Breathe in... and breathe out...
For some time now, I have been engaged in meditation. Yes, this sitting and breathing in and out noisily. In the beginning I thought I would experience a sudden moment of enlightenment. I had this typical preconception that this would require a complete change in my daily life.
And after about 2 months I slowly began to realize: it is not about enlightenment or enlightenment is rather the realization that things, thoughts, experiences etc. are not good or bad, but that they are simply here. So enlightenment for me is mindfulness.
The fog in the morning, chilly without a jacket but before we damn the morning, let's just notice this feeling and the more aware we become of it the less we want to complain.
And so it goes all day long. Of course, even after more than a quarter of a year, I still haven't managed to move completely mindfully through the day, but that's just something to accept. Because that is the goal in Zen:
Mindfulness and acceptance
It is not about criticizing myself after a morning meditation and telling myself that I was not mindful enough today. It is also not about dying to humility in a remote forest hut.
It is only about noticing and accepting. Feelings, thoughts, memories - all this and much more should be noticed first. In a world that is becoming faster and more digital (yes, I am a network engineer and I also believe that the Internet can bring us forward as humanity as never before, but I also see the current problems caused by the invasion of capitalism into this network of information) it is important that we do not get tempted to make a hasty judgment about a certain thing.
It is a matter of taking notice. And if we do this consciously and with full mindfulness, our urge to have an immediate opinion on a topic or whatever disappears automatically. We accept that sometimes we are not allowed, not able or not willing to judge.
Zen is not about learning something and then resting on that knowledge. It is about walking a path and enjoying the journey. It may not be very intelligent to ever call yourself a meditation professional for that reason. Although this may be tempting. But actually it is much nicer to be a perpetual beginner, who can and may always make mistakes and need not fear losing a reputation.
And yes, I myself find it tempting to call myself an expert or a professional in certain fields. But in the moments of mindfulness I realize again that this claiming of a professional title is not helpful at all. It prevents you from admitting mistakes. And if you can't admit mistakes, you tense up and loosen yourself up.
Therefore, let us always return to the moment, with full mindfulness and accept this state of emptiness