You sit in order to sit

From Zen monk / teacher / writer Brad Warner:

"My focus in this blog is on Zen stuff. So when it comes to “fake news,” I want to stay away from attempting to determine whether the Washington Post is more trustworthy than Liberty Writers. Instead, I’d like to try to dig a bit deeper.

The problem isn’t just out there in the newspapers and on the Internet. It’s also in here, inside of us all. We are all our own sources of “fake news.”

We all devote a lot of energy to constructing a fake version of reality that we carry around in our heads. It’s necessary to do this in order to navigate the world we live in without hurting ourselves.

The problem most of us have is that this fake version of reality becomes rigid, fixed, and inflexible. We become attached to it. When actual reality turns out to be different from the fake version in our heads, we often reject reality in favor of our image of reality. The more our fake reality deviates from what’s really going on, the more we suffer.

This is the reason that the practice of zazen has developed the way it has. It’s the reason that Dogen was so interested in what he called shikantaza, or “just sitting.”

This style of meditation is practiced without any goal or objective. You’re not trying to do anything with your practice other than just do it. You’re not trying to still the mind, you’re not trying to be in the moment, you’re not trying to achieve a state of bliss or to find Ultimate Truth. You sit in order to sit.

Of course, you’re human. So you have goals, you have desires, you have things you want to achieve. None of this magically disappears when you plop down on your cushion and start staring at the wall. But as you sink deeper into just sitting for its own sake, you let your goals, desires, and ambitions go. They’re still there, you just stop holding them so hard. Dots still appear, you just stop trying to connect them.

What you find after a while is that your fondness for your own personal “fake news” source weakens. It’s still in there trying to connect the dots just like it ever was. But instead of taking top priority, it fades off into the background. It’s always available if you happen to need it. But it no longer dominates.

When that happens, your personality softens and becomes less rigid. When reality threatens your personal “fake news” outlet, you’re more able to align with what’s true than with what you would prefer to be true.

And that is very useful and necessary, especially in a world full of “fake news."

Here's the full post.