Sunday, November 6, 2011

How can Zen help us and why choose it?

Life has become very complicated, hasn’t it? Everyone seems to be frantically busy. The fine art of multitasking is no longer reserved for computers. We all do it, every day.

Cordless phones and cellular phones have replaced those cumbersome contrap-tions that stay stubbornly attached to a cord. A busy signal? Break through with call waiting, caller ID, or leave your very important message on voice mail. Forget what has now been characteristically termed „snail mail.“ Such cumbersome chores as fold-ing paper and putting it into stamped envelopes are outmoded. The swifter, cheaper e-mail is the communication mode of today. Computer calendars, schedulers, and virtual secretaries keep us organized. Laptops let us take the whole thing on the road. Typewriters? Well, how passe!
What about free time? What about relationships? Scheduled to the max, full of activi-ties, plans, even conversations we think we should have. Or maybe your free time is spent collapsed on the couch, staring blankly at the television. Let the screen fill your mind with a stream of images you can barely recall an hour after you’ve shut off the set. What else can you do after such an exhausting week?

Partners, children, friends, they fit in somewhere. Or not. Or we cling obsessively to our personal relationships, hoping our loved ones will provide the anchor, the sense of self that we can’t seem to find. Hoping they will love us, hoping that if they don’t, we can keep busy enough not to notice, or to feel too lonely.
We really don’t mean to make modern life seem com-pletely bleak and empty. Modern life is very exciting. We, too, have our laptops, our cell phones, our e-mail accounts. We multitask. We feel pride in our accom-plishments.
And sometimes we also feel overwhelmed, stressed, too busy, disorganized, lonely. We’re just like you.
So why Zen for you, for us, for any of us? Because Zen can teach us something exceptionally important for finding peace, contentment, and happiness in the twenty-first century, or any century. Zen teaches us to relinquish control.
Yikes! Relinquish control? Let go of the steering wheel? Set the great ocean liner that is your life adrift untended without a captain? Impossible! Or, is it? Certainly not. Zen can teach you to let go in a way that frees you, not from your duties as captain of the ship, but from the effort, the strain, and the burden of trying to manipulate that giant, seaweed-clogged rud-der against the inevitable waves and tides. Your ship can run beautifully by itself. Just keep an eye out for icebergs and you’ll be fine.