In the heart’s wide clarity, all things gather, but the heart is never overcrowded.
~ Ross Bolleter, composer and Zen teacher
Zen practice is an invitation to sit in silence and discover the heart’s wide clarity.
This discovery may come gradually, calming our nervous systems, melting our sense of boundedness, easing us towards more wellbeing and more agency in our lives. Or, within the context of a settled practice, there may come a sudden shift in experience, a realization of the clarity and boundlessness that has been there all along.
The Zen tradition speaks of four motivations for practice: curiosity, wellbeing (physical, mental, emotional), cultivating a spiritual path, and what Zen sometimes calls ‘hair on fire’—asking the fundamental questions of our lives: Who am I? What is this life? How can I live in a way that is authentic, openhearted, and free?
Alongside these motivations, there are four aspects of practice, any one of which is enough and all of which are available. The four aspects of practice include…
- mindfulness or present moment awareness
- opening to a deeper and wider sense of support
- coming to see and abide in the fact of oneness or unconditional belonging
- and, possibly, realizing there never was a separate self—realizing the nothing-at-all-ness that is completely empty and that gives rise to everything.
Wherever you enter, this path is wide as the heart.