This is chapter 2 of the book zentao, the lifeway by D. L. Keur with F. W. Lineberry. Please note that this book, each of its sections and chapters, is still under revision until we formally send it to publication under its ISBN: ISBN-13: 978-0692369104 ISBN-10: 0692369104
2 – an art of living
Literally, zentao means harmonious immersion in and of the absolute founding of all that is/isn’t. Practically—pragmatically—zentao is a lifeway, a cosmic worldview, a thoughtway. It’s more than that, but, functionally, at a definable level, that describes the result.
Thoughtway: a way of thinking;
Lifeway: a way of living;
Worldview: the way one interprets the world, reality, and what is/isn’t.
At its more abstract, zentao is a gateway to infinity …or, again, defined more pragmatically, to opening yourself to the idea that possibilities are infinite and unlimited and to finding the alternate question(s) and answer(s)—ways of thinking about something—that permits disparate facts, perceptions, and ideas to coexist without conflict. Simply stated: what possibilities satisfy the existence of all possible answers?
For simplicity’s sake, here’s a single-lensed, very limited, very human-centered version of the question restated: Is there a comprehensive understanding that makes sense of all the varying and disparate-seeming, even contrary, facts and ideas which can confound us and over which humans interminably fight and debate?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: That depends on how open you are to embracing infinite possibility, regardless of limited perception.
The key to unlocking a zentaoist understanding is to broaden the scope of your question. If you open yourself up to the possibility that, if [this] might be true and [this] might be true and [this] might be true…, then [what] might make it possible for [all of them and more] to be true, ‘more’ being that yet not conceived and/or apprehended, comprehensively and simultaneously. Allowing more possibilities begins to expand the vista of possibilities, potentially allowing a better grasp of ‘what is’ or Tao—all that is and isn’t. When this concept is applied to a way of living or ‘lifeway’, what happens is this:
At any given moment, an infinity of possibilities and probabilities could happen. There are also an infinity of possibilities and probabilities open to you in response. Instead of planning or deciding what is and what to do, simply move, doing as the doing presents itself.
The ‘how’ of it, basically, involves a kind of instinctive ‘knowing’ of what is done now. There is no ‘to be done now’. There’s no planning. There’s no second guessing. There is just being and doing in the moment. It’s like walking in a void where the path forms as you take the step, and, to do it, you have to ‘let go’ of control or ‘allow’ that you will move as you should—that there will be firm ground there upon which to step.
The closest sense of what that feels like is:
- it’s like breathing,
- it’s like walking,
- it’s like riding an inner tube down a fast-flowing river, depending only on the river’s flow and instinct to keep you safe,
only applied to everything in day-to-day/night-to-night living/being/doing.
The ‘how’, though difficult to explain, is extraordinarily easy to do once you let go of, both, willfulness and fear. But why do it?
The reasons for the thoughtway and cosmology are for peace of mind and innate (as opposed to self-conscious) assuredness. The lifeway eases the art of living.