Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Day #76, #77, & #78: exhale...reclaiming the zen principle
Zen. Just saying the word instantly calms me. It's better than any sedative, depressant, downer, or tranquilizer chemically constructed by man. It's just as it sounds....it's all zen baby. This has been my most recent enlightening experience. Sitting in the car one morning, panicking about an article and deadlines, I came to this swift realization that all of that anxiety just expends way too much energy. It was as if a switch had been instantly flipped, and the zen just flowed through my body and instantly I was calm.
Zen Buddhism is commonly practiced in Korea, China, and Japan. Zen comes from the a school of Mahayana Buddhism which asserts enlightenment can be attained through meditation, self-contemplation and intuition. It is derived from the Sanskrit word Dhyana, meaning "meditation" and is synonymous with peace and tranquility. According to an article from religiousfacts.com, to overcome this Zen rejects the study of scriptures, religious rites, devotional practices, and good works in favor of meditation leading to a sudden breakthrough of insight and awareness of ultimate reality. Buddhists believe that zen can be achieved either rapidly, like flipping the switch, or achieved gradually. Either way, zen is achieved purely by one's own effort. The inability to attain zen is felt to be due to a clouded Buddha-nature resulting in ignorance.
I have found my happy place. I have found my zen. And for me it was as instantaneous as a blink of an eye. My own thoughts continue to wonder and speculate why it has taken me so long to find such inner bliss. Perhaps, just as Buddha teaches, my nature was clouded. Clouded by the daily grind of everyday life. The constant push-pull of achievement, success, delivery. I was the quintessential definition of "high-strung." And for what? Of all that I have discovered perhaps what resonates most is the enormous amount of energy needed and used to fight the zen and live a "high-strung" fast-paced, constant state of worry existence. Shunrya Suzuki wrote, "Zen is not some of kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine."
So how to achieve zen? Well, as Buddha taught, it is either happens in a flash or takes time to develop. But how to get there? From an article I found on finding zen, the most important and crucial step is to always make time to clear your mind. We easily delete our iconic trashcan strategically placed on our laptops screen, or we shred or recycle unopened junk mail, yet how many of us take the time to delete all of the crap allowed to accumulate in the mind. The other important point is to allow yourself to have a "mental" health day. Yes, that's exactly what I said. It is perfectly acceptable to take a day and do exactly what you want to do at that exact moment, whether it means sleeping the day away or watching movies in pajamas. It doesn't matter.
Remember to remain peaceful. Through peace we gain strength. Love and accept yourself. No one knows you better, and no one should love you as much as you love yourself. Enjoy nature and surround yourself with people oozing with positive energy. They will make you feel good. Finally, just let it go. Let go of the anger and rage and pent up negative energy. Negativity is like a whistling kettle....if you don't turn off the flame and release the steam is going to keep whistling and whistling and bother the hell out of you.
Tilopa wrote, "No thought, no reflection, no analysis, no cultivation, no intention; let it settle itself." Search for the zen. Hold tight to it when it's finally found. Find enlightenment, peace, and contentment. Then sit back and savor all of the lovely calm that envelopes you. Breathe easier, speak with intent, and smile just because it's fantastic to smile. Buddha once said, "We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves."