Meditation | Zen Explained Simply

Meditation is simple, and enlightenment is simple. I want to show you exactly what they are. Right here, right now.

I want you to pretend that you know absolutely nothing, like a newborn baby.

Don’t try to stop your thoughts. Remember, you’re a baby. You don’t yet know the difference between the noise of a car outside and the chattering of opinions and naming of things inside your skull. There’s no distinction between inside and outside. It’s all just “there.”

You don’t even know who you are, as you don’t yet have any concept of yourself. Similarly, you don’t have any knowledge of the passing of time, nor any notion of past or future – as these too are concepts.

There is nothing you can do other than simply be aware of whatever is happening right now.

Let all the sounds around you play with your ears, let the light play with your eyes, and let all of the sensations you feel and thoughts that you experience happen.

You don’t even have to actively let everything happen. There is nothing you can do about it, and there is also nothing you can not do about it. Everything still happens anyway whether you “let it” or not.

That also means you don’t have any idea of “voluntary action” versus “involuntary action.”

Whenever you make a decision, sure, it feels like you’re the one taking action. But let me ask you, how do you think that decision came about in the first place? Is it that you personally decided to make that decision?

If so, then how do you think that decision came about? The truth is, you’ll just end up in endless circles here until you eventually realize that you could never have been the source of that decision. You realize that it just happened, and that all decisions you have ever made in life were just what you happened to decide. It was never “you” doing it.

Realizing this, you feel that everything is happening of itself. Everything is just a “happening.”

You don’t really know what this “happening” is, but what I can tell you is that master Laozi called it the Dao, or, the great way, “for lack of a better name.”

He said, “The scholar learns something every day. The man of Dao unlearns something every day, until he gets back to non-doing.”

Does that state of “non-doing” sound familiar? It’s exactly what meditation is. Meditation is a state in which everything is let to happen, because you realize that everything “just happening” is how things are, and always have been.

In meditation, you are essentially left in a state of complete acceptance with the fact that you are always “doing nothing” yourself. There’s no longer a barrier between how things already just happen, and the part you play in them. You are now one with “the happening,” the Dao, the universe itself – and you never have been anything else.

The actual name for the state we’ve just been talking about is “Mushin,” often translated as “mo-mind.” However, as you can see, it is far from a state of blank mindlessness withdrawn from experience. It is a state in which the mind has no separation from reality itself, so it flows freely and effortlessly in what’s commonly called the state of flow.

Remember: meditation doesn’t end when you get up from the cushion. It’s just referred to as “the state of flow” instead when you’re anywhere other than the meditation cushion.

So, now you may be thinking, “How do I maintain this state of flow all the time?” You’ll be glad to hear that it is remarkably simple.

Let’s put it this way: Your mind is like a lake. The question that you’re asking here is, “How do I stop these ripples that keep coming up on the lake?”

Well, think about it. You wouldn’t try to smooth them out with your hands, or flatten them with a clothes iron. Rather, it seems obvious that the best thing to do is to do nothing at all. By way of non-interference, the ripples clear by themselves and the lake becomes clear and serene.

This is the practice of non-interference, or “non-doing.” It’s what we did earlier, and it is the only way that the state of meditation can be achieved.

So, you mustn’t forget about this practice of non-doing. It’s your ticket to living every single day of your life deep in the beautiful, blissful state of oneness, in which you realize that there’s not a single speck of dust in the universe that is out of place, and that everything just happens of itself, effortlessly.