Chop wood. Carry water.-A Zen saying

The key to living with a sense of peace lies in these words.  It is a Zen saying, that is to say, that it is simple, honest and direct in its meaning or for that matter its lack of meaning. Living a Zen life does not, as some folks believe, mean ascribing to the Buddhist religion.  Buddhism has long been associated with Zen but each are in and of themselves separate.  It is not a religion but rather a way of going.  The choice of exact wording for this saying could just as readily say…Point camera. Take photo.  The meaning lies not in the activity but in the living in the moment.  Setting aside all of the planning and strategy of living for a time releases the mind to peaceful abiding in the moment.  In this modern-day and age there is great emphasis placed on striving for some future gain.  This can result in life slipping by unnoticed beneath the weight of worry, anxiety and stress.  Including Zen living in a person’s life is not just a matter of navel gazing into La La Land.  Living in the moment allows for a connection with the present and reality but without the stress of the past and the future creeping in.  Very simply put…”Chop wood. Carry water”.  To arrive at the ability to live in the moment takes some practice…especially for those whose thoughts are always zooming about with plans for the future or worrying about the past.  From a health standpoint bringing quiet abiding, also referred to as meditation, into your life can save your life.  As usual there are different things that work better for some than for others…probably has to the variety of learning styles.  I found a book that turned out to be enjoyable reading over and over…Zen questions written by Robert Allen.   I had gone in search of information on Zen meditation many times before but had not found an explanation that suited my own learning style.  This one made sense to me as something that I could include in my daily living.  It does not smack of religion or mysticism  just simple and honest thoughts and ancient stories rife with wisdom.  Breathe air in. Breathe air out.


2 thoughts

  1. ”Chop wood. Carry water”. To arrive at the ability to live in the moment takes some practice…” Oh my, practice, practice, practice……. an ongoing practice–but it’s worth it. I don’t know any better phrase to describe the goal of a person trying to be spiritual than ”Chop wood. Carry water”. Great post!

  2. Wow. I felt like you were talking directly to me. This is me inside and out, and I do feel life slipping away, and I hate it. I think I’ll look up your book. I have to stop this anxiety before it kills me. I want to live in the moment.

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