A Personal Zen Story


This week has been full of awakenings for me, one after the other. In my healing practice, I get to lead workshops, give talks, lead meditations, and work one on one with clients, but lets not forget that I am on the path of Spiritual growth too. Just like you, I have my humps to get over, I have my cleaning to do. Just like you I may read something or hear something one way today, and then next week the same concept may take on an entirely new and different meaning. When you experience this, it is always good. It is a step forward, and the understanding is a little deeper. These new ideas are presented to us and it takes the brain a little while to adjust. There is an adjustment stage, and then one day there is no more adjusting, this is now the normal reality. You have changed or transitioned.

Here is a little Zen story I have created to attempt to describe the process of growth:

There was a man with a very stressful situation, and each time he encountered this situation it was upsetting. There was anxiety, there was anger, there was fear, it was just all around stressful and unpleasant. This went on for a period of years, until one day the man had a realization; “Each time I encounter this situation it is stressful, there is drama, anger, fear, etc… but then the next day life goes on.” He decided that the next time he encountered the situation, he would not let it upset his apple-cart. 

People close to him were amazed. They were used to him getting upset over the situation, but here the situation was in full bloom, yet the man sat calmly with a smile on his face. “Each time I get upset, it doesn’t help things, and then everything works out and life goes on” he told them. “So why get upset?” He was proud that he had accomplished this understanding, and it was indeed an accomplishment. But as the days wore on, he found that this was not the end of the road. There was something wrong. It seemed at times that he was in a dream. He had a lot of symptoms of “stress”, even though he did not understand why. Most of the time when he encountered the infamous situation, he was calm, cool, and collected. He would slip sometimes but that was to be expected, was it not? Even though he could mostly handle this stressful situation a lot better than in the past, he knew that still the stress was there inside him. Even he could see the signs, and as time went on, it grew inside of him. He was aware that something wasn’t right, but didn’t know what it was, or what was going on.

One day a monk appeared before him, seemingly from nowhere and said “You try so hard to fight the beast, that you are killing yourself. There is no beast in the first place!” 

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