Everything Zen

One interesting trick of Zen is its ability to find the universe in a grain of sand. Most people agree that the universe is amazing. It is full of everything we know and everything we don’t know. It has planets, stars, galaxies, black holes, matter, antimatter, life, and consciousness. Most people also agree that a grain of sand is not so amazing. If we go to a beach, we may appreciate the sand, but in our daily lives we generally sweep it out of our homes with the all the thrill of doing chores. Zen does not expect you to find a grain of sand to be amazing. It is just a grain of sand that happens to contain the entire universe.

If Zen can see the entire universe in a grain of sand, then the entire universe is also in you and me, and chimpanzees, and cement trucks and French Impressionism. To see everything connected to everything else is a Zen way of seeing the world. A Zen way of seeing the world may seem like an amazing way of looking at things or it may seem a boring way of looking at things. It is both. Zen is appreciating the majesty of creation and appreciating the boredom of creation. When you look at the world through a Zen lens, you see that everything is Zen.

The problem with everything being Zen, is that Zen loses all meaning. Zen ideas are just ideas. Zen practice is just learning to see the world as it is. Zen sucks people into practice with wonderfully exotic rituals, which wrap the fundamental boredom of the universe in fancy paper. The reasoning behind wrapping the boredom is that it makes people interested enough in the boredom to see that it contains an amazing universe. Zen is nothing. That, and everything.


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