Zen itself teaches us nothing. Zen is a method that can lead us to a way of being, but is itself just a method. That method is deceptively simple and it is there for us within each and every moment we are alive. May I suggest, then, that we each stop, sit down, focus on our breath, and feel ourselves alive in our bodies?
I am now 70 years old and I confess I've spent must of my adult life running around chasing what in the end didn't matter a whole lot. As majority share-holder and CEO of a growing corporation my life was segmented into 15 minute calendar portions. I worked 70 hour weeks, rarely took a vacation day, and never took a "vacation" until after I sold my shares in the company I built and moved in a different direction. It is hard to communicate just how exciting and disturbing that life was. Looking back I see how much I missed. Time with family, time with friends, but then, I had no actual "friends" since everyone I knew was a referral source. Even my friend Bernie did not get the attention he deserved Most importantly, i missed time with myself.
So, here I am at 70 looking back and realizing that while looking back can be insightful, it can also take away from the present. I am married to the most beautiful woman in the world, I am a priest, I am a teacher, and I have a rich and full life right here, right now. Here, then, is the most important life lesson for me: appreciate the moment I am in.