I’m in a Facebook group called “Zen Christians,” wherein someone posted this:
“Every religion has a Zen core,” which is said to be attributed to Thomas Merton. The post asked, “What is the Zen core of Christianity?”
Zen, at it’s core, is about emphasizing meditation. Psalm 19:14 states, “May…..the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Meditation is simply thought, contemplation, rumination, reflecting upon a subject, object, person, reality, or topic. We do this to reach spiritual enlightenment and truth about ourselves and God.
For me the Zen of Christianity is being mindful of, awakened to, and committed to living the truths of these core things that define the Zen of Christianity in my humble opinion:
“His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature.” 2 Peter 1:3-4
Eucharistic living and worship:
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” -Hebrews 13:15
Mystical reconciliation and relationship with God via Christ:
“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
“Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” -Rom 13:10
We are to mediate upon these realities for they are our Zen as Christians. It is our goal to make them manifest in our lives not just as simple cognitive beliefs or intellectual presuppositions, but as existential, living realities upon which we build our lives, establish our faith, practice our convictions, realize the truth about ourselves and God, and act out in our daily lives through the various practices found among the Traditions of Christianity.
As Christians, what we think about and the health of our thought lives are vastly important to the kind of life we want to live! Our thoughts, or meditations, determine our lives. Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica said it best,
“Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility.”
As Christians, what are we thinking about and meditating upon? What are our hearts centered and grounded upon? What are our minds fixated and focused on? What are we doing along with God to “partake in the Divine Nature” to become more and more like Jesus? What are we being grateful for and giving thanks for? What are we doing to build and develop our mystical and reconciliation-driven relationship with Christ? What are we doing to love and fulfill the law?
I once heard among the Orthodox Christians that the “Cross stands still and all reality revolves around it,” but of course I’m paraphrasing, nonetheless, it’s true. It all comes back to Christ and if we are centering our lives, our thoughts, and our actions around Him. Are we committed to becoming like Him (theosis)? Are we committed to taking all we have and have been blessed with and offering it back to Him in thanksgiving and gratitude (Eucharistic living)? Are we committed to the mystical unification and its development we have with Him? Are we committed to and practicing loving like He loves?
May our Zen as Christians be theosis, Eucharist living and worship (or simply gratitude), mystical reconciliation and relationship with God through Christ, and love.
May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you be safe.
May you live with ease.
Meditate upon and live from these realities we believe as Christians, my friends.