Zazen – The Missing Manual

If I analyze or objectify Zazen as I did so in an earlier review, I won’t be able to communicate it across to you. I can’t define a mountain by describing the color of it’s mud. It just won’t work! But I can describe it to you with the help of an analogy which might help you feel the same way I feel about the mountain to truly understand it.

If you’ve acquired the skill of writing code to solve complex problems, you will recall brief moments while coding where you can simply see the code spell itself out in your mind. Writing it is then simply a function of dealing with the editor. You need to do this again and again until you have something that works.

Now blow up that picture several times. If you watch Mark Zuckerberg’s character carefully in the movie “the Social Network”, the moment you see his inner nature emerge is when he is single-mindedly building out Facebook, fearlessly absorbing and internalizing ideas from all around him. Zazen is then one way you can freeze frame that moment for yourself, study it, and find a path, the real steps back to it every time.

A favorite scene from the movie “Finding Forrester” is when William Forrester is teaching Jamal how to write. Jamal is talented but has never had a formal education in writing. His sparks of brilliant writing are interspersed with what William calls constipated results. As William sets about teaching Jamal, he spots him thinking with fingers frozen above the keys of the typewriter. He exclaims “No thinking – that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is… to write, not to think!”. For me this poignant scene defines the Zen approach.

Everyone’s lives are filled with countless moments like these, big and small – ones where we present ourselves in our entirety, or ones that we can call out as a missed opportunity to pop open our hoods and peek inside. Zazen is one way to learn to spot these moments before they unravel and get your entire being behind your choice to realize your destiny, to finally know thyself.

Related:
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on flow and what makes a life worth living? – TED.com.

Know Thyself | Guides to the Journey Inward.

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Search for “Finding Forrester”.

Search for “The Social Network”.

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