How's It Going?: Zen Edition

Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Image: Béria L. Rodríguez @ Wikimedia Commons

We’ve made it to Wednesday. Welcome back to our daily open thread.

Yesterday was not a stellar day for me. I made the mistake of reading some articles about what the future could look like, which sent me into a spiral of anxiety and despair. As human brains often do (or at least my brain), this despair focused not on the actual big and frightening issues at hand, but on a variety of small problems in my day. I saw a mouse in my apartment, and even though I’ve dealt with similar pests in other homes (“similar,” in this case, including rats and a summer of, to put it mildly, armies of raccoons), I can’t stop stressing about it. Later that night I fucked up my dinner out of impatience and had a total meltdown, blubbering “my chicken thighs!” over the stove like a complete weirdo. Brains are dumb.

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In my younger days, before I became an angry anarchist punk, I was a pretty hardcore Zen Buddhist, doing long silent retreats and meditating every day. I’ve been trying to remember some of those skills lately, attempting to focus on what’s happening in the present moment instead of the fears and worries my thoughts churn out that get me so upset. It’s probably a good time to get back to my meditation practice, or at least find some way to slow the freight train of panic that regularly barrels through my head.

How are you finding your chill? How’s it going?

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DISCUSSION

vwtifuljoe5
Vwtifuljoe

Back in the heady summer of 2001, I had read the Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, and it really helped put into words what I had been feeling in regards to spirituality and religion for a while. I was raised roman catholic, was an alter server, went to a catholic school my entire life but had really moved away from the church in my teenage years. I found Taoism’s message of trying to be your self as simplistically as possible a very comforting and centering message, to become the uncarved block. I’ve definitely gotten away from that, since there wasn’t a support structure for that story of thing offline where I lived, nor was there really anything online. I don’t know if I will every really be able to get back to that sort of comfort and feeling. Lives change, responsibilities and interests grow and fade. You could also say that these posts are a big part of my daily centering.