Zen Lightning


Lighting can jolt our reality

Lightning strikes in a moment with force and sound.  Then it is over and there is no way to hold on to it.

What is the source of lightning?  Where does it come from?  Why does it jump from clouds?  A meteorologist can give an answer.  “It’s due to a combination of air currents in the clouds, ice particle colliding, and temperature changes.”  Sounds reasonable—but it does not get to the crux of the matter.  It is just an explanation.  But still we listen to the words and repeat them often enough to believe them to be the fact.  The words don’t reveal where the lightning comes from, or even what it is.   The fact is that no one knows where lightning comes from.

Our life is like this.  We shine brightly for the moment.  We can have stories about where we come from, whether it is the birth of an individual or the birth of the universe.  But these words are just explanations also.  Again, no one knows.  We just say it.  We are just here.

But we have been given the gift to be born humans—to have the capability to raise questions that go directly to our nature–Who am I?  Why? What? 

But more, we are fortunate to have the time and opportunity to explore, not explain, these questions.  The time is now.  The opportunity is our practice.  Zazen, quieting the mind and bringing attention back to the moment, is at the heart of the practice.  This practice begins to loosen the attachment to words and explanations.  It allows us to raise the energy needed for transformation and to have an active insight into our nature.

Active insight expresses itself directly and usefully in all of our activities — work, taking care of others, cleaning, eating.

This is the opportunity and time.  It is ours to make the most of it.

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