It’s a path, not a conclusion.
Does Zen actually work? I sometimes wonder. After all, I still get elated when power brokers or incrowders from the world of books send me a friendly greeting, or throw a contract my way, or when a poem comes out in a renowned magazine. And crestfallen when left off a short list: I‘ve given my whole life to this, and look how they treat me… A phantom haunting the weeds, as Zen puts it: that’s where I still am. An unreal person caught in an unreal world. How much better it is to sit in a zendo and let the unrealities drain off like toxins of some drug trip, and start to see the bare bones of our actual existence, un-entranced.
…I’ll keep investigating the broader questions of who I am and what I could be doing to be more helpful on this earth. That’s how Zen training happens. It’s slow, painstaking, peaceful, troubling, long, immediate. It’s a path, not a conclusion. And we only ever find it here and now.
Excerpted from midway through One Blade of Grass by Henry Shukman.