Now and Zen

I want to make one thing absolutely clear. I am not a Zen Buddhist, I am not advocating Zen Buddhism, I am not trying to convert anyone to it.  I have nothing to sell.  I’m an entertainer.  That is to say, in the same sense, that when you go to a concert and you listen to someone play Mozart, he has nothing to sell except the sound of the music.  He doesn’t want to convert you to anything.  He doesn’t want you to join an organization in favor of Mozart’s music as opposed to, say, Beethoven’s.  And I approach you in the same spirit as a musician with his piano or a violinist with his violin.  I just want you to enjoy a point of view that I enjoy.

Alan Watts

Experience the world as a child!  We freely except vibrations of color, sound, and motion, but as we grow, we are taught to judge what is good, and what is bad in our encounter with the world.  We accept our concepts and forms of our language and confuse them from what is actually going on.  We engage the world through our intellect, and become lost in the words and reasons we attribute to the world, without experiencing that what is as it is!

Our psychological abstractions that makes us human, also alienates us from our being in the world.  We have forgotten to be in the moment and can lose ourselves if we do not attend to the here and the now.  There is the now and zen, both which are mutually inclusive.  To be in the here and now is to be in the zen of a moment.  Attending only to the sensory stimuli of the world, but not calculating it, measuring it, or labeling it, but rather to experience it without distraction; that for what it is as it is without human interventions of language and thoughts!

  • A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts.  So he loses touch with reality, and lives in a world of illusion.
  • Ego is a social institution with no physical reality.  The ego is simply your symbol of yourself. Just as the word “water” is a noise that symbolizes a certain liquid without being it, so to the idea of ego symbolizes the role you play, who you are, but it is not the same as your living organism.

Allan Watts: Buddhism : The Religion of No-Religion

I am amazed that Congressmen can pass a bill imposing severe penalties on anyone who burns the American flag, whereas they are responsible for burning that for which the flag stands: the United States as a territory, as a people, and as a biological manifestation.  That is an example of our perennial confusion of symbols with realities.

Allan Watts: Audio lecture “Individual and Society”

The dimension of being that disrupts our ability to experience that which is in the world, is often a very popular approach to how we come to “know” the world.  The way we divide and label things, the scientific approach can tell us many things, but they often confuse our world and our being in it.


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