The Path of the Human Being

My first read of ’22 is The Path of the Human Being by Dennis Genpo Merzel. I picked it up at a used bookstore in Prescott, Arizona while my mom and I were exploring a few months ago. Why? The title reminded me of a guidebook for aliens visiting earth and that’s exactly how I feel most of the time.

the path of the human being

I’m going to go ahead and say I’ve fallen in love with Zen Buddhism. I’ve walked alongside the water, dipped my toe in from time to time, and now I feel I want to know more. I certainly don’t want to immerse myself just yet. The very thought of going somewhere or speaking to someone about it chills me. Even online retreats seem like too much to bear at the moment. It’s too vulnerable.

I’m reading this book slowly, stopping to write a few words in my journal after each short chapter, instead of only leaving marks in the book.

The following quote shook me this morning.

“Life itself becomes our teacher: whatever is happening is simply what we need to be going through at the moment.” From The Path of the Human Being by Dennis Genpo Merzel

If I had a heads-up display like some sci-fi first-person shooter video game, it would register my heartrate or brainwaves and display things like this as reminders just when I need them.

The traffic, the lack of response from the gas company, unexpected visitors, bad weather, all are experiences we need to go through at the moment. Instead of grumbling about them, what if we stopped and asked ourselves, “What can I learn from this?”

I wish I had done that this past weekend. I could have done a lot of things differently, but then maybe what was happening in my mind, my emotional state, my response to stressors, was exactly what I needed to learn at that moment. And I should stop giving myself hell for it.


I found a new meditation app and started using it today. It’s called Plum Village. My first session today made me cry, so I think it’s working. Let me know if you decide to use it or have experience with it. I’d love to hear from you.

Want to read more posts inspired by this book? Try “Slow to Wake, Like my Journey to Zen.”
The Space Between Impulse and Choice
Keep Moving and Let Go
The Way is Yours to Choose


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