Is Zen Practical?

I would say that something is practical when it is energy efficient, useful and beneficial to the tasks and situations that we encounter in daily living. If this is the case, then Zen is certainly practical.

Executives, college students, commercial artists, recording artists, martial arts instructors, computer programmers, professional athletes, doctors, film stars, attorneys, teachers and thousands of other persons in stressful professions whom I have worked with over the years have found zen to be invaluable in meeting the demands and opportunities of their business and personal lives.

People who practice Zen correctly are not spaced-out or unrealistic. They are balanced and grounded.

The Zen approach to life is to pay attention to details without becoming so absorbed in them that you forget the point. The point is to be happy and to deal impeccably and efficiently with every aspect of your life.

An old Japanese proverb tells us that wherever a dog walks his tail must follow. If your mind is clear than your life will be clear. If your mind is cloudy and stressed-out, if your long term and immediate goals are uncertain, then only confusion and unhappiness can follow.

In Zen you practice zazen, mindfulness and other forms of introspection to find out who you are and what you want, to balance your spirit, develop willpower, increase your sense of humor and gain wisdom. You are then prepared to successfully follow the road of life wherever it may lead you. I would say that this is the height of practicality.

Reprinted from "The Zen Experience"
© 1987 Rama Seminars Inc.