Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Zen, Passion, and Disappointment

I want more Zen in my life.

But in my early resurgence of interest I have these beginner questions.

I like to think that I'm quick to see inter-relationships, the big picture, and the balance, or lack of balance in world events.

The "don't stress over anything" aspect of Zen is very very appealing. On every level imaginable.

But, on the "thinking too much" level I've got this challenge.  To be passionate about something, which is frequently a good thing, would seem to include feeling disappointment when "things don't work out" - and that disappointment is dispelled by one's Zen Peace.

And that feeling of disappointment just means you haven't seen that everything really is working just the way it should.

So - can one practice Zen - and be Passionate?  It can't be an either/or proposition can it?

Isn't "passion" born from expectations - and don't dashed expectations feul the flames of disappointment - and Zen wants you in a place where you minimize your expectations - so as not to be disappointed.

Is there an easy answer here.. or should I just wait for the topic to come up in my "Zen For Idiots" book?

Have you any relevent personal thoughts?


  1. I think that if a person is paying attention, they're bound to be passionate about something. And I think that Zen folks acknowledge that emotions arise AND that we ought to experience them and observe them.

    There's a type of westernized version of it in which practitioners want everytone to think they are "enlightened" and therefore act as though nothing fazes them.

    That doesn't have a lot to do with Buddhism, though - even Zen Buddhism, which is really just Taoism and Buddhism put into a blender...

    A plan vanilla answer on emotions would be: "Watch the emotion, experience it, do not try to catch it or be caught by it."

    Wan on. Wax off.

  2. My knowledge of Zen is limited, but passion to me is at its core about gratitude, and does not necessarily connote expecting things to go a certain way--though I certainly agree that it can lead to expectations. I just try to be passionate about what I have in front of me this day, or even this hour or minute.