That’s it. Want nothing. Choose what shows up instead.
This is the very essence of zen. It is what is meant by the “surrendered state“. Do this, and persist in it long enough, and you will find some incredible things unfolding in your reality, very likely including those that you formerly really, really wanted. The irony? It won’t matter, because you don’t want them anymore! You’ll surely enjoy them while they last, but the terrible need you had for them to give you fulfilment is gone, and you could honestly care less if they showed up or not.
Can you think of a more pure definition of freedom?
Yes, I know, this is the real world and things just don’t work like that. You’ll be a bum on the street before you know it. And besides, how are you supposed to ever achieve anything if you don’t want it? You’d just sit around wrapped in a sheet all day, wanting nothing, doing nothing.
As with most things zen, it is somewhat paradoxical. Yet all you have to do is look at certain practitioners themselves. A group like the Shaolin Monks, for example. They’ve achieved some incredible things: razor sharp mental and physical dexterity, various levels of inner peace, a deep understanding of themselves and the world. The list goes on.
So it’s both a very complex yet incredibly simple idea. To break it down again: future and past are mental concepts, which means you can never not be now. You wanting something in the only moment that existsequals just that: the experience of you wanting. As long as you continue wanting it, you’ll continue having that experience. You want more money? Can’t have it. You want to be more attractive? Sorry. You want peace of mind, security, love? No such luck. The moment you express the emotion of wanting, you are confirming your lack of having.
Sure, there are examples of people out there who wanted something so badly they spent years working towards it, and finally did achieve it. Of course there are. But how did they feel as they were getting there? That’s the real question. Zen says it was impossible for that thing to manifest in their reality without at least an element of not wanting, and simply deciding instead. Everything else was stress and sweat.
The zen master, on the other hand, relinquishes all attachment to results and simply, pleasantly does the work involved in getting there. She has no need for anything else to show up, even as she builds mountains from mole hills. Her joy is %100 in the doing, in the creative act itself.
That’s the secret.