Working in a Zen Garden

Ole Ersoy
5 min readFeb 28, 2023

We tend to regard ourselves as puppets of the Past, driven along by something that is always behind us.

— Alan Watts

Do you ever “Feel” the temptation while working, even though you love what you do, to perhaps check the news, social media, etc.

There’s this “Freedom” in just allowing yourself to just chill a bit. To absorb yourself in something else for a few minutes.

And when we do the switch we tend to slow down and absorb ourselves in the new content we are “Presenting” to our conscientious attention.

And what if we were to slow down enough for our imagination to flow with respect to our curiosity and creativity with what we were doing before we decided to make the “Glitch” or “Jump” to our little “Break”? Maybe we could even afford ourselves enough time to ask the question “How do I make this activity fun and stimulating and why is it that some activities are like that for me?”.

And beyond that what is the meaning of “This” word in “This context”. Which especially important in programming. And whenever I start material now I slow myself down considerably and ask myself the meaning of even simple words to hook into “What is it? Where is it? When is it?” type context such that I can anchor myself into the material and make it meaningful.

Did you ever play in a Sandbox as a child? Notice how there was no rush back then. There was just this enjoyment of what you were doing / experiencing and the creative process. There was just the moment and the presence.

This ended up being the key discovery for me after I started practicing what I sought when I wrote this article. If I slow down enough to enjoy the pace then my focus stays intact, stimulated, and uninterrupted.

I asked myself what it is that is stimulating when I’m doing an activity that and usually, apart from social scenarios, it is that the material and concepts that I’m working with are stimulating and my mind enjoys the “Float” or the “Flow” of the interaction and application, very much as it did when I was playing in the Sandbox as a child building roads and garages for my match box cars. It was a simple, creative, and fun experience that it was easy to get absorbed in.

Part of that naturally is having a focused energy that “Flows” uninterrupted. And I’ve been working on attaining this my whole life, and my notes are here.

So ideally we have this “Fire Hose Energy” on full throttle at all times and it’s easy to focus and directly our attention on the creative thing we are trying to do.

However there are still going to be times when we are just worn down and tired feeling, however we still have something that we want to get done. And there comes this “Urge” to switch to something that is entertaining, but isn’t helpful in getting what you want done.

Well watch the “Urge”. Alan Watts teaches how to do that in the below linked video on meditation. Spend some time with the energy of the “Urge”. Watch it as if you were a third party and see how it flows. As you learn to feel it out, you may find yourself getting back to what you wanted to do after “Watching” the energy for a while without jumping to something else that you felt like doing on a whim type of way. By doing this you are also learning to be more patient and gentle with yourself.

There’s a scene in the Matrix where the Oracle says to Neo “Don’t worry about the Vase”. And he turns around and knocks it over. Perhaps if he was better “Watching” his energy it would have played out differently.

So what happens is this: the teacher of Zen constantly throws curves at his students and puts them in dilemma situations where they have to act immediately. One of the things, of course, that you mustn’t do is rush, because rush is a form of hesitation. When a person rushes to get a train he starts to fall over his own feet, see? So it really holds him up. It’s like trying to drive at high speed through the water with a blunt-nosed boat.

— Alan Watts

An interesting art form is practicing visualizing everything to be done before doing and doing it within any rush and without any hesitation.

Seeing what is being done in the entire context that it is being done so that one gets a thorough sense of it.

Do or do not. There is no try

— Yoda

This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.

— Alan Watts

The “Big Bang” is simply the expressing of all the Thought development that occurred prior to the physical. It is the final stage of Interia of Will and follow-through.

(Practice creating your desires, step-by-step, with visualization, will, and activity.

Give it your Undivided Attention.

And you’ll come to understand the process.)

Kevin W. Hay

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