13 Feb Timothy Ferris

The Zen master accepts the absurdity of life, then transcends it, by living life exactly as if it were worth living: He sleeps and eats and sweeps the floor, understanding the pointlessness of it all and yet doing it anyway. His life is devoid of intentional cruelty, panic, pathos, piety, preachiness, apology and explanation. These manifestations of illusion are replaced by an appreciation of the beauty and value of life as experience, so that he really can live each day as if it were his last.

The nearest I have approached to the flavor of enlightenment came on summer afternoon when I was seventeen years old. My father and I were working in a garden under the hot Florida sun, and he sent me to fetch tree rakes. I returned with the rakes, but in trying to hand them over lost my grip, and the rakes fell every which way. With much fussing and fuming I stooped, gathered the rakes together, and stood and handed them to my father, who was watching me with an even gaze. He took them, paused for a moment without taking his eyes from mine, then deliberately let them go. Watching the rakes scatter on the ground, I burst into laughter. I’d suddenly understood something important – that my striving to gather the rakes (which was, after all, a form of complaint) had served only to make an easy task difficult. They were, after all, only a bunch of rakes, and we were but a man and a boy, working in a garden.