“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
A famous quote from Albert Einstein, one which I believe contains the highest level of wisdom. And this wisdom is also expressed in the following Zen story:
When Bankei was preaching at Ryumon temple, a Shinshu priest, who believed in salvation through the repetition of the name of the Buddha of Love, was jealous of his large audience and wanted to debate with him.
Bankei was in the midst of a talk when the priest appeared, but the fellow made such a disturbance that Bankei stopped his discourse and asked about the noise.
“The founder of our sect,” boasted the priest, “had such miraculous powers that he held a brush in his hand on one bank of the river, his attendant held up a paper on the other bank, and the teacher wrote the holy name of Amida through the air. Can you do such a wonderful thing?”
Bankei replied lightly: “Perhaps your fox can perform that trick, but that is not the manner of Zen. My miracle is that when I feel hungry I eat, and when I feel thirsty I drink.”
This story always makes me smile, and reminds me the most important message of Zen. That the extraordinary can be found in the ordinary of life!
Sometimes we’re taking things for granted, for example our good health. The fact that we can breathe easily and effortlessly. Or eat with our full sensation. We look at the surface and forget the miracles working behind.
Our body. The most advanced living organism so far. How all the cells work perfectly with each other, transforming the food we eat to energies that we can use for self-realization.
We don’t have to search far for miracles. They’re all here in every moment of life.
Over the years I’ve found myself becoming more content by just being with the ordinary of life. A sip of my cup of peppermint and ginger tea. A long deep breath that makes me feel grounded and relaxed. A walk to my small vegetable garden where I joyfully grow kale, salad, and many other veggies. The simple life.
Zen exists in everyday’s “normality”. Because it’s all about the “How”, not “What”.
How we eat, drink and breathe.
How we talk and smile to each other.
How we choose to act and relate to other people in the time of conflicts.
How we become better as human beings by lessening our ego.
How we love and choose to love in such a way that it makes the world more beautiful, serene and divine.
Zen is here. Zen is now. Are you experiencing it?