Friday, August 30, 2019

This time, for September, we'll be sitting with a bug...

Step 8:  Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. 

Step 9:  Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others


It's almost September and we'll be sitting with both Steps 8 and 9.

Our koan comes via a haiku from Issa.

Can you hear her song?

Bill K.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

12 & Zen and Buddhistdoor

Hello Everyone,

Have you ever heard of Buddhistdoor?

It's an international site chock full of worldviews on all varieties of Buddhism and Buddhist-connected themes.  I urge you to peruse its pages.

Back in April 2019 I had an article "printed" called:

Addiction and Recovery: Buddhists on the Path to Sobriety in AA 
By Bill K.

Should the link not work, go to their Home page, then to Features, then to Long Reads, then type in the title into the search box.

You who have followed my 12 & Zen blog know that I'm totally at ease practicing the 12 Steps and Buddhism together.

It's when I read or hear about people who think Buddhists can't get sober in AA, that I ask, "Really?"  

I have many Buddhist friends in AA who agree with me;  that AA will pretty much work for anyone, regardless of backgrounds.

For those Buddhists who don't think AA will work for them, all I ask is to have an open mind and give it a try.

Just passing it on,

Bill K.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

August Potluck: I bring the Koan, You bring the Step(s)

"Barlow Cutoff", Oregon, W.H. Jackson circa 1865

Koan: Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.


We are sitting with this koan today, to see if any of the 12 Steps take hold. As this evening played out, we saw how the word home is deeply evocative.

Part 1: I began by stating many of ways home is used:

It’s a residence, domicile, or house

  • ·      A social unit
  • ·      Habitat (home range of antelope)
  • ·      One’s own country,
  • ·      Headquarters (Home of the SF Giants)
  • ·      Home safe! As in baseball
  • ·      I have a home group in AA

It’s a special location:

  • ·      Where you live, eat and sleep.
  • ·      Where you are relaxed and comfortable.
  • ·      Where you’re in harmony with the surroundings.
  • ·      Where you can be with yourself, and have privacy.
  • ·      Where you’ll find loved ones.
  • ·      Where friends come for a visit.

Every day is home, and home itself is a journey.

  • ·      Where we tell someone that I’m going home.
  • ·      Where we tell someone that I am home.
  • ·      Where we tell ourselves that I can hardly wait to be home.
  • ·      Hearing the truth really struck home.
  • ·      Out of jeopardy, I’m home free.

Last week I was the temporary secretary at a meeting. The young speaker made it clear that “No matter what my problem is, I have a Step handy that will solve my problem. I can take the Steps everywhere and apply them when needed.” She went on to explain that when she finds herself powerless over people, places, or things, there is Step 1; when she recognizes her selfishness there is Step 3; when she’s been rude to someone there is Step 10; when she finds herself ill at ease, she can reach out and help a newcomer (Step 12).

In Step 12, “We practice these principles in all our affairs.” Not just on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – “…in all our affairs” implies we’re doing this every day, all the time.

This is what this koan was saying to me. I’m always on some kind of journey – physically, mentally, or spiritually.

From the PRAISE SONG FOR MEDITATION sutra by Hakuin Ekaku, is the line, going and coming, we are never astray.

Going and coming are what makes a journey.  “We are never ever astray.”  Home is always near at hand. Returning to this moment is returning to my essential home base and my practice of the 12 Steps.

F.H. began by saying this koan is nice the way it evokes the sweet satisfaction he has with his practicing all the 12 Steps, beginning with his morning meditation. “Each moment, each breath, each day – home is program, home is the journey, practicing to the best of my ability, practicing these principles in all my affairs.”

John agreed, “Step 12 is practicing all the Steps, daily.  Home equals my spiritual awakening.  It’s this journey that gets me to a spiritual awakening again and again.  I’m not a morning person.  When I wake up each day, it’s like I have to reprogram my thoughts in order to begin today’s journey. It’s in my morning prayers where I become rejuvenated for the day.

James said today’s journey is made up of all my experiences; where the whole world is Step 11 in prayer and meditation with my Higher Power.  Wherever I am, just be, I’m home.

Part 2: Our Other Home

Then F.H. spoke.  “I must say the ways "home" has been described tonight, a home as a special location was not my experience growing up. Relaxed, harmony, privacy, comfort, loved ones – none of these could be remotely found in my home – my childhood was horrendous and traumatizing.

Others responded with equal pain. Bob said, “I didn’t have a home.” It was a war zone full of anguish and pain.  I was a little kid caught in the middle, trying to survive in chaos, while all the time everyone’s lesson by words and actions declared, “You don’t matter!”

After hearing what others were saying, another person revealed that he had been sexually abused as a child, by both parents. “I’ve never told anyone about this except my sponsor.

Wow. I never would have predicted the trajectory of this evening’s discussion; bringing into the room examples of pain today and finding relief from the past; and pain from the past and finding relief today. The Big Book tells us, “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” P.83

When sitting with koans in the traditional way, one of my teachers would tell us that any part of the koan will work, even just one word.  One way or another, we were all at home with tonight’s koan, showing us, “No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.” (Page 84) 

Perhaps your journey took you to other Steps?

Bill K.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

It's a potluck. I bring the koan and you bring a Step or two.

Hi Friends,

Oops! I forgot to send out this month's koan; but no specific Step. Sit with this koan and see what Step or Steps come to you. 


August: PotLuck Koan

Koan: Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.