When you suffer, feeling worried, stressed, anxious or depressed, you may wish that you could be more zen. Wishing that you were more zen, is both the most and least zen that you can be. It is the most zen that you can be, because you are aware of your emotional state, aware of your suffering, and experiencing deep faith that there is a way of being zen about things. It is the least zen you can be, because you are actively resisting how things are by wishing that you could be other than you are at the moment. More or less zen is a relative way of thinking about Zen. In absolute Zen, you are always completely Zen, no matter how you think about your experience. Even as you wish you could be more zen, you are as Zen as possible.
It may come as little comfort to know you are completely Zen as you suffer. That knowledge however, may give you the courage you need to stick with your current experience. It may lead you to the idea that you have tremendous peace available to you right where you are. The understanding that you are Zen as you feel not zen at all, reminds you that you have the ability to deal with your current circumstance and any other situation that may come your way.
All the other steps you may take to become more zen do nothing to make you more Zen. You can shave your head, you can bow 108 times every morning, you can sit for nine years in a cave, and you won’t be a bit more Zen than you are right now. Those practices may reveal to you all kinds of shortcuts to experiencing how Zen you are. You may be less easily carried away by your suffering. You may develop a deep sense of compassion or an intimate connection the universe. Even if your Zen radiates from every pore, flooding the room with light, you won’t be a bit more Zen than you are in that moment when you notice yourself suffering and wish you could be a little more zen.