Living with Zen

a small post about living in a way with zen. 


Last November I began to study zen. Not in a strict way, I became familiar with the fluid interpretation of Alan Watts, inspired through the writings of D. T. Suzuki. I could write forever about the things I’ve learned from Alan Watts, but this post is about zen and it felt right to talk more about Suzuki. 





Suzuki was a Japanese scholar, and one of the key figures to bring Eastern philosophy to the West. He was one of the key figures to bring Eastern philosophy to the West in the 20th Century and his clear interpretations have reconstructed zen to a modern context. 


His book ‘Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind’ is a sort of practical field guide to clearing space in your mind. If you’re looking for something lighter Alan Watt’s lectures on zen are all rooted in Suzuki’s writings (and he says so himself). In the end it;’s all the same thing, although I do believe that books always find you at the right time.


There are no right and wrongs in zen. To take Suzuki’s words,



‘The reason everything is beautiful is because it is out of balance’



Do whatever you have to do to stop the commotion. Get back to the real world- one way or another. Kill the buddha so to speak, kill your darlings, kill everything that isn’t true -please do not take this advice as violence. Milan Kundera said that love is always a form of violence, but she didn’t mean it like the kind that kills. I believe she was talking about heartbeats. How sometimes they match up, and other times they don’t but there is always this tension, this rhythm, this space between the chords.


‘just to be sincere, and make our full effort in each moment is enough‘



Zen is not to live half heartedly, zen is to live fully heatedly- or without heart- without mind- in that mirroring mindless state of mind. 

I find it most in making things, for I believe making things to be a search for truth.

I promised myself I would not overwrite this post (overwriting is very un-zen). Haikus are a better way to look for truth.

This morning I woke up early and the world was cool with rain and soaked in a soft deep blue, I did not write a haiku, but Jack Kerouac did and it sums up the sentiment.



Haiku (Birds singing…)

Birds singing

in the dark

—Rainy dawn


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