Slow to Wake, Like my Journey to Zen

Strange…I was thinking about how to start this post. How do I title it and flow from there? That’s when it jumped out at me. You can title my whole journey to Zen, “Slow to Wake.”

Have you ever slept so deeply, so soundly, that you feel like it takes forever to wake up? That’s how I’m feeling this morning. I’m typically a light sleeper, always waking up and going back to sleep. I dream a lot. But it usually takes me only a few minutes to really hit the ground. This morning…I’ve been awake for two and half hours and I still feel groggy, not hung-over, just fuzzy in the head. I’ve been physically busy the last two days though, mudding drywall and sanding. I’m taking today off from that. My arms need the break!

This morning I have two quotes for you. I hope you like them as much as I do.

“The answer is simple, but the most difficult thing to do: cease seeking; stop looking for a solution. The truth is, there is no problem. There never was!” From The Path of the Human Being by Dennis Genpo Merzel

journey to zen

Being on this planet is not a problem. Having feelings is not a problem. Thinking is not a problem. Nothing is. We’re simply here. Things come and go. People live and die. The seasons change. And it goes on and on. Float with it.

This video from Thich Nhat Hanh summed it up nicely. We are not our ups and downs.

“It is not easy to let go of our perspective, the way we view ourselves, our self-identity. When we drop our perspective, we also lose our identity – at least the identity we know – and this is something we’re not eager to do.” From The Path of the Human Being by Dennis Genpo Merzel

Oh, that identity thing again. So often we hear, “You just need to find out who you are?” or “I’m searching for myself.” I’ve said them myself, among other gems.

A daughter, student, employee, cast member, girlfriend, wife, mother. A Christian, homeschooler, UNschooler, reader, American, Californian, moto-mom. The list goes on and on, changing every day. And each time we feel a change begin, we fight it with our whole being or move toward it with our whole being. Sometimes we’re devastated when the results don’t match our expectations.

What if we didn’t? What if we simply had no identity? Terrifying thought, right? What do we hold on to? Nothing. Like Princess Leia said, “The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.” And the more will fly right by you.

While we are here grasping our identity, the rest of the world floats on by us and we miss it. Experiences, opportunities, growth, it all passes us by while we white knuckle our grip on what we believe we already have or want.

My practice today includes letting go and remembering who I really am. Nothing and everything at the same time. It feels free.

To read more posts inspired by this book, start at “The Path of the Human Being.”

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