Zen Is Not Spiritual

This summer I made the commitment to study and experience Zen. I wanted to put down the books and do the work that I have been reading about for so long. So far this is what I learned.

Zen is not spiritual.

Christianity is spiritual. The surrender, the worship, the not knowing, the afterlife, Heaven, Hell, the giving it all over to Jesus, the confession of sins, communion.

Zen is not spiritual at all, at least not yet, for me. Ten years I have read the works of Gary Snyder, Ken Wilber, John Daido Loori and Thich Nhat Hanh. These guys made Zen come alive for me. The pages read of Satori, the awakening mind, the collectiveness of Nirvana and inner peace found by following your own breath. Mindfulness!

Zen is not spiritual...it is nothing special, nevertheless there is something there.

Getting good at “Nothing Special” has evolved into a mantra of my own this summer. Do the work for the sake of doing the work. There is nothing special in that, yet there is something worth exploring, something worthy to add to life, to thoughts, to action.

Why? Nothing Special is the secret to touching spirituality, the fingerprint of God. Sounds like a phrase to spray on a t-shirt “nothing special" on the front and on the back "Zen is not spiritual".

Can being good at nothing special be the key to ultimate awareness? The new tagline for this blog is health, creativity, life, simplicity. All of these are nothing special. If you think about it, it's what we are suppose to do: be healthy to live, create something to partake in, life-whatever that is-is the journey we all share, and simplicity-who we are outwardly as who we are inwardly, taking off the mask and putting down the persona.

Last night as I walked out of the Zendo and to my car with cool wet air blowing in my face, a stranger walked by me and said “Good evening mate”. I think about my cousin and the news that she will receive today, I hope it's good. I get in my car and turn the music up loud and drive slowly through the college town roads trying my best not to hit the late night runners. I get home and place my hand on my sleeping daughter to feel her breath rising in her belly slowly and letting out of the belly slowly. I pour myself a glass a wine, I sit at the computer to write.

Zen is not spiritual.