Excerpt of the Day: Zen & Reclaiming The Present Moment

As part of my Excerpt of the Day series, here’s a quote from the essay Off-beat Zen: How I found my way out of depression, thanks to the writings of the English priest who brought Buddhism to the West by Tim Lott.

Alan Watts

“The emphasis on the present moment is perhaps Zen’s most distinctive characteristic. In our Western relationship with time, in which we compulsively pick over the past in order to learn lessons from it and then project into a hypothetical future in which those lessons can be applied, the present moment has been compressed to a tiny sliver on the clock face between a vast past and an infinite future. Zen, more than anything else, is about reclaiming and expanding the present moment.

It tries to have you understand, without arguing the point, that there is no purpose in getting anywhere if, when you get there, all you do is think about getting to some other future moment. Life exists in the present or nowhere at all, and if you cannot grasp that, you are simply living a fantasy.”

I highly recommend reading the whole post here.

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