When energy goes inward it turns into thoughts, feelings, emotions, and when energy goes outward it turns into relationships with beings and nature. But when energy does not move inward or outward, it is just there pulsating, vibrating. Then it is one with the existence, one with the whole. Is this Zazen?
Exactly. When the energy is just there – not going anywhere, just pulsating at the original source, just radiating its light there, blossoming like a lotus, neither going out nor going in – it is simply here and now.
When I say go inward, I am simply saying don’t go on moving in the head.
The whole society forces your energy to move in the head. All education consists of the basic technique of how to pulsate the energy only in the head – how to make you a great mathematician, how to make you a great physician. All the education in the world consists of taking the energy into the head.
Zen asks you to come out of the head and go to the basic source – from where the educational system around the world has been taking the energy, putting it into the head, and turning it into thoughts, images, and creating thinking. It has its uses. It is not that Zen is not aware of the uses of energy in the head, but if all the energy is used in the head, you will never become aware of your eternity. You may become a very great thinker and philosopher, but you will never know, as an experience, what life is. You will never know as an experience, what it is to be one with the whole.
When the energy is just at the center, pulsating… When it is not moving anywhere, neither in the head nor in the heart, but it is at the very source from where the heart takes it, the head takes it… pulsating at the very source – that is the very meaning of Zazen.
Zazen means just sitting at the very source, not moving anywhere. A tremendous force arises, a transformation of energy into light and love, into greater life, into compassion, into creativity. It can take many forms, but first you have to learn how to be at the source. Then the source will decide where your potential is. You can relax at the source, and it will take you to your very potential. It does not mean that you have to stop thinking forever, it simply means you should be aware and alert and capable of moving into the source. When you need the head you can move the energy into the head, and when you need to love, you can move the energy into the heart.
But you need not think twenty-four hours. When you are not thinking you have to relax back into your center – that keeps the Zen man constantly content, alert, joyful. A blissfulness surrounds him; it is not an act, it is simply radiation.
Zazen is the strategy of Zen. Literally it means just sitting. Sitting where? Sitting at the very source.
And once in a while, if you go on sitting in the source, you can manage all mental activities without any disturbance; you can manage all heart activities without any difficulty. And still, whenever you have time, you need not unnecessarily think, you need not unnecessarily feel, you can just be. Just being is Zazen.
And if you can just be – only for a few minutes in twenty-four hours – that is enough to keep you alert of your buddhahood.
From The Zen Manifesto: Freedom From Oneself, Chapter Eleven
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Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt Just Being Is Zazen.