|Have you eaten?|
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Koan: A monk made a request of Joshu: “I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me.”
Joshu asked, “Have you eaten?”
|Then wash your bowls.|
“Then,” said Joshu, “wash your bowls.” At that moment, the monk had an insight.
(Case #7, Gateless Barrier)
Joshu asked, “Have you eaten?” He’s already begun to teach the monk how to be a good host.
The group came together quickly with this koan, with similar insights. Step 8 is like filling our sink full of dirty dishes. The longer they sit, the worse off it will be, the harder to clean off dried food, and taken to the extreme, a yuck factor develops. The longer we avoid going to Step 9, the worse off it becomes, especially if we long for relief from our condition.
After cooking and eating a meal, the most natural thing to do is to clean things up. “Then wash your bowls,” said Joshu. This is exactly the same dynamic Steps 8 and Step 9. Instead of bowls, I’m cleaning up after myself; I’m attempting to clean up my past deeds. This is the next best action.
Most of our Step 8 list comes from our Step 4 and 5 experiences. And more often than not, when compiling the Step 8 list, we remember new items to add. All of this is like a sink full of dirty dishes. Relief only comes from washing one dish at a time.
This is being a good host, too; treating myself well, and doing the things I need to stay sober. In time, I'm rewarded with a cupboard full of clean, usable dishes; ready for serving others.