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Chapter 7: The Essence Is at Ease

Then what will be the quality? Watchfully, alert, joyously, unmotivated, centered, loving, flowing, one walks. And the walking is sauntering. Loving, alert, watchful, one sits.unmotivated - not sitting for anything in particular, just enjoying how beautiful just sitting doing nothing is, how relaxing, how restful. After a long walk, you sit under a tree, and the breeze comes and cools you.

Each moment one has to be at ease with oneself - not trying to improve, not cultivating anything, not practicing anything.

Walking is Zen, sitting is Zen;
Talking or silent, moving, unmoving, -
The essence is at ease.

“The essence is at ease”: that is the key word. The essence is at ease: that is the key statement. Do whatsoever you are doing, but at the deepest core remain at ease, cool, calm, centered. Then you can be in a crowd and you will not be the crowd, then you can be in the marketplace and the marketplace will not enter in you. Then you can be anywhere and you will remain unpolluted; your purity will remain intact, your innocence undisturbed. The essence is at ease: that is the quality one has to bring into each act; no act has to be excluded from it. If you are afraid of any act and you exclude it that will remain a barrier, and that will remain a pitfall for you, and any day you will fall into it.

Let this quality penetrate all that you do: eating, sleeping, making love, walking, talking, being silent. Let this quality permeate your existence, pervade your existence. Let this quality surround you always and always; even falling asleep feel surrounded by it. And soon you will see that meditation is not your act, is not activity; it is a certain nuance, a certain musical quality in your being, a certain harmony, a melody that you bring to every act, whatsoever you are doing.

That’s why Zen people say: Carrying water from the well, chopping wood, and one is at home - there is no problem. One can do any kind of work and still the meditation persists; it becomes your very life.

Chuang Tzu says: The fish trap exists because of the fish; once you’ve gotten the fish, you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit; once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning, once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words, so I can have a word with him?

Meditation is a trap; once the quality is caught hold of, the essence is at ease.the trap can be forgotten.

Entering the deep mountains
I live in quiet solitude.
The hills are high, the valleys deep
When one lives beneath an old pine tree.