archie the zen

This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now.
And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.
Alan Watts

archie the writer on beach

For many years now, I have practised at zen.
This has ranged from reading about zen, listening to lectures by monks, as well as just making my own private effort to meditate and slow down in life.

None of this makes me any better than you or the next person when it comes to understanding the human condition with any degree of certainty. Probably, my pursuits have clouded my head with ideas that distract from spiritual truths I overlook every day.

Still, I practice at zen, using my own breathing to ground myself in the Present.
It humbles my ego with reminders to not value the beliefs of friends over enemies.
It helps me not forget how all life is a game without clear rules, that there are so many ways to live and roles for me to play.

If you’re unfamiliar, “zen” comes from the traditions a version of Buddhism (called mahāyāna, a Japanese variant of the Chinese chán), which means it is not a religion but a school of philosophies and rituals. For the sake of not appropriating any cultural elements of how the Japanese practice zen or the Chinese practice chán, I continue to only relate to zen as a practice concerned with meditation (dhyāna, or zazen) intended to cultivate my concentration, awareness, and balance.

Naturally, how I write is deeply impacted by how well I concentrate on the task of putting word after word on paper. What I write about is largely dependent upon what I am aware of in my life, the details of people and places and more. Every good book, in my honest opinion, contains a balance to describing raw, imperfect beauty in life even as it expresses the terrible struggles of being a human.

So that is my intention with living zen and writing stories, to bring both into harmony.
It is both the most difficult and most loving opportunity I could ask for.

For more thoughts on overcoming ourselves, please enjoy murder yourself, archie wrote.

And for a reminder to keep perspective, read cannot see the trees because of the forest.