Saturday, February 19, 2005

Silence inside, laughter outside

Been reading Zen: Its History and Teachings by OSHO. I find a lot about Zen that appeals to me:

  1. It doesn't take itself seriously. Laughter is encouraged as part of learning and as a vital part of enlightenment. How refreshing after the dour teachings of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and others. Zen masters laugh at themselves and encourage their students to do the same. Zen masters don't care whether anyone repects them or not. They consider themselves to be opnly human, just like everybody else.
  2. The leaders demand nothing of their students. They depend on "the kindness of strangers" for their very survival. This is not as scary as it might seem, since kindness to others and concern for their welfare is an integral part of learning about Zen and is not just given lip service as other religions do.
  3. One of the foundations of Zen is that each person is responsible for his or her own enlightenment. I really like that. Personal responsibility has been a guiding light for me all my life. My soul is my business. Everybody else needs to worry about themselves, and let me take care of my own needs.
Those are just a few things I have learned so far. Looking forward to digging deeper.

Talking the talk

Yeah, Debra, but talk is cheap. Making that happen in words is the hard part. I've talked the talk, now I have to walk the walk, put some steak with that sizzle, some fire under the smoke, all those other cliches that are so easy but so meaningless. Actually writing the story requires digging deep and working hard, finding just the right word at just the right time.

English is such a slippery language. Every word carries layers of meaning and connotation that have accumulated over the centuries. Finding the right word can be a major feat sometimes. Sometimes? All the time! I can't count how many times I have had to settle on a word that was almost right. And how many times have I been rereading a draft and thought "That's not what I meant"? I keep trying because I really, really love writing. On the other hand, Nazareth got it right: "Love hurts".

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