Due to Monday being a holiday and as a follow-up to my wildly popular (not) Unraveling My Zen post, I thought I’d post my Monday Musings today. It’s about ways in which I try to find, capture, and hold on to my elusive Zen.
Zen is kind of like Wi-Fi. You know it’s there but you don’t know exactly how it works. When you don’t have it, you’re searching for it and when you do, you feel so connected.
Brief History of Zen and Zen as a Brand, Product, and/or Concept
According to The Free Dictionary the word, Zen, comes from a medieval Chinese word Chán, which means meditation, contemplation. Way back in the 5th century a Buddhist monk, Bodhidharma, purported to be of Indian descent brought that word and the practice to China and established Chan Buddhism. Fast forward to the 7th century where it migrated to Japan and they pronounced the word, “Zen.”
We toss the word around a lot. It’s on everything from tee-shirts to coffee mugs. There’s “zen” words; hope, love, peace, joy and we paint those words on rocks and put them in bowls or baskets. Maybe Zen will be more apt to show up if we keep those kinds of things around. There’s Zen-like exercise such as yoga or pilates.
But are we finding it or are we just hoping to? Do we know what it really means?
My Zen May Not Be Your Zen
Zen may seem like a mystical something because the concept is thousands of years old. Most spiritual and religious teachings are and each of them has the same thing, I believe, in common. Striving for that which makes us become our personal best while at the same time finding inner peace and joy. Once we have it, we can’t help but radiate that outward which in turn affects everyone we come in contact with at any given moment.
The maddening thing is I don’t believe Zen is something we have to or should search for. The struggle for it goes against the very concept of it. When we struggle, we’re not at peace; we’re the opposite of Zen. We’re in conflict.
Zen, therefore is something that just is you. It’s a long walk and noticing something you’ve walked past hundreds of times before and that day, finding beauty in it.
It’s noticing a small child’s eyes following you and when you smile at her/him, their face lights up as if to say: I know you. But never you’ve seen them until that moment.
It’s when the little hairs stand up on the back of your neck and tingles flood your body because you’re witnessing a magnificent sunset; hearing a song that gives you some kind of message just when you need it; or, you smell cut grass and you feel the presence of a parent that’s left the physical world.
It’s your glorious humanness and all the emotions and love that comes from being who you are and a knowing that everything is exactly as it should be.
And all of that really, is just being aware. Being present. Being grateful. Not so mystical. I think we think of it that way sometimes. We fret over what tomorrow is going to bring, or what we think it will bring.
Until we come back to ourselves and there it is, our perfect Zen, right where it always is—within our grasp, within us. All we have to do is just be.
That’s some of my Zen. What’s yours?
Happy Monday (well, late Monday) and I hope you experience your perfect Zen today.
Zen definitions: The Free dictionary, Webster’s Dictionary, Urban Dictionary.