ZEN AND LIFE
NATURE OF WORK
Everything in life is work. To be alive is also work. Thinking, eating, walking, sleeping, caring and brushing are works. There is no escape from work. Work is everywhere. There is no work time or leisure time; there is only daytime, nighttime and lifetime.
There is physical work; and there is mental work. There is good work; and there is bad work. There is useful work; and useless work; harmful and harmless. Work you like and those you dislike.
WORK AND MEDITATION
Work can be used as a tool for meditation. When you watch how the hands or the feet move, or how you move the tools, you can be very relaxed and at the same time be very efficient also.
Whatever be the work, one must learn to do the same silently. There must not be unnecessary conversation or social talk. There can be separate time for chatting. If we talk unnecessarily we can neither enjoy the work nor the conversation.
The body has two ways of communicating. The body language is different when you communicate with the world; and it is different when you communicate with yourself inwardly. In meditation the communication is inward. Accordingly, the posture must be appropriate for inward communication. One has to sit in a comfortable position.
The breathing has to be deep, easy, and natural. There is no need to control breathing or make it happen. With the right posture it will happen naturally and by itself. In Zen the attention is focused on the breath. When the mind is at rest the breath is deep, easy, and effortless.
WATCHING OF THOUGHTS
The thought has to be watched. The mind must be allowed to do what it wants to do. Let the thoughts come and go. The thoughts are not to be controlled. The thoughts should not be suppressed; whether they are good or bad. It has to be watched. One must not worry about the goal. Patience and persistence are very important. Watching the thoughts will help us understand our own mind and how it works. Understanding the working of the mind is understanding the self. Zen is the study of the self.
Most of the people are always in a hurry. There is urgency everywhere. Everything must happen immediately, nay instantly. This urgency cripples the body and the mind. Watching of the thoughts will make one realize that it is this urgency that makes life mechanical and the mind confused and depressed. Unless the body and the mind are totally relaxed, at least for some part of the day, one cannot experience that comfortable feeling which is very important for a meaningful life.
Thoughts can be good or bad. Useful or useless; meaningful or meaningless. Some thoughts are permanent. They keep coming to us every now and then. Some thoughts are temporary. They do not come always. Some thoughts are casual. We select them when we want to or reject them at our will and pleasure. Then there are thoughts that disturb the mind and those that make the mind peaceful.
Action can be good or bad. Useful or useless; meaningful or meaningless. Some actions are regular and continuous. We keep doing them every now and then. Some actions are temporary. We do not do them always. Some actions are casual. We select them when we want to or reject them at our will and pleasure. Then there are actions that disturb the mind and those that make the mind peaceful. There are actions that are good for the health and those that are harmful.
CULTIVATING GOOD THOUGHTS
The easiest way to cultivate good thoughts is to get rid of bad thoughts. Without getting rid of bad thoughts it is very difficult to cultivate good thoughts. Even if a few bad thoughts are got rid off, the mind will be filled with several good thoughts. It is these good thoughts that make the mind peaceful, focused and concentrated on any particular subject or object.
CULTIVATING GOOD ACTIONS
The easiest way to cultivate doing good actions is to get rid of bad actions. Without getting rid of bad actions it is very difficult to do good actions. Even if a few bad actions are got rid off, the person will start doing several good actions. It is these good actions that make the mind peaceful, body healthy and the person cheerful at all times.
It is not possible to change or transform the society. Society was in existence before our birth and continue to remain so long after we are gone. We come for a brief period. In this brief period it is not possible to change the society. We can change the government, we can change the laws, we can change the way of life, we can change the culture. But the mental sickness of the society cannot be changed by any one. People will always be different from what they claim to be.