Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Zen Of Ordinary Days

Let me start with a couple of quotes from the famous Zen Master, D.T. Suzuki, who was a big influence on Thomas Merton's understanding of Zen.

"The truth of Zen, just a little bit of it, is what turns one's hum drum life, a life of monotonous, uninspiring commonplaceness, into one of art, full of genuine inner creativity".

"Life, according to Zen, ought to be lived as a bird flies through the air or as a fish swims in the water".

These days my life is flowing rather gently although there is some increased activity due to the upcoming holiday season and some mysterious rumblings in the air at my workplace. Most of my days are filled with routine, the daily chores of living, the occasional boredom of work, and the never ending longing for rest and freedom that is occasionally satisfied with a weekend or a good nap. It would be difficult on any level to think of my life as exciting or artistic, full of "genuine inner creativity". Some kind souls may think of my writing as creative but for me it is just a way to process my thoughts and feelings with the hope that maybe it also helps others to do the same with their own thoughts and feelings. My understanding of Zen has always been a rather simple one. When asked, I reply, "Zen is doing what you are doing and being where you are". When I do this successfully my life is "lived as a bird flies through the air or as a fish swims in the water". When I am present to what I am doing and I am where I am, then my life seems to flow, and, if not artistic, it at least has a natural beauty. When birds fly, they don't think about flying. When fish swim, they don't think about swimming. When you are doing what you are doing, you're not thinking about what you are doing. When you are where you are, you're not thinking about where you are. Zen is not about thinking. Zen is not about doing. Zen is being. Zen is about "flow". Flow is the sensation of being lost in space and time. In a sense, Zen and "flow" are being so aware that you're not even aware that you're aware. There's nothing ordinary about that!

1 comment:

Flash said...

Great post (: