How Zen Are You?

Nancy’s post last week had me feeling guilty. When I’m alone on a plane or a train, I like to curl up and pretend to be a surly, antisocial person. It’s my only time without a phone, without interruption, without the family and friends, whom I love, but . . .

I can write, read, or fantasize. I can indulge in the candy bar I sneaked aboard the BART train.

When I saw this posted on a bulletin board, I thought, maybe I can pretend to be Zen and Nancy and her fans will forgive me.

I read through —

UnknownNope. It won’t work I’ll never make it as a Zen-ster.

First, there are inconsistencies. You can’t do #1 (one thing at a time) and also #10 (cook and meditate at the same time). So that’s two down.

Okay, I can sit (#8) but we all know the Zen-sters mean sit and that’s it. Don’t think, don’t knit, don’t watch tv, and certainly don’t FB. Just sit. Can’t do it. At the very least, I’m always PLOTting and WORDing.

Smile and serve others (#9)? Sounds reasonable, but, again, we know the Zen-sters have something else in mind; they mean do it even if you don’t feel like doing it; do it even if the “others” don’t deserve to be served.

In this case, the Zen Thing is like the Catholic Thing: Suffering builds character. There’s also the overall directive from Luke to do good to those who hate you. Worth a second thought, I guess. But I’m also a fan of The Godfather(s). What’s a Zen-ster to do?

#11. What’s necessary? Keeping commitments; meeting deadlines; making sure the fridge is stocked; remembering birthdays; giving gifts. Okay, I guess I can do #11.

#6. Rituals. Even this one is hard for me. I blame my Gemini birth. Doing the same thing, the same way doesn’t work for me, unless you count things like tying my shoes the same way all the time.

There are a few others on the list, that I should address, but I’m conflicted. Shall I follow #3, and do this topic completely, or #3 and do less?

I’ll skip to #12, and go have a simple lunch.

How Zen are you?


2 Responses

  1. I’m pretty much like you,Camille: constantly multi-tasking–or trying to. And if I’m sitting, it’s with a book or a computer. I feel guilty just staring into space, although my two Zen daughters go once a year to a susshin (spelling?) at which they sit, on end, all day, just trying to break through some mental barrier they call a koan. The hardest of all is to “do less”–when, according to the Puritan ethic, one should do more. As Poe would say: “ever more!” No, I’m not a Buddhist like my daughters, and any attempt to meditate brings on a kaleidoscopic vertigo, along with guilt that I’m not doing something that needs to be done RIGHT NOW.
    So I guess my zen life is a failure. Thanks for reminding me.

  2. How interesting about your daughters, Nancy! I imagine you have some fascinating conversations.
    Guilt is a big factor for me, too — some call it Catholic guilt! — in some ways I envy my husband, who can sit in his recliner and watch sports (no knitting or other task!) even when the sink is backed up with dishes (his chore). At least I now wait him out!

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