I find my relationship to zen to be best expressed in the question: What’s the next thing that I have to learn? At the moment I refer to the 10 ox herding circles, or as I first heard of them, the Ten Bulls. Here’s the Wikipedia site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Bulls .
The eighth circle is empty. That implies enlightenment. But what is enlightenment? I figure it’s found in figuring something out that makes you live your life with a little bit more compassion for yourself and for others.
We can get large enlightenments. We can get small enligthenments. When our circle empties we move into the ninth circle, a land of peacefulness, of no suffering. But then there comes the most important tenth circle. That’s where you reenter the real world, the market place, and act out life with your new understanding. Hopefully there will be less suffering. That new interaction with life will make you see new things, and thus you are back at the beginning of the Ten Bulls. Trying to figure out more.
After finding one of those small enlightenments, I decided that I would go after the bull yet again. The bull this time was definitely ‘how to work in the market place without causing suffering for myself or others.’ To explain: I had always relied on official jobs to keep me occupied. Now I don’t need a job. How would I interact with the world now without that hierarchy setting the rules, keeping me in place?
I decided that I would do some community work. Interestingly, I was immediately asked to do some. I did it. Whoa. What a strange thing. To move about in a milieu of people who seemed to care passionately about what to me seemed trivial. People getting angry. People pushing to change agreements so that they controlled things. People pushing in contrary directions from where everyone else wanted to go and getting angry that no one followed. How to keep oneself from being drawn in? How to remain a steady rock of non-attachment and yet still try to get done the things that everyone generally seemed to want done? This required me to do things that were of no interest to me at all, but which I could see were of interest and possible used to the greater community.
But I am not selfless in this. All this activity has been preliminary to what I want. And what I want is to present some of my work, my writing to the public and hope that it might be of use to you, to anyone. The problem I have been working on is in finding out that what I do is essentially empty. Few people really care what I do, except in so far as it it hinders or furthers their desires. So if I present my work, that I care about, what will I feel like if it strikes no cord with any other soul?
I’ll let you know how I get on. So far I have one rejection, form letter. The idea of that just sits there for now.