Zen and the Art of Nothing

I’ve tried everything when it comes to trying to meet women. I’ve tried dating services, personal ads, phone ads, internet dating, blind dates, being set up by friends, going to bars, and even asking out complete strangers. The most I’ve ended up with is a relationship that lasts for 6 months, but feels more like 2. I’ve told myself that I’ve tried everything.

I was thinking about this today when suddenly I had a Zen moment. I’ve been getting a lot of these ever since I really started thinking about my sabbatical and what I want to do. I find these paradoxical and oxymoronic thoughts absolutely delightful. On the surface they seem absurd, but then a light bulb goes off and you somehow understand. But if you try to analyze why its true then your mind gets lost running in circles.

I’ve tried everything except one thing. Doing nothing.

Like everything in Zen, going from the simple elegant thought to practicality is not easy. Have you actually tried to do nothing? You can’t. It’s not until you completely forget about whatever it is that concerns you that you actually do nothing about it. Then all of a sudden some solution appears and you’ve solved your problem by doing nothing. Call it God, fate, destiny, the power of the subconcious, or whatever, but there is something to doing nothing.

However when it comes to finding someone, doing nothing is very difficult. As above, the trick is to forget about it. But when everyday you come home to an empty house, that isn’t easy. About the only way to do that is to give up. Give up your search. Coming to that point where you give up on that search is not a fun place to be. It is a very sobbering thought that you might grow old alone. Giving up is not what you want to do, but to do nothing, that is exactly what you have to do. And you have to completely let go. You can tell yourself you’re giving up so that some person can walk into your life. It just doesn’t work. You haven’t really given up.

There’s another way to forget though. Just be yourself. Get rid of all your self consciousness and don’t give a damn about what other people might think about what you say or what you do or how you dress or whatever. If you be yourself and don’t self censor, your true and best self will shine through and someone is going to be attracted to it. And to do that you have to shed your ego. Focus on others and not on yourself. As my self taught, self learned, amateur Zen goes, you have to be in the here and now.

Still the mind, the home of the ego, and Nothing will follow.