“When the water moves along as a river,” Suzuki said, “there is no problem.” But when the river becomes a waterfall, tiny drops of mist and streamlets split off, isolated from their source, each one alive and totally engaged in the activity of life. The life of a tiny droplet falling such a great distance is filled with difficulty. How lonely to be separated from the river. “What a difficult experience for each drop to come down from the top of such a high mountain,” Suzuki said.
Suzuki believed in a universal longing, shared by all human beings, to reconnect with our true, interconnected nature. This longing is the heart’s inmost request, calling us to a life of quiescence and composure, which is our natural state of being. When it manifests as a sense of isolation and cut-offness, we may feel as if we’re missing something. We don’t feel whole or fully engaged in our life. Often it seems that life is moving along without us, like a rushing waterfall.
But how do we respond? What is our longing calling us to do? In Zen we respond by learning to experience life directly, so we can feel our own authenticity. There can be no quiescence or composure without authenticity. In Zen meditation, zazen, we keep bringing ourselves back to what is happening right now. It’s a simple practice but not easy.
From Nothing Holy About it by Tim Burkett, page 4