Zen Genius

“The Zen “genius”sleeps in every one of us and demands an awakening.” -D. T. Suzuki

Awaken! Awaken! Awaken! This is the message of Buddhism.Simple as can be, yet there is no greater challenge. Awakening is the karmic challenge of every human being. Awakening is the karmic challenge of all humanity.This moment is the gateway, the “gateless gate”. Can you walk through it?

The greatest secret, the conundrum that plagues the seeker of spirituality,sanity and wisdom, is the ancient instruction that tells us that we already know everything we need to know. We were born possessing the key that unlocks the lock. But then we lost it. More accurately, we were born knowing there is no lock, and that searching for a key is a fool’s journey. But the programming of socialization, of egoization, occurs, and demands the delusional belief that there must be a lock and there must be a key. So there is a lock,and there is a key, and we have lost it. We have lost the no-key to the no-lock.

So, we search. We search in the world of power. We search in the world of possessions. We search in the world of pleasure, and even the world of pain. We search in the world of diversion. We search in the world of knowledge.We search in the world of politics. We search in the world of religion. We look for the teacher/leader/messiah who will give us the answer.

There is a deep knowing that this world is mired in distress, and this collective distress is reflected in the confusion, emptiness and destructiveness people experience in their individual and collective lives. We are lost. We pretend, in the pursuit of our myriad addictions and affiliations,that we are not, yet we know intuitively that there must be a deeper meaning and order to life than we experience. Out of this yearning, philosophy,politics, religion, the pursuits of pleasure, wealth and power, the pursuit of meaningful relationships are born. We look for authorities outside ourselves to answer the questions, to give meaning and order, yet the authorities and the answers only seem to compound the problem.

Zen asks us, who is it that knows the world is in distress? Who is the genius that can see through all the constructions of culture and society to know there must be a better way? Where does this insight come from? Zen answers, the genius is you, the one who feels the distress, the one who experiences the disharmony deep in your gut.

Buried beneath the programming and conditioning of culture and society,encased within the constructed personalities that we believe to be who we are,is the genius who knows the answer. Zen calls this genius your original or true self.All of Zen teaching and practice is designed to penetrate our false conditioned identity that stumbles confused through the world, to reveal to us the wise,spontaneous, free being that is our true self, the genius within who tells us that something is wrong and knows how to make it right.

Zen teaches us that beneath the commotion and confusion, beneath the construct of thoughts and words, beneath the hypnotic hold of society and culture, beyond the illusion of separateness, is the gateless gate, the doorway of stillness,the no-key to the no-lock. The sleeping genius waits, longing to awaken into consciousness, into its destiny, to live in harmony. Look not outside yourself,but very deeply within yourself. Look into the stillness. The whispering genius is there.

“Your inner purpose is to awaken. It is as simple as that. You share that purpose with every other person on the planet – because that is the purpose of humanity.” – Eckhart Tolle

Bill Walz has taught meditation and mindfulness in university and public forums, and is a private-practice meditation teacher and guide for individuals in mindfulness, personal growth and consciousness. He holds a weekly meditation class, Mondays, 7pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 227 Edgewood. By donation. Information on classes, talks, personal growth and healing instruction, or phone consultations at (828) 258-3241, e-mail at healing@billwalz.com.

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