Zen Lesson #3 - Zazen
Zen is about "emptying". Our human conscious can be so full of memories, plans, concerns about our relationships, images from the media and on and on. We allow ouirselves to be pulled into a thousand directions. For some of us, the realization that our lives are shallow present itself in a question "is that all there is?" We question the quality of our lives. We eventually get in touch with our longing for wholeness and inner peace. It is "You, I seek." We are looking for the "pearl of great price".
And where do we find this "pearl of great price"? I found it in zazen. It is an arduous process---straightening the back, regulating the breath to breathing in and out while counting each breath and bringing back the wandering mind to the breathing. Staying with this practice can over time create a mind with no though clinging to it. Keep in mind the brain never stops thinking since that is part of its purpose, but you can train the mind to become like an empty white sheet of paper. Eventually in the words of Hug-jen, a scullery boy who later became known as the Sixth Chinese Zen Patriarch (683-713):
There is no Bodhi Tree
There is no clear mirror stand
From the beginning not one thing is
Where then can a speck of dust cling.