Zen and the art of Waitressing
We were having dinner the other night and our waitress reminded me of my Zen practice.
It was a busy night and she was trying very, very, very hard. She had burnt her hand on a plate, spilled water all over menus, and refilled my sprite with water. For all her effort, she was actually causing herself to do a terrible job. If she had just paused and taken a breath between taking orders and carrying food, she could have managed it.
With Zen, right now, I am the same way. I study, study, study. I am always thinking about Zen, even to the point that I have trouble falling asleep at night (Zen keeping me up at night? I'm obviously not doing something right). And then my mind endlessly spins in questions.. Should I post this or that? Am I posting too much? too little? What did Jundo think of my email I sent him? I thought Soto taught "XYZ" yet Jundo hasn't mentioned it and seems to be saying "JKLMNO". Treeleaf teaches to practice this way, another Zen master says this way and he's really "cool" too, I was already practicing this third way, should I change? Not change? And on, and on it goes. Thinking, Thinking, thinking becomes obsessing, obsessing, obsessing eventually becomes worrying, worrying, worrying. And then I'm worrying about Zen!! How silly is that?
Thank goodness there is no bad zazen, because I'm pretty terrible at it sometimes, just like the waitress. It's like Jundo said in taking a bath with your clothes on video, I'm fine and lacking nothing just the way I am, there is no good or bad. For me, that means that if my ego/thinking mind/personality is this way it's okay. I'm naturally a overly-focused, overly-serious, but dedicated person and that's okay. At times this is really helpful and at times it gets in the way. Just because it's okay to be that way, doesn't mean I have to let myself drive off a cliff or into poison ivy either and worrying about Zen is probably something I want to figure out how to change. And most importantly I understand that this thinking, worrying person isn't me. I just am, that clear blue sky where is not worrying or thinking, just being. As a very old Zen teaching says, the sky doesn't worry about it's proper sky-ness or blueness.
This is only my perspective of course. I hope it is helpful and some of you can relate.