Saturday, November 17, 2012

An Element of Consciousness

Zen is what makes the religious feeling run through its legitimate channel and what gives life to the intellect. Zen does this by giving one a new point of view of looking at things, a new way of appreciating the truth and beauty of life and the world, by discovering a new source of energy in the inmost recesses of consciousness and by bestowing on one a feeling of completeness and sufficiency.

That is to say, Zen works miracles by overhauling the whole system of one’s inner life and opening up a world hitherto entirely undreamt of. This may be called a resurrection. And Zen tends to emphasize the speculative element, though confessedly it opposes this more than anything else in the whole process of spiritual revolution, and in this respect Zen makes use of phraseology belonging to the sciences of speculative philosophy.

D.T. Suzuki in his work, Practical Methods of Zen Instruction is explaining the effects of Zen. He doesn’t define Zen; he is explaining what we believe are the effects of Zen. We describe our beliefs using words and language, but they do a poor job describing what Zen actually is. We can substitute the phrase “an element of consciousness” to actually describe the energy of Zen because Zen is consciousness, and consciousness is within Zen. Zen is like the wind. We see its effects not its image. In a sense, the conscious mind takes a back in seat in the vehicle of consciousness when we experience Zen.

We are not only what we think; we are also much more than we think. The brain controls the functions of the conscious mind, and those functions are elements of our belief structure. The brain keeps the conscious mind in a three dimensional focus. That’s why we experience linear time. Zen and other elements within consciousness are not restricted by the brain. They are free to interact with our belief structure, and that mixture takes place more than we realize. Zen has the ability to alter our beliefs in any given moment. When we become aware of this alteration, we are unable to describe the transition in words so past knowledge or religious doctrine is used to define this change in the self. Buddhists call this change of energy, Zen; Christians call it miraculous intervention, and other religions describe it using words that are deeply rooted in individual religious mythology.

Whatever the name, we all alter our belief structure as we move through linear time using other elements of our consciousness. Our beliefs generate emotions as well as our imagination. Experiencing the energy of Zen consciousness stimulates an emotional response, and that response takes us to another area of our imaginative mind.

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