What am I doing here?

Recognizable

Many responses on my website are about my blog How it all started. The moment of disembodiment that I am writing about is very recognizable so it seems. Apparently more people experience these moments of questioning. When you think to yourself “What am I doing here?”

The next thing that often happens is grumbling within yourself about yourself, about another person (inside yourself or sometimes even out loud). You enter the "dislike mode". At least I do have moments like that. Yes, still. At home, at work. Even on my meditation cushion.

A well-trained 'attention muscle

With a well-trained attention muscle, you often ask the what-am-I-here-question. And I am very happy with that. Because it is actually a very nice exercise. I am often told that it is quite annoying when I give the “that's-a-beautiful-practice” answer to someone who expresses disgust about something or a situation. But really, it is a beautiful moment to practice your Dharma.

With a little rethinking, you can also see such a moment of disgust as a moment of awareness. A sign that you are awake for a while, however short or long. You realize for a moment that you are watching a movie. It gives space between you and the situation. This space can be used to practice not to start a standard pattern but to do something different. We need to realize that there are options other than fight or flight.

Helicopter view

And what does that have to do with Zen? You could say that the more you do Zen meditation, the stronger your 'attention muscle' becomes. And the better the condition of it, the greater the chance that you will be able to clearly see the situation in which you find yourself. You will be present to the things that take place within you, to your emotions, thoughts and physical sensations and to what is happening with others. In management terms, you might be able to develop a helicopter view of the situation. With this clarity, you have more space for your intuition to 'know' what needs to be done at that moment.