I got to asking myself, "Do they really know what zen is?" Well, actually, that is a loaded question, for zen can't be known, only experienced...which brings me to my point.
Zen is usually equated with calmness and serenity...but that is for those who see from the outside of zen practice and have not engaged in it directly. In the middle of Zen practice is angst, painful knees, doubt, suffering, peace, quiet, heaven, hell. The insides are always churning, while an outsider will see people just sitting 'peacefully' not knowing that perhaps this person is grieving the loss of loved one and in the midst of great turmoil.
Zen is about entering into where you are with 'Gusto!' Now, sitting on a zafu doesn't look like an activity full of gusto, but it is. When your asshole is burning cause you have been sitting on and off the zafu for six hours into the second day of a sesshin, the only way 'out' is 'in'....and with gusto. You must lose yourself only by pushing yourself in.
It's like training in Karate. You must enter in and embrace the battle. It is easier with an opponent in a dojo...more difficult when it is your own mind, body and emotions. In the dojo you push yourself to the limits till you 'lose yourself'...you go past the point of what you can endure and run on adrenalin and spirit.
Same in zazen. Push yourself, Enter in till the self is lost and all there is...is. In Karate we attack and defend with Gusto! Lotsa of screaming and grunting and laughing. In Zen...it is quieter without physical movement...but the Gusto! must be there. Push, push, push till you can't push anymore...you get to that point of letting go...this is Zen. Leave no trace of the Self...burn yourself out!!
When you cross 'the gap' in Karate to defend yourself it is an all or nothing adventure. If you go in with hesitancy or reserve or half-assed you will lose. You must give it all. You must die and leave no trace. Same in Zen...give it all! Give it Gusto! Leave not trace of the self....burn it to the ground.
Gusto! Give all of your life's activity Gusto! Leave no trace. Zen looks calm from the outside...and it can be on the inside, but first there must be Gusto! The gusto of fire in the belly.
Wow...those Mom's sparked a fire in my brain.
Hands palm to palm,