I recently had a Zen teacher visit my Essentials class to teach sitting meditation (zazen), and to talk about Zen and creativity. It was a great evening all around; the students really enjoyed the teacher’s insights, and he found the group to be very open and eager to learn.
The teacher presented a quotation from a Zen teacher named Kosho Uchiyama from a book called Opening the Hand of Thought which I wanted to share:
The persimmon is a strange fruit. If you eat it before it is fully ripe, it tastes just awful. Its astringency makes your mouth pucker up. Actually, you can’t eat it if it is unripe; if you tried, you would just have to spit it out and throw the whole thing away. Buddhist practice is like this too: if you don’t let it really ripen, it cannot nourish your life. That is why I hope that people will begin to practice and then continue until their practice is really ripe.
He also brought with that quotation another quotation, this one from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, whom I have quoted more than once on this blog:
There is here no measuring with time, no year matters, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without the fear that after them may come no summer. It does come. But it comes only to the patient, who are there as though eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly still and wide. I learn it daily, learn it with pain to which I am grateful: patience is everything.
So keep learning. Keep working. Keep asking for what you need.
You never know what might happen.