Saturday, January 26, 2008

Zen Yogi

"Think? How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?"

This is the follow-on to point 9. From a practical perspective, Berra was spot on. When a pitcher throws a baseball at 95 miles per hour, it takes the ball only four-tenths of a second to reach home plate. That gives the batter about two-tenths of a second to decide to swing or not to swing.

In other words, when hitting a baseball, thinking gets in the way of acting.

This is true with most things.

The whole point of learning anything is to move from complex and slow, to easy and fast. (Think back, for example, to how hard riding a bicycle was, until it wasn’t.)

Relatively, of course.

No one would argue that hitting a 95 mile and hour fastball is easy. But if you’re going to learn this skill, you’d better give up thinking you can reason your way through it. With practice, it becomes instinctual.

In Zen, we bandy about the term discipline. For example, when you meditate, we say, "Just sit." As opposed to what?

Well, as opposed to following your thoughts. No matter how good you get at meditating, you will think thoughts. The key is the discipline of ‘non-following,’ or non-attachment. So, as you think about lunch, you say, internally, "thought about lunch," and you return to breathing and just sitting. You ‘do’ and ‘be’ sitting. You discipline yourself to let each thought go.

Remember: your problems are caused by over-thinking and under-doing. Pick a way to be, and then just be it.

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