Zen Musings – The Art of Mindfully Aiming at Nothingness
The first time I consciously came into contact with the idea of Zen was when I saw a report on archery on the telly. There, with the greatest care and meditative concentration, people were aiming seemingly into nothingness.
I found this fascinating. Although I could not fully fathom the meaning of this practice at the time, I understood that I had come across an important message, here, which would be revealed to me in due course.
That was many years ago and this idea has accompanied me ever since. Whether the message behind it has been fully revealed to me since then is another matter. But recently I have been able to connect some insights that I have gained in my life with this practice.
In life, we usually wish for the best result, the best outcome for an event or situation. And often we have an idea of what the very best should look like. But rarely do we have an overview of all the factors that play into such a situation. Therefore, we basically cannot know in advance what the best thing is and what it looks like. Often, if at all, it can only be seen in retrospect and many a time we may realise that this best thing looked quite different from what we had imagined or wished for.
The thing is this: we have no influence on the actual outcome of a situation. The only thing we can influence is our contribution to it. All other factors – and there are usually many of them – are out of our hands.
In addition, our idea of what the best outcome should look like may not correspond to the actual best outcome. So, if our behaviour is now geared towards the idea of a certain outcome rather than allowing the best possible flow of life, we may be more likely to block ourselves in some cases, possibly even prolonging distressful situations.
What I can really influence is my stance in life. In Qi Gong, for example, it is about always adopting the stance that offers us optimal balance (between Yin and Yang) and thus enables the best possible flow of Qi (Chi), in other words, of life energy. This stance ultimately leads us to find more serenity in life. And when life energy is in a healthy, steady flow, the result is a healthy, fulfilled and contented life. Contented in the sense that one makes peace with what is.
I believe, this is at least one aspect of the above-mentioned archery exercise that fascinates me so much. Instead of making the outcome the goal, one makes it one’s goal to adopt as stable and healthy a stance as possible and then trusts that this stance will bring one the best possible thing that life has to offer or rather will lead us to.
What I find interesting here is that trust is part of the stance one adopts.
There is something relieving and reassuring about this idea. With it I, at least, can make my peace.
How is it with you? Can you trust life? Have you already had experiences with it? Are you ready to shine a bright light of awareness on the path of beingness, today? Much Love, Steffi