Just This is It

Having just finished a week-long photography workshop — See the Light — I am remembering this Inquiry session that preceded that week. In it, we were reflecting on the traditional Zen saying "Just this is it." The truth is, things happen in just the way they happen. They do not happen in any other way. They happen just like this.

Our photos, if captured well and freely, reflect just this.

Something is always happening. Things arise and pass away — just like this — aside from the ways we wish, want, expect, understand or live them. However, we do wish, want, expect, try to understand and inevitably live out our self-centered dream. However, there are other possibilities:
  1. wish = It is easier to hope rather than meet experience with acceptance, immediacy, and engagement; wishing is passive, and not in our best interest;
  2. want = Wanting it more energetic, but with an edge of grasping and, hence, suffering;
  3. expect = This often suggests a form of entitlement; passively wishing and wanting to be met, and ultimately to be saved;
  4. understand = With this one we act as if conceptualization were the same as intimacy with all things;
  5. live = Our automatic reactions and habitual responses to what is happening is how we move in life rather than actually meeting what is happening; this is the function of meditation practice (zazen), to teach us to be with experience outside of habit patterns.
In this way, we come to realize that each moment has a stark reality to it — a sacred intense presence — just like this.

If we can actually meet life as it is — just like this — then we are better prepared to respond appropriately to life as it is, rather than merely through our wishes, desires, expectations, understanding, or habits. Meeting things — just like this — is not an invitation to be passive, but to be immediate and clear.

Inquiry recording: