Editorial

The Pursuit of Zen

The young lady sat there, awaiting a nod, a sigh, a shrug, something that signaled empathy towards her plight. The old man set his cane aside, paused, and looked directly

  • PublishedMarch 30, 2012

The young lady sat there, awaiting a nod, a sigh, a shrug, something that signaled empathy towards her plight. The old man set his cane aside, paused, and looked directly into the eyes of the young lady. Mind you all the while still grinning like a toothless infant mesmerized by a delightfully entertaining story.

“Young lady,” he whispered barely audibly, drawing her in so close she could smell the scent of his rusty breath. “Have you tried to sit still, close your eyes and let the Zen come to you?” Based on her puzzled expression he took her answer to be no.

And so the old man turned his head forward, inhaled deeply, rested his arms on his lap, closed his eyes and returned to his motionless state.

What on earth is he talking about? Is he sleeping right now? Maybe he’s dead! Hah, Ha! Good riddance. Oh, wait, maybe he’s experiencing Zen right now. Maybe she should just do what he says and Zen will finally be hers. Fine, eyes closed, body muscles engaged to be still, let’s do this, she thought. Zen, the young lady declared, come to me! Sitting there in silence waiting for Zen to appear, the young lady’s mind bounced from thoughts of what to eat for dinner, to recollections of last night’s movie, to reminders of all the errands to be done, to endless questions over why the boy she so desired hadn’t called her back. In spite of all this activity, no Zen appeared. Not even a hint of Zen seemed to be apparent. This approach clearly wasn’t working.

In a flash of fury she opened her eyes and glared at the senile geriatric, still seated there in all his meaningless, and/or dead, position. Why was she even listening to a clearly demented old man who would most likely be dead in twenty-four hours? Enough of this craziness! Taking the courtesy to walk away quietly, the young lady beat herself up for being stupid and naïve trying to follow the path of these silly, crazy people.

She then decided that Zen was not to be found following the advise of random strangers, but through the people who actually knew and cared about her. So she called up a group of friends, arranged plans for dinner and drinks, and focused her attention on the promise of joy and laughter that would surely accompany the evening ahead.

And joyous indeed it was! Scrumptious food was eaten, delicious wine was drank, hilarious stories were shared and you could hear the sparks of laughter illuminating the table like the iridescent glow of an electric current. Captivated by the golden shimmering light and the buzz of interminable energy, the young lady thought, now THIS is pure Zen!

The next morning she awoke. Groggy and bleary eyed she was met with a dull, throbbing headache and waves of fatigue, despite sleeping until almost noon. Is experiencing Zen meant to make you feel so tired the next day? Isn’t Zen meant to make you feel forever energized and happy like she did last night? This cannot be what experiencing Zen feels like! Pouring a cup of rich, black coffee down her parched throat, she sat at her dining table ruminating over where she could possibly have gone wrong on her quest. A light bulb instantly switched on in her mind as she came to a realization of her obvious mistake.

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