Every moment Zen.
Of course that’s what the Cafe is about.
There is a retreat, a withdrawal, in order to reconnect and reestablish… oneness. However, once that is accomplished, once the atonement (at-one-ment) is experienced apart, there is a gradual return to the world at large.
With repeated retreats and withdrawals, sort of booster shots of experiential wholeness, one eventually learns to bring the Cafe out into the world… indeed, the world becomes one giant Cafe.
That is Zen. The Suzuki-Watts Zen without the books. Zen without the Home Depot carpenter’s apron and the strange exotic sounding master names.
The thing is, when we think—and the key word here is of course ‘think’—of Zen we automatically fall back on old habits. An unsolvable Koan comes to mind and some intellect who has spent numerous years abroad studying under a distant master expounds reams of abstrusities liberally sprinkled with quotes and other assorted anecdotes from the Zen canon misguidedly meant to clear things up for us, ‘enlighten’ us. Go to YouTube and punch in ‘Zen’.
Blah, blah, blah.
Can we live without thought? Can we participate wholly and fully in this life right now as it is? No good, no bad, just Life? Can we dance from moment to moment and day to day, make every waking (and dreaming) act a yogic celebration, unalloyed or sullied with thought?
We can, absolutely.
One participates in one’s life and that of the community to the best of one’s ability. One cultivates that ability—not for oneself, because one fully comprehends that there is a oneness enveloping the whole—but for the whole. And one goes about one’s day to day life loving every aspect of it, what others but not ourselves’s would call the ‘good’ and ‘bad’.
We can, because there is no other way. Not if we desire happiness for ourselves and those around us, I mean the sort of deep down-in-the-bone soul-infused happiness the sages speak of. Nirvana, bliss, what-have-you.
We can, and that’s everyday Zen.