Chapter 1: Mastered by Zen
Life is neither. It simply is there in sheer beauty with no purpose. Look at the trees. Look at the sunlight. Just.it is. What is the purpose of the sun rising every day in the morning? What is the purpose of trees blossoming? What is the purpose of birds singing? No purpose. I don’t say purposelessness; I simply say no purpose. It is.
Drop your search for meaning, because that search either will destroy your whole life and you will live in misery, or, one day if you become aware, then another anguish will surround you - the anguish of meaninglessness.
Says Sartre, “Life is nauseating.”
He must have been expecting too much. Now the fulfillment is receding further away and he feels a rumbling in the stomach, nausea, an illness, a sea-sickness. He was expecting too much. Now all expectations are turning into frustrations and life has become nauseating.
It is not. Life has nothing to do with nausea, because it has nothing to do with your expectations. Once you get out of this trap of idealism, you are available to life and life is available to you.
Somewhere Friedrich Nietzsche has said, “Where can I feel at home? Where?” He must be seeking a womb, a home, a mother. He must have been a little childish. He must have been stuck somewhere in his growth. Why are you seeking a home?
Life is not a home, but it is not homelessness either. It is. Simply it is. Enjoy it. Celebrate it. It is not going to become a home for you, but it is not homelessness either. The very search for a home makes life look as if it is homelessness. Drop the search. The very search throws you away from life. You go on missing the present moment.
So you can either wait - a futile waiting; or you can become angry - a futile anger. If you go on waiting, your life will be obsessed with routine. You will try to become an automaton.
Let me tell you an anecdote:
Mr. Smith had killed his wife, and his entire defense was based on temporary insanity. He was a witness on his own behalf and was asked by his lawyer to describe the crime in his own words.
“Your Honor,” he began, “I am a quiet, peaceful man of systematic habits, who virtually never bothers anybody. I get up at seven every morning, have breakfast at half-past seven, punch in at work at nine, leave work at five, come home at six, find supper on the table, eat it, read, watch TV, bed. Until the day in question..” Here he paused to breathe passionately.
His lawyer said gently, “Go on. What happened on the day in question?”
“On the day in question,” said Smith, “I woke at seven, had breakfast at seven-thirty, began work at nine, left at five and came home at six. There was no supper on the table and no sign of my wife. I searched through the house and found her in the bedroom in bed with a strange man. So I killed her.”
“What were your emotions at the time you killed her?” asked the lawyer, anxious to get the point on the record.