The Zen in Zest

And into the wilderness I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.

Today I would like to use this platform of mine to discuss what I feel is paramount to the happy person.  I feel that it is the most all-around and profound touchstone necessary in the demonstration of an individual blessed with bliss.  It is the touchstone known as zest.

What is zest? In the culinary industry, we describe it as the rind or outer layer of any citrus, i.e., lemon, grapefruit, etc.  In the sense of irony, we chefs tend to peel or grate the brightness from this rind into our creations, with the intent of adding a bit of pizazz to the dish.  The same could be said for the zest of the human psyche, those who appreciate a zest for life, achieve happiness by adding a piquant flair to their daily routine.

The man who walks with zest at his side is in a constant state of optimistic oblivion, in lieu of all of the adverse objections surrounding him.  The man without zest stews in negativity and objectifies it as detrimental to his well-being.  He allows negativity the opportunity to simmer in his soul until it boils over into an irrational outburst of anger. The man, who lacks zest, never sees the silver lining in anything. Having a zest for life isn’t something that is filtered through our daily routines every once in a while. Zest rests in the ability to hold complete control over the mindless cynicism that arises more often than not in one’s head, with an unparalleled loyalty.  Zest isn’t a state of feeling; it is very much a state of being.

I believe that balance is vital to the absolute happiness that rests in zest. In the calmness of zest we transform into the best version of ourselves. Balance is critical to living a life fulfilled in those continuous occasions of zest. Balance is a feeling understood as being whole and complete. It is essential to maintaining the vitality of gladness. There are wide ranges of particular areas that are considered as being vigorous to eternal positive growth. A few right off the top of my head are the areas of health, spirit, intellect, recreation, family, work, romance, and the list goes on. These are not layered in any particular order; I just pitched them out there for the reader’s visual connection. It is not imperative that the individual try to accomplish the perfect balance in every single one of these areas. It is important though that in achieving a zest for life, the areas you do choose, you would be wise to put all of your focus on maintaining balance between them. In order to succeed at supremacy within the Zen in Zest, balance should be considered most critical. When we can triumph in the natural balance of life, it spreads a seamless concinnity that strangers cannot help but admire.

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It is now time to touch on what I feel annihilates the opportunity for a zesty life, it is the id known as ego.  A hint of ego in a workplace scenario isn’t necessarily an object of bad behavior. Every now and again one must grab the bow of his backbone, load the arrow poisoned with pride, and aim it in the direction of anyone who seems to be willing to jeopardize his career. We will discuss the advantages of a humbled ego deeper in the wilderness when we arrive at the confluence of two mighty rivers.

The ego that is aware of itself is an entity that is hazardous if not handled properly. The ego that needs its conscious stroked, so that it may feel a sense of existence; is immersed in ignorance, greed and apathy. It thrives on desire and aversion. The ego-conscious mind solidifies itself as concrete and is nothing but a constant restless urge waiting to pounce on the serenity of pure being. Zest is something that doesn’t desire, while ego is something that thrives on it. Ego often projects itself as desire and desire projects itself as ego. When our desire goes dormant the ego becomes nothing more than an unconscious illusion.

The man who buries an egocentric manner into the core of his own self, is the polar opposite of man flooded with a life full of zest. In the aura of the apathetic man one can’t help but observe his spiritless form. He is ridden with egotistical affinities that prove him indifferent to all things but his own self-image. His only interests rests in wading in the shallow pool of his own petty behavior. The only commitment he serves is to do whatever it takes to arouse his self-esteem. He does not care what the cause and effect of his inconsiderate actions convey with them. I know someone like this very well, or at least when he shows up once in a blue moon. Some of you reading this know him as well. That person is myself.

Allow me to clarify the prior sentence with a bit more acuteness. That person is the liquored up version of myself. I’m not sure if he could be classified as an alcoholic because he doesn’t drink with every waking day. He has recently only been drinking on Wednesday, Friday, and the occasional every other day of the week. On a more sober note, he doesn’t drink as much as he used to, yet sometimes he can’t remember when that was. He does tend to binge drink with the best of them and he can promise you this much is true. The mechanism that shines in his drunken dipsomaniac stupor is his pickled ego. His ego becomes swelled past the point of glutton. It always shows up about four to five drinks in and typically from there, it cannot be stopped. Professor Love tends to appear with an arrogance that knows everything about nothing. He can light up the sky with words of wisdom and useless tidbits of information. He is still a lovable creature at this point because his soft side is still lingering around hoping for his best behavior. He doesn’t always dive off of the deep end when he partakes in extra-drink-ular activities, because sometimes he is smart enough to remember his floaties. This erratic alcoholic behavior of his is the inspiration behind this blog’s title. As he touches the other side of a baker’s dozen worth of cocktails, the force is no longer strong in him and the path to the dark side becomes very easy for him to cross. Yes he crosses it, without any fear of his hidden afflictions that bubble up from his words, while his conduct holds little to nil accountability in the outcome. When he gets like this, it is considered temporary suicide, because he is more or less, killing himself softly. Killing his creative process, his motivation for the following days adventure, and above all else killing his own confidence through an allusion of masochism. This has proven to be disgustingly dangerous in his quest for zest.  Quite frankly, if you ask me, he’s an asshole, a vagrant, and it lusters in his luscious thought process.

