I just got through reading Alan Watts’ “The Way of Zen” which is just awesome, by the way. I didn’t really know who he was, other than, I heard Joseph Campbell mention him a couple times, and in the back of my mind I thought, “Oh, he was just some sort of 60’s new age guy who was sort of in Joseph’s ‘Entourage’.”
Wrong! This guy was the real deal. He was so “in it” so “grounded” that hearing him speak, which may be even better than his great books, you know you are listening to someone who was “transparent to transcendence.”
That’s what draws you to someone who is or has really followed their bliss, is that the ground is so speaking through them, that you can just feel there’s no Ego agenda that’s going to try to fool you, no editing out of anything, even competitive forces, because it’s like the ground of being speaking ‘through’ this person. That’s a paradox in itself, and as you get more into this world, you know you’re headed in the right direction as more of these paradoxes, oxymorons, anamorphuses, start popping up, and not only do you not mind, but they have a delicious quality to them.
Anyway, back to my main point. One thing that strikes me that may be the essence of Zen, especially when it comes to some sort of skill is that the practice isn’t what is making you better. The practice, which is of course required, is rather putting you in tune to receive the genius. The practice, the honest practice, sort of makes you worthy, like an initiation, to receive the message from the Gods. And then it becomes almost effortless, like the craft is working through you. You become a conduit for this genius. So the practice puts you “in tune” to be a conduit for manifesting the eternal.