The Pursuit of Zen

She had failed to sit down and actually study Zen. Of course unlocking the secrets of Zen must require a tremendously sharp, extremely intellectual mind. Otherwise all the dim-witted human

  • PublishedMarch 30, 2012

She had failed to sit down and actually study Zen. Of course unlocking the secrets of Zen must require a tremendously sharp, extremely intellectual mind. Otherwise all the dim-witted human beings on the planet (i.e. almost everyone) would have acquired it. Duh! More than anything, the young lady had no doubt about her possession of a genius, beyond gifted, smarter than Einstein, brain.

Hence, with a thermos of piping hot coffee in hand she marched into the local public library and declared to no one in particular, “Show me where your Zen section is! Please.” Guided by a slightly perturbed librarian she was led to a section titled ‘Religion & Spirituality’. “Shouldn’t we be going to the section beginning with ‘Z’,” the young lady asked? “Um, I’m not sure what you’re talking about,” answered the librarian, while taking cautious, determined steps away from the frenzied young lady.

Assuming that the librarian was yet another demented creature, the young lady turned her attention to the bookshelves and began selecting random titles, convinced that the Universe would lead her to the right ones. After all, wasn’t the Universe to blame for bringing her here to the library after a series of unfortunate events? There must be some kind of hidden meaning to all this madness, and all she had to do is concentrate, focus, read everything she could, study the words as hard as possible, and eventually she would figure this whole Zen thing out.

Two hours later the young lady felt a gentle nudging sensation on her shoulder and heard a weary voice speaking out of nowhere, “Miss, Miss, the library will be closing in ten minutes. Miss! WAKE UP!” Jumping out of her seat the young lady looked around frantically thinking, “Where am I? What’s going on? Why is this woman yelling at me?”

Clearly none of the books had led to any sort of Zen-like epiphany (though they did aid in stimulating a much needed nap). In fact she could barely remember a single paragraph of whatever it was she happened to be reading prior to succumbing to slumber. Sensing the shadowy walls of desperation closing in on her, the young lady picked up her things, wiped the drool from her face, and dragged her weary body out of the echoing library halls and into the cold, bitter street. Why is this so hard? She thought.

“What am I doing wrong? Why has Zen forsaken me?” Lost in her dark internal world composed of failure and shame, she sauntered around aimlessly, having little regard as to where her path would take her.

“Young lady! Hey there, young lady!” Startled, she turned her head towards the source of this eerily familiar raspy voice. Lo and behold, there was the senile old man. Alive. Sitting on the same sidewalk bench that she had left him on. Waving at her with his toothless, infantile, though undoubtedly spiteful, grin. “Did you find the Zen you were looking for?” he asked, adding extra ‘cheer’ to his malevolent grin.

Burning with rage the young lady charged towards the old man screaming, “How dare you make fun of me, you despicable old fool?” The old man stared at her, expressionless. His eyes however twinkled with unadulterated delight and without delay his creased, spotty, poker face gave way to uncontrollable, childlike giggles. As if to cruelly wedge the knife even deeper into the young lady’s wounded ego.

This final act proved to be too much for her. In tears of hopelessness and despair she fell to the ground, threw up her arms and wailed, “Arrgghhhhh! I’ve had enough of this! WHERE FOR ART THOU ZEN???!!!????” Finally, she surrendered. Accepting defeat in her pursuit of Zen, the young lady collapsed into a bawling, overwhelmed mess on the filthy, concrete sidewalk.

Regaining his composure the old man stood up from the bench, grabbed his cane, and slowly hobbled his way to the sobbing human being lying helplessly on the ground.

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