“what’s zen’s antonym?”

Yeah, I couldn’t put my finger on the right word, either, so I looked it up.

Here are some choices: clinging, illusory, time, vice, self, imbalance, finite, ego.

I’ve been called, a couple times, “so zen.” I guess this means I present myself as together, or connected, body and mind. Or that I see things without distortion by my own thoughts and feelings. I take it as a compliment, but honestly, I feel closer to its opposites at least once on any given day.

Sometimes I can’t let go. Sometimes I put on a happy, calm face when I’m anything but. Sometimes I focus too much on the future or the past. Sometimes I do things that are not the best for me or others. Sometimes I feel like I could just tip over from the weight I feel from all that I find so worrisome and important. Sometimes I just want to make a mark, to make myself known, because everything does feel so finite… And I want to last, and last, and last. I want to matter.

Who isn’t the opposite of zen, at least once a day? Aside from this guy?


For the majority of any given day, I am not “so zen.” I’m just doing my best. Like everybody else.


A year or so ago, my sister and I both ended up giving our sister-in-law the same children’s book for her daughters, our nieces: The Three Questions (by Jon J. Muth, based on a story by Leo Tolstoy). Please get it (reviewed here) if you don’t already have it.

The three questions? “What is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do?”

And the answers? “There is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing by your side. . . . This is why we are here.”

It’s a beautiful story. It makes being at least a little bit “zen” a lot easier.

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