In Zen meditation, we learn how to breathe with phrases, inquire of them, take them beyond conventional styles of understanding. We allow thought to arise, but not grasping thought, not being caught up in thought, not driving thought with our fear, desire, our smallness, as we usually do. So that instead of interpreting or explaining the phrases, trying to gain mastery over them, we allow ourselves to feel the phrases deeply, below the level of our conceptual mind.
In one story, Wu is sweeping the ground and Yan says, “Too busy!”
Wu replies, “You should know there’s one who’s not busy.”
This story is telling us that when we think we are busy, that’s just on the surface. The stress we complain about is conceptual and superficial. We can run around and do plenty of things, but when we know who we are and what is actually going on, we don’t need to be stressed out about anything.
Norman Fischer, Phrases and Spaces