Monday, August 18, 2008

"Appropriate" is my new favourite word.

I've begun practicing Zen is more earnest since my last trip to Massachusetts. I like to think of my practice over the years as being comprised of a series of hurdles (mountains?) to overcome. That is, revelations seem to come in waves, and only after chewing on some particular concept over time.

At the moment, the concept upon which my teeth are gnawing is "appropriate action". This is a term that came up in the context of being in the moment: if you are truly aware, you will take appropriate action. ...This was the promise, anyway! This seems counter-intuitive, perhaps, because being truly aware requires being fully in the moment, with your thoughts focused neither on past transgressions or future possibilities. In essence, it is action without "thought", in the traditional sense. And I don't believe we (humans) are predisposed to acting appropriately without thought. Or so I fear. Rather, so go my thoughts on the matter. : )

And yet my judgment is premature, because being fully in the moment is, itself, so difficult to attain. Most of my thoughts, I have observed, are "future thoughts". Mostly, potential actions. I like to think, for example, about what I will write on my blog, or what it would be like to be a spiritual leader, or how I would defend myself against some kind of abuse, or how enjoyable it would be to get back to college, or what I'm going to draw next... Sure, I also think about past transgressions and how I might have responded to them. But I think I spend probably 65% of my time thinking about the future. One might claim that potential is my vice. : )

So anyway, what I continue to work on is being present, and watching this "appropriate action" come of it. Or not. It will be interesting to see. But I feel this is one of the tallest mountains I've yet climbed!

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