Seize the Day
“Bringing people into the here-and-now. The real universe. That’s the present moment. The past is no good to us. The future is full of anxiety. Only the present is real — the here-and-now. Seize the day.”
― Saul Bellow
What I love about Zen is that it is less a school of thought than it is the simple act of recognizing the deepest truths of the world within yourself. With this attitude and understanding we find the spirit of Zen everywhere.
Etymologically, Zen translates simply to just “meditation”. It brings people into the here-and-now, like Saul Bellow writes through his character Dr. Tamkin in his short novel Seize the Day. I just finished this book and found it full of meditative insights despite having nothing to do with meditation. That’s the thing about meditation— it has everything to do with everything.
Such illuminations have never been confined to the Eastern/Western dichotomy, or even an esoteric/exoteric one. They’re simply human realizations, crucial moments of insight that remind us of the importance of paying attention. I love those words— only the present is real. Every breath, every word, every tiny action is a wonderful opportunity, not to achieve something great or intense but simply to feel fully aware and unencumbered.
Rosa Luxemburg said, “Those who don’t move do not notice their chains.” Meditation, in this respect, is moving and becoming aware of oneself through this movement. When the mind is allowed its full range of motion, it becomes more flexible and nuanced. It stretches out. It transforms into something entire new, something that recognizes its own fetters and works mindfully to transcend them.