Prospecting in Zen

“A new direction is like a river with various tributaries and branches that go everywhere, we are never stuck because we try a new direction, we get stuck because we believe it is the only direction.”

Prospecting for gold is very similar to living life. We have a general idea of what we may be trying to find but there are a ridiculous amount of various locations and a ton of ways of finding it. Plus it seems like as long as I continue to seek, the idea of what I am “truly seeking” keeps changing. I used to think I must be crazy because I couldn’t develop a plan and stick to it’s conclusion. That’s because everything dwells in transience and plans are developed as these linear concrete things that cannot possibly allow for transience. We have no idea what will happen next. It’s very hard to have a plan when everything is always changing.

The first time I heard that was in a psychiatric ward in Pontiac, Michigan where my ex-wife and parents had deposited me for safekeeping. My roomy was a baptist minister who was struggling with depression and anger. We developed a friendship. He did seem to understand a lot about Quantum physics and the flux of universal stability and we spent a lot of time trying to engage those topics in terms of our daily life. He is the one who embedded the concept of universal transience in my sense of being. He didn’t call it that, he called it “Shit will always keep happening, always.” (Quincy, if you read this call me.)

The fact that we swim in transience has different frames of reference depending on your choice of views. Life can be seen as futile because it’s always changing and unknown or can be seen as exciting and wondrous. It’s like the difference between the end of summer vacation or the beginning when we were in grade school. The vacation wasn’t doing shit, it remained a vacation, But our perspective changed.

Every direction gives rise to other directions. Every move has opportunity and new possibility. My job as a human lies in moving to maintain the perspective that enables me to engage with every new offering the universe has to give. That involves recognizing that I experience suffering, anxiety, and sadness but never forgetting that they are transient, And never forgetting that I will also experience joy and the wonder of being alive. (Also transient.)

Keep going. The Japanese saying “Seven times down, eight times up” is one that resonates. I have no guarantees of anything. I have no expiration date stamped on my butt. The universe sails on blithely containing my transient self. I enjoy the now because it’s the only now I have to enjoy, so why not?

Keep going,


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