Saturday, October 29, 2011

Being Zen; a time and place?

I was thinking about the concept of ‘being Zen’ over the last few days…the thought tossed around in my head after I read a bit of gossip about Jennifer Aniston. The article said that Jennifer used to be very ‘Zen’ about things and she just let things happen as they come, but since meeting her new love, Justin Theroux, she has become a go getter and started fiercely going after what she wants.

It made me think about the concept of ‘being Zen’…can we ‘be Zen’ all the time? Can we always just let whatever happens happen, and when it does, will it be what he had hoped and wished for? Does the decision to take a step back, and give in to the Universe automatically guarantee we will patiently receive our heart’s desire?

I was also thinking about this concept when I was surfing today. Can I ‘be Zen’ about surfing? I know surfing definitely makes me relaxed, chilled out, complete and happy, but can I ‘be Zen’ in my approach to surfing? Can I just paddle out to a spot, sit on my board and expect an awesome wave to take me on its crest? Yes, I admit a few times, when engrossed in conversation, I have found myself swept away and taken for a ride by some pretty amazing waves, but I guess I worked hard to get there. My surf instructor said that “paddling takes away 100% of your energy”, so even before you are gloriously riding a wave, you are pretty much going all out, paddling in desperation to get to the back. I think had it not been for my fierce, dedicated and at times exhausting paddling, many a time I would have not been able to do the visible part of surfing, known as riding waves.
There are often times all you are doing is paddling, not quite assured if you will get a ride back to shore. But you put the work in, you paddle hard. Sometimes the fruits of your labour occur after an exhausting 30 minutes of paddling and an awesome chance swell, or better yet, chasing down an amazing wave which is breaking some 10 metres from you.

So yes, surf is not all Zen, but a fierce and exciting challenge. If you take away the ‘fierce’ and just replace with Zen, you get a person stuck in a rip, occasionally riding 2 seconds on a wave that docks on the sand.
Similarly, just because you want to accept things as they come in life, does not mean it takes away your responsibility to go after things, when that is what needs to be down. Fierce and Zen can occupy the same room, and it is in fact often the feeling of fierceness that gives us the feeling of Zen. Working hard for something, going against the swell of life and ultimately succeeding, that is what gives inner peace and contentment. There is a time to fight, and a time to rest. There is a time to push on through with little encouragement, and there is a time to surrender and refocus. There is a time to paddle harder, and a time to move on to another spot.
You just have to know when the time is right. Timing is everything. We can never truly be Zen or fierce, we have to always balance back and forth. And timing is everything.
So for me, the only way of life is to live from one extreme to another, and among that find your own, unique, happy balance.

Written by SoulSurfer © 29 October 2011 at 6.56pm


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