Thursday, March 29, 2012

Faking Zen

Jeremy explains, "The problem is that in order to play the kick drum consistently and in perfect time, I need to keep my foot and ankle completely relaxed."

"Uh huh", I respond.

"Yeah, but whenever I focus on my kick drum, my foot and ankle start to tense up."

"Uh huh."

"But if I don't focus on my kick drum, I lose track of it. I play inconsistently and out of time."


"So, how do you focus on something without being focused on it?"

Scott says, "I know that I play better when I'm confident and unconcerned about the outcome."

Iris responds, "Yeah, you play great!"

"But I don't always know that I'll be able to play what I'm trying to play."

"Why does that matter?"

"Well, what if I get all confident and everything, but then I screw up."

"What if that happens?"

"Well then I'd have had false confidence."

James says, "Look man, I'm an optimistic guy. I don't just see the glass as half full; I see it as 90% full."

"Why 90%?", I ask.

"Well, 100% would be too much. I don't want to become delusional. You know how some people become so intent on being positive that they live in denial. They get to the point where they can't even see the problems that are right in front of them."

At the core of everything meaningful, there lies a paradox or so it would seem: the explosion of passion that comes when we let go of what we want; the dissolution of fear that comes when we embrace it; the optimism we obtain when we view the negative full-on without filters.

Sometimes the apparent paradox can be distracting. After all a paradox is a clear indicator that there must be something askew. The answer we think is there isn't quite right. So we fake it.

Rather than being positive, we act positively hoping that our actions will positively influence the outcome. We feign confidence. We feign being at ease. Why? Because we want the results of optimism, confidence and easiness.

However, being any of those things so as to achieve a goal undermines the authenticity (and effect) of being them. The moment we suspect that it's not working, the optimism, the confidence, the easiness all begin to erode.

The zen of it lies in detaching from the outcome while still wanting the outcome more than anything. That means being positive, optimistic and happy, even if what we're seeking were never to occur. It means being confident no matter how many mistakes we make. It means seeing just how terrible things are and then deciding, "It's all good."

Happy Thursday,

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