top of page









When we begin Zen training, we often find ourselves searching – for something. We are not exactly sure what it is, even after a teacher has told us that it is some type of “experience” or “realization.”


What is this experience supposed to look like? What does it feel like? What does it signify? How are we supposed to recognize it, if and when it happens? All legitimate questions to be sure, but any descriptions do not necessarily bring us any closer to whatever “it” is.


So, we meditate, study, discuss. We gather and sift through information in search of a suitable direction; we begin to put what we learn and experience in a Zen context. This is just the start: A never-ending “beginning” stage to which serious Zen practitioners repeatedly return.


As we train, we may or may not actually experience “something” that makes us hesitate and go, “Hmm.” It could be a big event that causes a big pause. More often, though, it is a small moment that differs enough from everyday occurrences to cause a small pause. It can happen when we meditate, but it is just as likely to occur when walking to the car, looking at the ocean, or stirring sugar into a cup of coffee.


We wonder for a brief instant, “What was that?” Even while we recognize this was a peek into something out of the ordinary, we just continue on our way, doing our activities, living life. We may or may not talk with our Zen teacher about this moment, this something that happened.


While continuing to train, especially during those times when fatigue and frustration seem ready to overtake us, we might remember that unusual experience and feel, yes, there is something more. Maybe that memory is one that is just strong and vivid enough to get us through meditation or a longer, sleep-deprived training intensive. Yet, we keep asking, “Why can’t I get it?”


One day, you may indeed realize, “Ah, that’s it. I already had it.” You finally have recognized the experience for what it truly was and how it gave you a glimpse into something indescribable.


At the same time that we remember, as we continue Zen training, we have to release all of what we recognized and remembered. No attachment. There is now; there is here, but even that now and that here are gone.


We study to recognize.

As we train, we remember.

Because we train, we release.


This is the realization of what Reality is.


bottom of page