Training Wheels

Thinking about Zen is like learning to ride a bike with training wheels. Words and ideas hold you up as you wobble your way along. If you are embarking on a meditation practice, you need those words as encouragement to make yourself just sit there and do nothing. You have to believe that you will get more benefit from doing nothing than you would from doing something. We do that every night when we sleep. We can’t help it. Our bodies force us to do nothing for a while every day. To decide to do nothing but sit with some of the waking hours of your day, you need to believe that there is a point to it. That’s where the words and philosophy come in. Those are your training wheels.

In riding a bike, when you learn to pedal and find that the bike is stable without the training wheels, then the training wheels get in your way, so you take them off. In Zen, although the words and philosophy will get in your way, it is not so easy to remove them. You will continue to live in a world where words and philosophy are the way of life. You have to be able to live with your training wheels forever.

When you find your stability, you don’t have to show everybody what a fantastic cyclist you are by riding without the training wheels. You need to keep riding, always starting from the beginning. To get started, put on your training wheels. Imagine that the universe is not what it appears, then see how it appears. Imagine that it is kind and will somehow support you. Wheeeeeeee.

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