ZEN THERAPY

Now we enter the winter months of June and July. So we can look forward to hot soup and pan-
cakes again … smile … as well as those delightful rainy evenings when you snuggle up in bed with a
book or in front of the television for a good DVD. Only problem is that getting out of bed in the morn-
ings is becoming slightly challenging … laugh out loud. Having mentioned books I want to use this
opportunity to tell you about a book on “Zen therapy” written by David Brazier that I am currently
devouring. He shares an early Zen test (koan): “When the stone box breaks open, what is the perfect
mirror like?”. In reflecting on this koan he writes: “As we grow, we experience. As we experience,
we learn. As we learn, we run the risk of encapsulating ourselves in a shell of set views, the dead
bones of experience past. Within our armour of views we start to put our trust in security. We are
then affronted by the vicissitudes of life which disturb our illusions. Zen, as therapy, aims to help us
hatch out of our shell and experience the world once again fresh and new.” I guess it is similar to the
words of Jesus who said that unless one becomes like a child one cannot enter into the kingdom of
heaven. Heaven would then be a state of mind in which you experience life fresh and anew from
moment to moment as children do. I don’t know about you, but I can do with that kind of heaven …
smile. Sadly, like you, I often miss it too. This is why in Zen, the so-called master would sometimes
zap his disciples over the head to “wake them up” and to “break their stone box full of the dead bones
of past experience”. Sometimes we also need to “zap” ourselves to wake up from our fears and wor-
ries as we tarry in a negative way in the past or about the future. We need to “zap” ourselves when
we react rather than respond to the challenges of life. “Zap” ourselves out of our illusions. May you
all experience life afresh and anew during the month of June.