Because Zen makes sense

Archive for the month “November, 2013”

Small to Vast in Twelve Hours

Yesterday I was out bicycling in a cold and frosty November in Norway. I first observed the autumn colored heather on an icy and slippery  rocky seashore:


And then I lifted my eyes to wath the enviroment around, and enjoyed the sight of the snow capped mountains raising high above the lake.


While cycling on, I thought of the parts making a whole, where everything is both separated from, but still part of something bigger, and where small cannot be understood without embracing the big, and where parts can not be understood without the sense of belonging to something greater. Tao Te Ching, chapter two:

Being and non-being produce each other.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low oppose each other.
Fore and aft follow each other.

And then, on my way to the train this early morning, I stopped and gazed at the starry night sky. I felt the cold, the vastness, and remembered yesterdays experiences of the small and beautiful And I felt being a part of it all, the heather, the mountains, the sky, and the cosmos. The next picture is todays photo fra NASA, I want to credit tem for this photo, and all other pictures the offer that helps me keep a perspective on my life and my person, – being small and vulnerable, and still basically made of star dust and therefore of immense importance.


There is actually nothing in this little experience. It is all quite normal, I guess. But still I want to share the feeling of belonging, together with the feeling of being sole and alone. And most of all the experience of peace of mind. Tao Te Ching, chapter sixteen:

Returning to Heaven’s mandate is called being constant.
Knowing the constant is called ‘enlightenment’.
Not knowing the constant is the source of evil deeds
because we have no roots.
By knowing the constant we can accept things as they are.
By accepting things as they are, we become impartial.
By being impartial, we become one with Heaven.
By being one with Heaven, we become one with Tao.
Being one with Tao, we are no longer concerned about
losing our life because we know the Tao is constant
and we are one with Tao.


From Meditation to Zen


Or I could have said “From Training to Tao”.  While meditation primarily is training, a mean, of cultivating the mind and the brain, Zen and Tao ways of being. During formal meditation I turn back again and again to what’s going on in my brains left hemisphere, with narrow focus and detailed concentration, without any actual aim. But again and again my mind opens up for what’s going on in my brains right hemisphere, the broad and open awareness. Perhaps I am there for minutes, before I gently bring my mind back to my breath.

I do not deliberately seek enlightenment, whatever that may be. If it comes to me, then it comes. The moment I put an aim into my sitting, which I often catch myself doing, I leave the pure experiment of just be silent in the moment, here and now. I experience though, that by focusing, I also open up for the broad alertness which primarily takes place in my brains right hemisphere. And there I get this feeling of an insight which have to be Zen, or in my case what I believe is a touch of what can’t be named, the Tao. A way of being, not a way of doing, a relaxed awareness beyond my rational thoughts.

Zen, Tao, mindfulness, – I do not care about the naming. My point is that when I think that training my mind through the left hemisphere, also make me more responsive in life of what my right hemisphere have to offer, I also find that meditation goes both ways. There is a constandt shift between formal focusing, and unconscious awareness, and both seem to strengthen each other. So while I do formal meditation, I find the informality in Zen, to such extent that Zen (Tao) becomes a meditation in its own right.

I find that the technique to me means less and less, while simply attending the flow means more and more. I experience that my mind is one, not divided into left or right, into narrow or broad. And with that oneness, I find myself connected to everything around me. I know how my brain functions, but living Zen makes my knowledge less important. I know that the Tao is beyond my comprehension, but by letting knowledge and formalities go, I have the feeling of coming closer to whatever the Tao is. And that again, I think, is Zen in its pure form.

And while I write this, I find that what I am saying seems rather confusing. But perhaps that is how Zen is. It can not be expressed through words, but only through personal experience. And perhaps that is why Lao Tzu says:

He who knows, do not speak. He who speaks, do not know. 

Perhaps I should not even have tried, but the again: the wordless and the words are both part of the same reality. Nothing can be grasped as wordless unless there also is words. The wordless and the words fulfill each other in the reality of Tao. That is a paradox.

Thinking we are all one makes a BIG difference

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