Thursday, December 08, 2011

Stay In There

Many years ago, at a time when I felt my entire life was an Irish jig in a minefield, I had an opportunity to meet with Zen Master Wu Bong for a private interview at Brown University's Zen group.

"What can I do for you?" he asked. I remember his impish smile. We sat on cushions, facing each other, mere inches between us.

"You practice martial arts, don't you?" I asked. He nodded. I continued. "I feel as though I'm blind and might be attacked at any moment. What would you do?"

He said, "Please shut your eyes."

I did. I sat there with my eyes closed wondering what he would do. And...

...after a very long moment he said, "Thank you."

In the creative process (and in koan practice for that matter), the limitations contribute to a crisis: stay in there, and let the joriki grow and grow, and eventually something exuberant and true will explode.

What makes the rest of life any different?

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