Truewellbeing by Elizabeth Irvine



Meeting a Zen Master

Zen Master Miao Tsan

Zen Master Miao Tsan

One of the parts of re-designing our website was it gave me (actually made me) go through years of old memories I recorded through blog posts. I saved only my favorite. Here is one that I love.

I was in California promoting my book A Moment’s Peace. One of the highlights of my trip was the opportunity to spend the afternoon with a Zen Master.

Shifting gears
The sensation didn’t arrive in an instant. It was steady and gradual. The opportunity to unwind,  to feel deeply relaxed and content– like sinking into a warm and soothing bath tub after a long tiring day. A feeling that made it’s way through me, traveling up from the soles of my feet, the back of my knees, hips, through my fingers, hands, arms, shoulders and neck all the way to the top of my head–one of those blissful sensations that I want to continue to savor and call back as I write this post. This afternoon with Master Miao Tsan and the people of the Vairocana Zen Monastery in Garden Grove, California (one neighborhood over from Disney Land) allowed me to shift gears from feeling pressured to keep up with life and step into a new world, one fresh with subtle but powerful awareness in the present moment.

Un-kinking the built up pressure

Arriving earlier than my scheduled 1:30 meeting, brought me the good fortune of a lunch invitation. After our silent meal of  fragrant vegetables and rice, Master Miao Tsan and I walked in the garden. Mindfully walking, we stopped each time we made conversation. I talked about my work, new project ideas, my life in Houston. He listened. It felt as if I was an un-kinked garden hose that now free from built up pressure was able to release and pour freely.

Understanding each other

After our walk we met Jay, a gentle mannered engineer with NASA, who translated the arranged meeting by our mutual publisher– as simpatico themes run through our books. Before Jay arrived  (even with the few words spoken) my communication with Master Miao Tsan felt very rich. Perhaps it was the intensity or INTENTIONALITY OF OUR AWARENESS and  the true interest in understanding each other without speaking the same language in words.

The annoying ache in my shoulder disappeared

I then asked the master if we could meditate for a few minutes before I left, and once more his generous sweet nature shone through and accommodated my request.  As I began to settle into my body and deepen my breath, the master took hold of my hand. This experience was something I hadn’t anticipated. What I felt next was something like the Los Angeles freeway system running through my body. It was as if I had a circuit of high speed energy traveling through me. It’s hard to describe how long it lasted but the feeling was so freeing, like opening a blocked traffic-laden road. The annoying ache in my shoulder disappeared.

The master then left to attend other business while Jay and I remained seated in our meditation. A peaceful quietness wrapped itself around me, kind of like a blanket of  “life is good” serenity. My afternoon finished with good-bye wishes and a promise to return. That’s a promise I plan to keep.

Moment to moment awareness
Everyday life is chock-full of opportunity to live with mindfulness. Imagine life filled with blissful moments–for me, that can be as simple as noticing as the humidity lifts and I breathe in fresh crisp air, or maybe it’s truly enjoying my aromatic and flavorful lunchtime noodle salad. What I call “present moment” or mindfulness is really a simple three thousand year old Zen practice that is also referred to as mindfulness meditation, and it’s a valuable gift you can give yourself.

Check out his books,  Zen Moments, it’s one I keep on my bookshelf.