1. A state of focus that fully incorporates both body and mind.
2. Zen involves the dropping of illusion and seeing things without the distortion created by ones own thoughts.
I've been making time for mediation the last few mornings. The peace bench has come back out and into my little corner of the office by the window facing the garden. I start each practice by lighting a candle and placing it in the window sill and beginning the session with breath prayer. I close my eyes and let my hands rest on my legs with the palms facing up - ready to receive peace.
It takes a bit for me to be able to calm my mind. I mentally try to allow my thoughts to be like debris floating down a river. I acknowledge my thoughts and let them go. I try to focus on my breath and empty myself, attempting to be fully in the present.
After a few minutes I was beginning to lose myself in this peaceful meditation and I began to feel very Zen-ey. It was working and I felt whole and at peace. Suddenly, out of nowhere, there was a horrible clawing sensation all over my chest and a shrill howling sensation in my head. My eyes flew open to find that Izzy had taken a flying leap from an unknown location and was velcro-ed by her claws to my chest and neck. She was screaming like she was dying and suddenly I felt very, very un-Zenlike.
So un-Zenlike, as a matter of fact that I contemplated actually giving her something to caterwaul about. . .
I disengaged her claws from my skin, dabbed hydrogen peroxide on my flesh wounds and knew that my morning mediation was definitely over. It would be ten kinds of wrong to try to breathe peace when you're planning murder. And then I remembered this quote from Marcus Aurelius –
The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.
Izzy, my dear, you are a Zen killer. But I shall let you live yet one more day.