What is this moment? Who am I? How can I cultivate peace in the midst of this world just as it is?
These are not different questions. They are pointers to what we come home to in the practice of zazen.
Finding a posture conducive to stillness, resting in the breath, and welcoming what arises into the spacious awareness of silent sitting, we come to see the intimacy and immediacy of the present moment – and to find that nothing is excluded.
What about when what arises is restlessness and anxiety? What if getting quiet makes it all the more apparent that we want things to be other than they are? What if restlessness and worry make us want to stop sitting altogether?
The invitation of this practice is to allow uncomfortable or challenging emotions and to allow space around them; to notice the bare sensation without adding story or judgment or resistance (no need), and to see what happens.
Might it be that what we entrust to the silence dissipates on its own, or is illumined in a way that dispels its burden? Might we find that zazen – an expression of who we truly are – is a solvent? Might we discover the boundless compassion that is intrinsic to our own hearts and therein find the capacity for transformation of self and world?
What is this moment? Only now, the locus of experience, the fulcrum of our lives.
Image by Mark Petrick