Where are you, right now?
I’ll preface this with a Zen Koan that I’ve paraphrased from memory:Joshu had studied for many years, arduously meditating in and around the monastery; studying the sutras meticulously – following his master’s every command and instruction.
He proceeded along the lines and years and grew more prestigious, and the time came for Joshu’s master to test him – to see if he had truly attained the essence of the truth. If he showed, through answering his Master’s questions, that the knowledge had been properly received – he would move forward and become his own Master.
The time came … Joshu’s mind had percolated back and forth all night over the possibilities of what the Master’s question might be, in order to prepare himself.
He approached the Master, bowed, and told him he was ready to receive the question.
“What side of your umbrella did you place your shoes on before you came through the door, Joshu?”
Joshu couldn’t remembered.
The point of this Koan is simply to demonstrate that there is no point to Zen, and essentially, that there is no “truth” to be conveyed. The only truth is the truth – the essence of things as they are.How often do you notice things around you as they are, though? So here’s a simple way of approaching this problem (never think that a single “trick” will bring on enlightenment, though – that’s the product of hard work).
During meditation, sit in front of a table, for instance. You might even be in front of a table right now – or there might be things immediately around you … what are the; don’t cheat!
That’s ok if you completely failed. That’s just a lack of mindfulness – which is, ironically, mindLESSness.
Try this: Look around you, or during brief moments of meditation, at the things around you. Close your eyes and try to remember them … try to envision them all; their placement in relationship to one another. The clock, the table, the pen … close your eyes. Which way are they tilted? Close your eyes …
Find something new each time – you’ll get the point.
Being unaware of what’s immediately around us is symptomatic of all the things we try to achieve through meditation – so, always be aware… smell, colour, form, taste … these aren’t mind.