Friday, October 12, 2012

Ten Good Reasons to Practice Zen: #2

Reason #2: You get to relax.

This morning I came across this, by the artist, Wendy MacNaughton.........
And it suggested to me a way to view individual human development.

1.  We start out babbling, me, me, me, want food, want comfort.  We formulate longer-term desires to achieve, to get things, to matter.

2.  If we're lucky, we gradually learn to take in the outside world.  We begin to meditate and hear the demands of the self, and acknowledge the reality of other people, to not push ourselves forward so much.  We get some freedom from the cravings of the small self.

3.  We live long enough that life keeps knocking us with the fact of death and we figure out that we are one small golden blip on the great black river, and all those words don't matter so much after all.

So there.  You get to relax your ambitions.  That's reason #2.


  1. Another aspect of this that I find interesting in how our parents teach us to think and calm ourselves when we are very young. When we are upset as infants, they rock us, but they also might sing to us and reassure us with words. When we become overwhelmed and anxious as adults, these internalized voices seem to jump in to intervene. The problem is that sometimes feelings just need to be felt without being solved by thinking that has become compulsive. I love an episode from Radiolab that seems to be about this:

    1. Yes. It is actually a new idea to me, that the internalized parental voices could be kind. Mine were and are not. Even so, it seems to me awakening is, as you describe, becoming able to just feel without attempting to solve anything. That's part of what we let rise and pass when just sitting, and it's very big.

  2. Mine time line is ...Know Nothing 1-14, Know-it -all 14-36, Know Something 36-50, and Know Nothing 50 till Death. It all evens out, so you pass in the same state as you arrived.

    1. I like this a lot. I am in my "second childhood," enjoying making collages with simpatico women friends and doing free movement/dance to music. I actually didn't get to freely enjoy things like this as a child; I think they matter more to me now because of that.