Zen


Do What You Have to Do—Sarah McLachlan

Every day we have to do it. It’s an unavoidable, inescapable part of life, modern or otherwise. We try to minimize how much of it we have to do, but no matter what walk of life we’re in or what our occupation there’s always going to be an amount of it.

I hate waiting.

Waiting, it seems, is one of the scourges of the world. There are so many ways in which we wait: in line, in traffic, for coworkers, for the bus… and it’s this last one that factors significantly in my life. When dependent upon public transit or other people for transportation, you do a healthy amount of waiting. Whether it’s five minutes for your friend to get there or thirty minutes for a late bus there is waiting. Sometimes we’re lucky and time things just right so there is no waiting—from bus stop to bus. But then there’s still the waiting on the bus to arrive at your destination. This one’s the same the world over, public transit or no. There’s always transit time, if nothing else.

More waiting. And within that period of time, there are a flurry, plethora, smorgasbord of emotions we can feel. Nervousness, anticipation, boredom, anxiety, restlessness… or maybe peace. Maybe we can find zen in waiting instead of making it out to be some great stress or punishment in our lives. With a portable music player you can rock out at the bus stop and pass the time. In the car on a road trip, I find singing along to music always helps pass the time; good conversation always does this too. There can be many revelations between driver and passenger during even a short car ride—unknown shared interests, aligned desires, shared secrets, personal growth.

But sometimes can there be simply zen in waiting, without any distractions? Maybe it can be nice, in this frenetic modern world, to simply exist in a time and place with nothing to think about, worry about, or stress about because in that simple act of “waiting” we are acknowledging that at that very moment, there is nothing we can do to change our lives or our surroundings or location. We are waiting on the rest of the world to catch up with us. We are waiting on so many things and maybe that’s the key. Instead of frantically trying to change things, wishing the bus would hurry up, that the traffic jam would clear, that the trip is over… maybe instead, we should find a moment of peace in a small moment when even this crazy world has no expectations of us.

2 comments
drew
drew

This was truly a great essay! Very eloquently stated. I really appreciate what you wrote and can identify with it, as a public transportation enthusiast. I've often thought, "Hmmm, i'm not doing anything. That's different." :)

Scott
Scott

Stillness in a frantic world is the epitome of meditation, be it zen, Christian, or other. I wholeheartedly endorse urban meditation. Just don't miss your bus stop. That can ruin any good inner centering you just built up :)

Pieces about my life and other thoughts, for better or for worse. Mostly for worse.