Nothing is more terrifying than the state of chronic anxiety which one has if you are subject to the illusion that something in life can be held onto and safeguarded, and nothing can.
So the acceptance of everything flowing is absolutely basic to freedom, to being a…a cloud-water person, who drifts like cloud and flows like water.
But in this we mustn’t take ourselves too ridiculously. I mean, naturally all human beings have in them a certain clinging, so you can’t let go totally, you wouldn’t be human if you did. You cant be just a leaf on the wind, or just a ball in a mountain stream, to use a Zen poetic phrase.
Humans suffer because they take seriously what the gods made for fun.
Because if you where that you wouldn’t be human, just as I pointed out that a person with no emotions, who has completely controlled his emotions is a ‘stone Buddha’. So a person who would be completely ‘let go’, would also be some kind of inanimate object.
So Zen very definitely emphasis being human, being perfectly human as its ideal.
And so to be perfectly human one must have not a state of absolute detachment, but a state of detachment which contains a little bit of resistance, a certain clinging still. They say in India…of a man who is liberated in this world, that he has to cultivate a few mild bad habits in order to stay in the body, because if he was absolutely perfect he would disappear from manifestation.
The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.
And so the great Yogi maybe he smokes a cigarette or has a bad temper occasionally, something that keeps him human, and that little thing is very important, its like the salt in the stew, it grounds him.
Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.
We thought of life by analogy with a journey, a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end, and the thing was to get to that end, success or whatever it is, maybe heaven after you’re dead. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.