As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
Zen is really just a reminder to stay alive and to be awake….We tend to daydream all the time, speculating about the future and dwelling on the past. Zen practice is about appreciating your life in this moment. If you are truly aware of five minutes a day, then you are doing pretty well. We are beset by both the future and the past, and there is no reality apart from the here and now.
The start of a long weekend here in Ireland. Also the clocks go forward this evening, meaning that the evenings are darker earlier and autumn feels more fully present. A natural time to become less “busy”.
The Arabs used to say, When a stranger appears at your door, feed him for three days before asking who he is, where he’s come from, where he’s headed. That way, he’ll have strength enough to answer. Or, by then you’ll be such good friends you don’t care.
Let’s go back to that. Rice? Pine nuts? Here, take the red brocade pillow. My child will serve water to your horse.
No, I was not busy when you came! I was not preparing to be busy. That’s the armor everyone put on to pretend they had a purpose in the world.
It’s not impermanence per se, or even knowing we’re going to die, that is the cause of our suffering, the Buddha taught. Rather, it’s our resistance to the fundamental uncertainty of our situation. Our discomfort arises from all of our effort to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness.