Free Chapter of Zen Soup by Self Help Author Laurence Boldt

Free Chapter: Zen Soup

Chapter 1: BE HERE NOW

If Zen is telling us anything, it is to be here now, to live in this moment. Simple enough. So what stops us? To live in the moment, we must go out of our minds. The mind, with its guilt and resentment about the past and its fears and hopes for the future, the mind that confuses thoughts about people, things, and events with the people, things, and events themselves—must be transcended. Out of the mind and into direct, immediate experience—this is the message of Zen.

Zen masters have often used dramatic techniques, including verbal insults, physical violence, and absurd theatrics, to jolt students out of mental preoccupation and thrust them back into the moment. Zen is forever shouting: Wake up! Wake up! Wake Up! Stop the mind already! Be here! It helps to sit still and meditate. Yet Zen is even more concerned with being “here now” in the midst of activity. Again and again, Zen teachers exhort the principle of mo chich ch’u, or “going ahead without hesitation.” Just do what you are doing without thinking about it. Just be where you are without holding on or running away. Give up judging and spectating and dive into this moment. If you can’t find it here, where will you go to find it? And when?


This time, like all times, is a very good one,
if we but know what to do with it.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson


Paradise is where I am.
—Voltaire


In walking, just walk. In sitting, just sit. Above all, don’t wobble.
—Yun-men


If you want to be happy, be.
—Henry David Thoreau


The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it,
move with it, and join the dance.
—Alan Watts


I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive,
so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have
resonances within our own innermost being and reality,
so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.
—Joseph Campbell


The Tao is near and people seek it far away.
—Mencius


Real generosity toward the future consists in giving all to what is present.
—Albert Camus


May you live all the days of your life.
—Jonathan Swift


I exist as I am, that is enough.
—Walt Whitman


The present is great with the future.
—Gottfried Leibnitz


When one is engaged in a favorite pursuit or a subject absorbingly interesting, the normal conception of labor or time and artificial social distinctions disappear from the mind.
—G. Koizumi


Is not life a thousand times too short for us to bore ourselves?
—Fredrich Nietzsche


What you see is what you get.
—Flip Wilson


We look backward too much and we look forward too much;
thus we miss the only eternity of which we can be absolutely sure—
the eternal present, for it is always now.
—William Phelps


To be where we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming,
is the only end in life.
—Robert Louis Stevenson

 

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