Sunday, May 11, 2014

Step 5: It's only for your benefit ...

Step 5:  "Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs."

One day when Dongshan and a monk were washing their bowls, they saw two crows fighting over a frog. The monk asked, “Why does it always have to be like that?”

Dongshan replied, “It’s only for your benefit, honored one.”

Comments from our 12 & Zen gathering yesterday evening:

Life can be messy.

Dongshan and the monk are washing their bowls.   Remember, this koan is about you.  You and your sponsor are washing your bowls ...or doing any activity together ...or meeting together to do your fifth step.  

"Saw two crows fighting ..." This fighting is happening for all to see.  Is this impression good or bad for you?  Life can be messy, we can all vouch for this.  The poor frog is being torn apart is not good for the frog.  Or was it?  What if the frog was injured, couldn't get away, was suffering in pain.  The crows were ending this pain.  From the crows perspective, the frog is food.  They are fighting over their food.

"Why does it always have to be like that?"  Why do bad things happen?  I've looked at all my character defects in Step 4;  sure, I can admit  this to God and to myself,   but why do I have to tell someone else this?  We're back to the messy parts of life.

"It's only for your benefit, honored one."  There were three people in our group who are presently working on their 5th Step, one with just five months of recovery.  She is unsure yet continues on, trusting the process, trusting her sponsor.  All of the "stuff" in our Fifth Step, so messy -- but we all agreed that benefits abound.
"What a relief," said one person, "Like a giant weight taken off my shoulders when I did my Fifth Step."  And as a sponsor we receive the benefits of seeing the Steps in action, seeing them work in an other's life.  What an honor this is for us to experience.  Since the sponsee has benefitted as well as the sponsor, on a greater plane benefit expands outward to others around us, like ripples in a pond. "No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others." (P.84) This is the power of Step Five.  When we understand this, we are the honored one.

And the benefits from our koan today... it took us from something "bad" and messy to a place of relief and optimism.

Bill K.

“You wander from room to room
Hunting for the diamond necklace
That is already around your neck!”