Sunday, September 25, 2005

Zen - go with the flow (From Stranded)

Saturday, April 09, 2005
Zen - go with the flow

I used to do a lot of canoeing, and I particularly liked to paddle on New England's narrow, fast-moving streams. They are called rock gardens, since they twist and turn among rocks left by glaciers. On these quick-silver streams if you go with the flow you will smash your canoe on a rock or find yourself sideways to the current and be swamped. The current has the power to chew up your canoe, and even to drown you, but if you understand it you can move in harmony with it. You can dance with the current, sliding smoothly around rocks and whipping around into eddies. You can do all this without working terribly hard, but it is nothing at all like "going with the flow." It is an active engagement with natural forces, based on knowing the forces intimately so you can accord with them.

Passively going with the flow is not the kind of acceptance that zen speaks of. The zen says that what we need to do is to accept what is at this moment, to receive things as they are, with our minds and hearts wide open, in an active engagement with life. And if you should meet a patch of calm water, you can enjoy its gentleness while it lasts, secure in the knowledge that it will soon change.


posted by dave on April 9, 2005 at 10:59 PM


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