For about five minutes early this evening, I experienced something wonderful. I had just finished grilling out for the first time this year. I was hot and sort of tired, so I put on the headphones of my MP3 player, turned on the fan and plopped myself down on the bed.
The day was warm and the skies blue and beautiful. The cool air from the fan gently caressed me. The song on the MP3 player (“Secret Friend” by Paul McCartney) fit the mood, as it was one of his less “serious” songs… it’s essentially Sir Paul having a bit of fun in the studio.
For a few minutes, I experienced what I imagine those who quest for Nirvana are seeking. My thoughts ceased. My experiences no longer were translated into words which I then thought about. The sensory experiences seemed to bypass the words and thoughts and plugged themselves directly into my consciousness. It was bliss.
I now think I know why people have trouble explaining Zen. It is born of direct experience. Words can’t really explain it because it can only “happen” when you put the words away. When it comes to Zen, words simply clog things up. Then, when you later try to explain it, you find yourself retroactively trying to – in a metaphorical sense - duct tape words onto the experience but the tape won’t stick. And this sloppy mess of words just makes you seem like a babbling idiot. Like, f’rinstance, this stuff I just wrote.
No, I haven’t seen “god”. I’m still the same hardcore atheist I’ve always been. And I wouldn’t describe it as a “spiritual” experience, either. To me, that mushy word implies finding something outside one’s experience. But what I felt was the direct opposite… an “enhanced” experience of reality. It was the precise opposite of what I expected Zen to be. Instead of “other-worldly” it was more “hyper-worldly”… as though the physical world was more “real” than usual.
I’m really digging myself into a hole, here, aren’t I?
Forget all the shit I wrote above. Let’s just say I plopped myself on the bed for about five minutes and it was really nice, okay? Okay.