Z – Zen

ad26Zen – I have been fascinated with Zen for over 40 years. I was never into memorizing names or dates or facts, and I have not felt comfortable with the organized structure and strict rituals of most religions.

I always wanted pure meaning, pure essence, I wanted that Z.file5751275333429[1]undefinable, intangible “it.” So Zen really appealed to me.

Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism, which originated in China and then was brought to Japan.  Zen has also been influenced by Taoism.

Zen teaches zazen, or meditation, as a way to understand our true nature and thereby Z.file1771339962349[1]reach enlightenment. Zazen is generally a sitting meditation, with no thoughts, no attachments, non-thinking. Simply sitting and being present. Zen stresses awareness, insight and being present as a path to realizing the true nature of ourselves and of existence, where we understand our Buddha nature and reach Buddhahood.  “Buddha” means “awakened one.”

There is actually no true definition of Zen. It is beyond words, beyond thinking. It is in between thoughts, in the spaces. It transcends the rational mind, bypasses intellect, to pure essence, what Is.

In addition to meditation, Zen koans, riddles, and parables are ways to bypass thought and the conscious mind and open a space where Z.IMG_8652[1]enlightenment happens, where we can awaken. One of the most well-known koans, or riddles, is “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” Another is “What did you look like before your grandparents were born?”

Of course, these cannot be answered with the logical, rational mind.  And that is the point – these are meant to bypass our intellect, shift us into a different consciousness, and open up something much deeper, from where we can awaken.

The parables, or stories, do that also.  One of the Zen parables, taken from “Zen Buddhism,” published by The Peter Exif_JPEG_PICTUREPauper Press in 1959, is: “Baso said to a monk, ‘If I see you have a staff, I will give it to you. If I see you have no staff, I will take it away from you.’ ”

Of course, on the surface, this does not make rational sense.  And it’s not supposed to.  It’s meant to shift things beyond rational, logical thought.

I still don’t know what Zen is. And that is good, because it is not something to be intellectually or rationally understood. It is to be IMG_1063[1]awakened to through meditation, awareness, mindfulness, and being present. And something in that resonates with me on such a deep level. Zen simply Is.

Here are a few of the most quoted Buddhist sayings.

“You only lose what you cling to.”
“The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”
“You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself.”
IMG_8671[1] “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
“Three things cannot hide for long: the Moon, the Sun and the Truth.”
“Doubt everything. Find your own light.”
“There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path.”
“If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another.”
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.”
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
Z.file8581284699371[1]“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”

“In the end these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?”

And I have come to realize that the divine source, the essence, all that is, everything that is sacred, the answer to all – is in everything and is in ourselves.   It is part of everything and nothing – it is the essence of all IMG_3377that is and is emptiness itself.

That which you seek is the one doing the seeking. What I am looking for, is looking for me.  All the answers to everything you ask or search for, is in you.

I hope none of this makes sense.  And I hope something shifts and opens so that it makes sense somewhere within you.

Wishing each of you peace and love.

Copyright © 2014 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.



About Lynn Miclea

LYNN MICLEA grew up in New York and moved to California while in her twenties. A certified hypnotherapist, Reiki Master practitioner, and EFT (tapping) practitioner, with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, she spent many years working in the medical field and in various offices in an administrative capacity. She is also an accomplished musician and plays the piano at various senior facilities, where her music touches those who need it the most. After retiring in 2013, Lynn discovered a passion for writing, and she has become a successful author with ten books published. Two of her books are powerful memoirs, and eight are uplifting and fun children’s animal stories about kindness, believing in yourself, seeing the best in those around you, and helping others. Lynn believes that the best thing we can do in this world is to help each other. She hopes that through her writing, she can help encourage people to show more kindness and compassion to everyone around them. She asks everyone to be kind to each other as we all share this journey through life together. Lynn currently lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and two dogs. For more information - please check out her website at www.lynnmiclea.com - thank you!
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12 Responses to Z – Zen

  1. Sammy D. says:

    Congratulations and thank you for wonderful, uplifting posts. I have enjoyed my visits.

  2. RenataB says:

    This is beautiful Lynn and so appropriate as the last post. I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts and getting to know you better through your sharings. I wish you peace and love and blessings as well my friends, and know that the friendship we have which began shortly before this, was deepened because of this, but will never end with the end of this challenge. Sending you deep love and appreciation:-) ❤

  3. A wonderful post to complete the Challenge. Well done.
    It’s been great meeting you, Lynn.
    Silvia @

    • Lynn Miclea says:

      Thank you, Silvia, you are so kind. Multumesc! It’s been a pleasure meeting you as well. Please stop by and visit any time, and I will be sure to visit your blog – I’ve enjoyed your posts as well. 🙂 ❤

  4. All that you’ve written makes sense. I suppose if I were to practice a dogma, Buddahism would be it. I probably already do without thinking about it. That’s fine with me. 🙂 When you wrote about the divine source is in everyone and everything, which I agree, I thought of one of the Q&A’s we were taught in catechism in 2nd grade. “Where is God?” “God is everywhere.” Thinking concretely, it doesn’t make sense. But, if we throw our heart to the wind, it does.

    Congrats! on completing the A to Z challenge. Whooo-hooo!
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

    • Lynn Miclea says:

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. You are absolutely correct – this is way beyond concrete thinking, in fact that gets in the way. Throw your heart to the wind – I like that – that’s the way to do it! Thank you so much for your comment! 🙂 ❤

  5. greyzoned/angelsbark says:

    This is probably my favorite post of yours! The writing of course is magnificent and the content is awesome. How you describe and explain Zen is great! I LOVED all of the quotes that you chose and really dug “What did you look like before your grandparents were born”! The paragraph “In the end what matters most…” you have done with this entire challenge! What a fantastic way to end the A-Z! I’m blown away… Wishing you peace and love too. ❤

    • Lynn Miclea says:

      Wow – thank you, Michele! What a beautiful, kind, thoughtful comment – you are amazing and sweet, and I appreciate all your words. Thank you! ❤

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