A flash of insight or intuition. An idea, a possible solution, long sought after and then abruptly and unexpectedly stumbled upon. A sudden chuckle at an unexpected, humorous situation. Even, a jolt of intense physical pain to remind us that the human condition is a painful one.
Being fully present in the present moment – and realizing that this is all we have – that for me is the essence of zen. The immediacy, intensity and clarity of direct (interpretation-free) experience – that is zen. As well, actively participating in the dynamic process called life, rather than being a mere spectator, is necessary to being fully alive.
If you look for zen, if you seek it, you may be disappointed. One can, however, cultivate an attitude, or a mindset, of being flexible and open to the present moment in all its variety, all its unpredictability. It is surprising, pleasantly so, what you can open yourself to with a little inner work each day. There is so much we miss by being so terribly caught up in the every day grind of rushing to and from work and doing all the other daily tasks (chores?) it takes to keep body and spirit together. A little detachment from these ongoing stresses can help us to be in the moment.
The cool autumn wind gusts, and caresses my face as I walk along with an empty mind. My eyes water. But, the wind feels good as I walk in the sunshine looking at the barren hillside in the distance. Leaves are blowing down the street and making a softly seductive sound as these touch the pavement and scurry on.
The above image, of the manmade ground surface in a city plaza, invites us to pause and think for a moment. Today, courtyards, walkways and roadways are made by paid workers, either municipal employees or those of private company contractors. In earlier times, roadways were made by the efforts, the labors of slaves. As we hurry on to make our lunch appointment or to go to the nearby coffee shop, do we ever notice such things beneath our very feet?
Never mind that this photo was taken accidentally as my finger pressed the camera’s shutter release unintentionally. This unthinking act contributed to today’s essay.
We leave the reader with this quote from Aesop.
No act of kindness,
no matter how small,
is ever wasted.
copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com