Nov 17, 2021|by|in, , ,
“Zen is extracting people from the tangle in which they find themselves from confusing words and ideas with reality.”
The idea of Zen and its accompanying practices can quickly become baffling and confusing, the western mind may come across many frustrating predicaments while trying to understand this age-old philosophy. Put simply by philosopher Allen Watts “Zen may provide a valuable antidote to a prime source of anxiety in our creative lives” Watts states, in an attempt to clear the air “when human beings think too carefully and minutely about an action to be taken, they cannot make up their minds in time to act, the system will be paralyzed” This problem becomes fairly obvious in reflection of mind and anticipation of action, the mind becomes confused and stuck, resulting in no action at all.
I’m sure at some point you have thought “this isn’t me” “or, “this isn’t my style”. The question of course, is: Who are you anyway? the person that finishes reading this page will be different from the person who started reading it. This is exactly why Zen, in its attempts to purify the mind offers the human being an opportunity to reach their full potential through emphasizing action above reflection. In other words: don’t think about who you are “supposed” to be, just be who you are (in this moment). We trust our brains to send signals which allow us to breath, hear and react without reflection. So why then, are we so hesitant to trust our minds with the decision making process? It is said by ancient Zen practitioners to “Walk when it is time to walk, eat when it is time eat, sleep when it is time to sleep”. Our modern philosophy at this point would appear to read “think when it is time to walk, count when it is time to eat, worry when it is time to sleep”. In contrast, it is obvious to see how the latter philosophy could work against our ability to reach full potential and to live a peaceful life.
We do not have to sit on a cushion for 12 hours a day, or try to solve the riddle of Buddha nature, but we can make an effort to trust that our mind is certainly powerful and reliable enough to defend us and to make proper decisions that may guide us correctly along our own path. If we allow ourselves to relax, to give up the story of our memories and the rigid ideas of who we are and who we want to become, this practice can have an immediate effect on the mental capacity of an individual and their ability to create freely and openly, as well as to live a happier, uncluttered life.