I posted a version of the question below in the introductions area of this forum and was advised that you folk here might be able to help me. I have had a look through previous threads and I'm sorry if this question has already been addressed: if so, I can't find it!
My question is generally about self-power / other power and how a Zen practice might worth with or against a 12 step understanding of 'higher power' (or 'other power').
I am looking at Zen - reading here and elsewhere and a few books too.
I guess what's a sticking point for me - in terms of my current understanding (which I admit might be naive and ill-informed - it's why I am here!) is the emphasis on training and striving - the self-power of the practice.
My own experience in dealing with my addiction is that all my attempts to get control of the clinging, deluded, greedy aspects of my nature made them worse. I was using ego to deal with ego. Only in utterly surrendering and handing over to a (pretty unformed and undeveloped sense of) a higher power was I able to start to live differently. I don't believe I've cured myself, or that my own efforts have got me anywhere. I'm not sure I believe either in a personal god who is answering prayers and protecting me. I think surrendering to 'the way things really are' - including the deficiencies in my own nature (bombu, is what the Pure Land Buddhists call it, I believe) has been transformative for me. This 'higher power' doesn't feel higher, or better, or different - only present inside and outside, and about what is 'real'.
What attracts me to looking at Zen further is the sense that I have that zazen isn't perhaps about training, or doing, or striving, but is about what happens naturally when all the striving and training and self-effort is allowed to fail utterly or come to a rest. That there's a practice that might look like it is about doing but is actually about learning to stop doing, and let whatever it is that isn't us, but is in us and beyond us, take over. When I have tried meditative practices, I don't get the sense that I am DOING something that will bring me closer to perfecting my nature - like, I don't know, press-ups for the mind - but that I am allowing all the things I generally do that get between me and the way things really are in the world and in me (which aren't separate things after all) to come forward. But then when I read I come across these ideas of training and discipline and control and striving and they seem so alien to my experience and to my understanding - such as it is.
Does that sound like Zen practice might be a good fit for me?