“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each”.
-Henry David Thoreau
Recently I have been in a few conversations about people, how they act, their attitudes about life, and how so many of us see the same things so differently. I quickly get worn out by negative and pessimistic people who always see the worst of everything. Drama Kings and Queens often have the same effect on me. These people are chronically unhappy and nothing ever seems to give them joy. I am an optimist. I see the glass as not only half full but often overflowing. A pessimist once told me that an optimist is a person out of touch with reality. If your reality is always negative, pessimistic, and full of drama, then I hope to always be out of touch with it. I know that a lot of life is just trying to survive but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed. The above quote by Thoreau is a very good definition of Zen. Living in the season means being one with it. Whatever the season, it is full of life. Breathe in life. Drink life. Taste it’s fruits. Let the goodness of life permeate your bones. Life does change but that is not necessarily good or bad. Life just is. Our opinions of life are based on personal judgments which can be terribly skewed. Thinking that life is always either good or bad is dualistic thinking. Life is both good and bad. The Zen way, the contemplative way, is to not judge it but to simply be present to it. Often, joy happens when we least expect it.
If you’ve never read Walden Pond by Henry David Thoreau, I highly recommend it.