Saturday Morning

elephant

In one of his insightful talks Zen master Shunryu Suzuki said that in your practice you should walk like an elephant. “If you can walk slowly, without any idea of gain, then you are already a good Zen student.” There’s a mantra for your religion: Walk like an elephant. It means to move at a comfortable pace. No rushing toward a goal. No push to make it all meaningful. The sometimes inscrutable texts of Taoism and Zen teach that it’s important to do what you do without trying to accomplish anything. One of the benefits of a religion of one’s own is its ordinariness and simplicity. You don’t need a magnificent ceremony, a specially ordained minister, or a revered revelation to give you authority. You don’t have to get anywhere. There are no goals and objectives: nothing to succeed in, and nothing in which to fail. You can sit in your house, as Thoreau did, and be attentive— his suggestion. “We are surrounded by a rich and fertile mystery. May we not probe it, pry into it, employ ourselves about it— a little? . . . If by watching all day and all night I may detect some trace of the Ineffable, then will it not be worth the while to watch?”

~ Thomas Moore, A Religion of One’s Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World.


Notes:

Comments

  1. But in finding something ineffable, are we not accomplishing something? As we plow slowly without agenda, and realize the magnificence in our step, have we not recognized something almost holy?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Such truth! ” We are surrounded by a rich and fertile mystery” 😇

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like this, I need this sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like thinking of walking like an elephant because I often need to be reminded to slow down.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The joy is always more in the journey, than the destination. 💘

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey, these elephants are walking towards the water hole for drink and a mud bath. Go slowly and enjoy the pace ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. this made me tear up. this is how i try to live and teach and i know it to be true and the best religion of all.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent advice, beautifully presented. I’m slowing down…..now!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When I moved to D.C. from Africa, I moved slowly while everyone else was running. And I am slowly picking up that pace again, figuratively and literally. Feels good.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Loved this post David. so beautiful.
    and as often, as I can this is what I really try to do. I’ve found even in teaching abstracts and impressionist art, the word ‘zen’ or such like…. frightens many.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Amen

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes, mindfulness will of necessity have us slow the pace. My husband is a worker bee 😉 And I keep reminding him that he’s working to live rather than living to work. He’s a zen kind of guy, so that wisdom does sink in. Getting caught on any one of life’s treadmills can be easy but also tricky. So a walk with elephants is great advice 😉 Aloha.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Reblogged this on Carrie's Bench and commented:
    …to walk like an elephant

    thank you David Kanigan

    Like

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