I used to look at Zen Masters and other renowned wise people and think, they must look at us people of the world, running around like crazy all day long, filling ourselves up with food and stuff and every kind of wild entertainment, always searching for the next thing to make us happy… and they must smile to themselves compassionately, thinking, ‘they’ll work it out some day…’
They know that life is much easier, and much more peaceful, when running and neediness and greed and all the mad consuming are put aside, leaving quiet and space instead. Lots of space for enjoying each day, for what life gives us anyway by the mere miraculous fact of being alive and part of it.
I’ve read endless books by the famously wise, and sometimes I’ve been able to live fairly close to their ideas. But I’d usually think, that’s too extreme, I don’t want to give up all these worldly things, and I’d go back to being “normal” again, with all the running and crazy habits of our fast-moving world. Manic, stuffed days. Manic, stuffed mind. Running all over the place. It never brings me much peace.
This has been a very quiet month. A necessarily quiet month after the excesses of a Spanish Christmas. A month of very healthy eating, mostly at home. A month with books instead of binge-watching series on TV. A month focusing on nature, mostly paying attention to trees and birds, a month of quietly creating things again – drawings with my daughter, Spanish podcasts with my wife, writing here – and spending lots of quiet time at home with the family.
And suddenly the realisation dawned on me last night with great force… They were right all along!
The Zen Masters and incredibly wise people from all eons past really are right. There is a wiser, more peaceful way to live – with less, with much more space, without all the running around, just being awake in the present moment, and it makes you feel much better. How important it is to keep these wise people close! To keep their books at hand, to keep listening to what they’ve been telling us all along. There’s no need to run. No need to chase after things and have endless projects. Be awake. Look after yourself and those that are close to you. Enjoy simplicity. Enjoy life. All’s well.