we’ll have to wait for Step 5 for the fire to be put out.

We had twelve people attending last Friday, and as usual, the koan took us in many directions:
  • The fire was my anger and resentments on the shore of the River of life.
  • OK God, this is a serious directive … to put out the fire…please help me with this Fourth Step, I can’t find the fire.
  •  The fire…ashes…the Phoenix rising from the ashes…my rebirth.
  • I need help to get this fire out.
  • Responding without questioning this?  Who is this anyway, telling me to put the fire out?
  • In this river of recovery, it took me a while to put my toe in the river…then I found myself swimming and the fire went out!
What came up for you?
Bill K.