From 21st Century Zen
Zen is all about love.
Throughout this book I will talk about love. Zen and love are intertwined. Of course, there are many sorts of love; eight types. Since Zen is an awakening discipline, there are numerous stories about tough love, (which isn’t on the eight types list) where the Zen Master slaps or throws a student out the window, metaphorically, or actually.
Regardless, there is so much to consider regarding love. To love, one must care. I once studied under an Aikido master. One day, near the end of my first year, without the slightest warning, he kicked me in the gut, then threw me across the floor. It was his equivalent of throwing me out the window. At that moment I knew he cared about me.
Did you take time today to demonstrate your love, your gratitude, and the fact that you care about someone? It can be as simple as looking that person, your brother or co-worker, the cashier at 7/11, in the eye, and saying with sincerity, “How are you doing today?” Nd then listen to the answer. Instead of saying goodbye to your wife in the morning, you can take a few minutes to hug her, kiss her on the lips and say, “I love you,” in gratitude for all she has done for you. You can spend five minutes with your dog or cat, and then water all the plants and flowers before you leave the house. You can bend over and touch the earth, and then stretch up and say good morning to the sun.
Everyone and everything in the whole earth waits for your love; wants to know you care. There is no need in being a flower child, skipping around saying I love you to everything you see. In Zen gentlemanly, gracious woman, fashion it can be conveyed with eye contact, a slight bow, a Mona Lisa smile, and a few well-chosen words.
“You look lovely this morning, my dear.”
Remember before you go to bed tonight, to look at the stars and the moon with gratitude. Think about and breathe in the beauty of all creation and remember that “all that” is a gift for you to love, and share.
And never forget to take the time to love yourself. Zen practice is all about loving yourself. It helps you to relax when you feel stressed. It reminds you to breathe when you feel confused. Zen encourages you to eat good food, to drink pure water, to exercise, and to touch someone and welcome being touched in return; to be kind and loving no matter what.
In loving yourself, you must honor yourself with right company and right place. Choose carefully. When you go to a cafe, or a party, look around. Lean back and take it all in and think to yourself. Is this the right place for me to be? Consider who you’re spending your time with. Do I really want to be with this person, or would I rather be alone, or with someone else?
In Zen the answer is “of course”, until it isn’t. Know when it isn’t.
Think about the All-Stars in your life; those who mean the most to you. When was the last time you told those closest to you, how you feel about them?
Zen reminds you to be grateful for being alive, to have people in your life who love you, whom you love in return. Zen reminds you to enjoy yourself and the company you choose; those who encourage you to take the time and space to dream, to water the plants and pet the dog, to kiss the bride and get lost in Ahhh moments of your everyday life.