I’ve been interested in Zen and Buddhist ideas off-and-on for several years, and have been reading more about them lately. I think the reason I’m feeling drawn to these schools of thought at the moment is that I didn’t fully understand or appreciate stillness until I turned 30. I thought I did, but in my twenties I was always running around from work to dates to parties, always filling my remaining waking hours with reading or writing or watching things. At 30 I have become more interested in just being still, when I can; I have built a life that allows for this occasionally and my weary body is grateful for that.
I’m reading a book right now called Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, which contains some of the teachings of a Zen master named Seung Sahn. A lot of the ideas in it are familiar to me from other Zen teachings I’ve read – which doesn’t mean I fully understand them, just that I’ve thought about them before and tried to understand them. As Seung Sahn says, trying to teach someone about Zen through words is sort of counterproductive, because Zen itself (as far as I understand it) is about having no words in your mind, no thoughts, just a clear head and mindfulness of the moment. “Be here now,” as the saying goes.