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This is where I need to step in. I have turned the volume all the way down on writing drunk, because it can get exceptionally dark in there, it opens up a vault full of gloom and despair. Even though it was Hemingway who said, write drunk, edit sober, I have made a promise to myself to deviate from this said impending disaster altogether. I understand that I am in the midst of a depressive struggle. I am still wading knee-deep in my own uncharted wilderness. I am wrangling with my demons on a daily basis, but there is a spirit inside me that is fighting back and looking to drown those demons into the depths somewhere on the outer edge of sobriety’s existence. I believe this to be zest in a mildly, virtuous form. By acknowledging this ongoing struggle with myself, I am now releasing the inner demons inside of me for the entire world to see. I do not beat myself up by the truth written in my shortcomings. It has to be done, no matter how bad it hurts; it is the only way to break free from the fever of fear. I honestly just believe this is a better way to finally go about my days as a spiritual hunter, who has a constant hunger for the zest that will keep him fed.  When we strip our soul to its core, weakness is exposed to the strength that settles in the depths of our spirit, from here we blossom into the best version of our being. In doing this, the humble spirit within me gathers the needed tools to fix these intermittent broken dreams of mine. The first tool on the list is the attachment needed to adjust the thought of sincerity when it comes to the vehement virtue of moderation.

Epicurus said that one must be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance. Moderation is something that has lasting effects towards finding zest in all areas of life. When we discover ourselves bored or hopeless in life we usually take one of a couple of different routes in order to feel better and happier about ourselves. The one route that most administer today, is to take an avenue toward more stimulation and trying new things. People tend to party more, seek gratification from the opposite sex, or go out and buy the latest and most inadequate things, with the hope that they will temporarily fulfill their needed desire in the absence of happiness. The author would like to note that these temporary sparks of pleasurable experiences in severe stimulation will level out quicker than you believe and you will still feel an innuendo of narcissistic emptiness. The social structure is obnoxiously enthralled with the symptoms of overstimulation. Society has succumbed, with quite a bit of success, to the shrewdness in stimulation. We always want more of what we don’t really need. What we need is more interaction amongst one another, you know strangers stopping strangers, just to shake their hand. We must rediscover the isolated layers of good old fashioned traditional experiences. We must learn to reconnect with the attributes we were built on, love, being one of the signature points of reference. I’ll be damned if the meaning of love will ever lose its illustriousness to apathetic behavior, only to find its meaning represented by some hieroglyphical imagery. It is time to wake up and witness the world and every square inch of her natural beauty. In order to cultivate the virtue of moderation seek more enjoyment in the things you already enjoy doing. Reconnect with your own senses, reintroduce yourself to your attention span and most importantly, delay, or just throw away the selfish need for instant gratification.

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Over the course of my short-spanned adult life, I have shown promising signs of balancing myself upon a zestful life. I have often found a progressive balance that takes on the evil urges of debauchery that bully me so often.  I have also lost that balance just as quick, only to find it again, right where I left it.  Recently I have been trying to dissolve these urges by taking walks with my son and doing all of the things I loved and cherish in my childhood.  I have started occupying a fondness for photography and the abstract abilities one can create with a lens. I am doing everything in my power to harness my attention span, so much so, that I have started jogging. It’s quite relaxing, and it helps me put things into a positive perspective that differs from that of inebriation. I have always found Zen in the arena of outdoor sports, such as fly-fishing, disc golf, and sometimes golf. I say sometimes, because golf can really piss me off, more often than not, in its mind-bending mental mistakes. In the significance of it all, these things have always put me on a Zen-like plane of being. It helps me to forget all the negativity that surrounds the state of the world in which we live. But what has allowed me to perceive this positive growth, as something that I will continue with the duration of my life, is the zest I feel when writing. When I sit down and start writing, the Zen in my being, comes to table first and foremost. I have never felt the type of release I do as I am spilling my heart to individuals that I do not even know. Who knows why, maybe it’s because for the first time in my life, I am being downright honest with myself as well as those who love me.  It probably has a lot to do with the genuine feeling I carry when writing.  Last but not least I have learned to appreciate that the longer I wait to get what I am seeking, the exhilaration that I experience will finally harness the zest of happiness. The Zen in Zest will wash over me tenfold and anticipation will attain my senses to its fullest extent from now until my expiration day.

Let’s discuss why I started this whole blog thing to begin with. I started writing again because of my son. I love him with such a pure and natural affection, that I want to leave him something that will carry meaning through both of our lives, and even further. It is much more chaste than the love between the two paternal parents, because it isn’t ever forced. At the heart of this natural affection, I can’t help but worry about the shape of this world for his future; hopefully it doesn’t turn back around to being flat for science’s sake. In all seriousness, I have never really viewed the future with the keen eye, like I do this day and age. As of late, all I can do is try to envision what I can do past the limit of my life to sustain the American Dream for him and possibly my grandchildren. It has become of the utmost importance to me that human morality is preserved through an effort of intrinsic imagination, for the hope of our children. I know these grandeur visions of mine are merely the natural and parental instincts that shine through the most empathetic parents. It is true though, that a man, whose interests are stretched beyond his lifespan, will likely push those interests into some eternal realm.  They will continue to stretch much further than the creator ever anticipated. Much like Abraham, the man’s satisfaction will be derived from the selfless thought that his Circle of Life will eventually inherit the idea or fact, in his preservation of the Promised Land. The man will then be fully content with the outcome that he created and his life fulfilled. This type of satisfaction saves the soul from a sense of futility, which can sedate even the sprightliest of emotions.

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It was Aristotle who said the following. Every activity has a final initiative, the good at which it aims is argued that there cannot be an infinite regress of merely extrinsic good; there must be a higher good at which we all aim. The good for humanity, then, must essentially involve the entire proper function of human life as a whole, and this must be an activity of the soul that expresses the genuine virtue of excellence. Therefore, true happiness can therefore be captured only through the cultivation of the traditional virtues that make humanity complete.  I am not going to delve into breaking Aristotle down, it is merely here for you to chew on.

In closing, we must understand that zest is more along the lines a natural quality, it is not easy to acquire unless you can, and are one hundred percent committed to rewiring your entire thought process. When practicing the Zen in Zest it is important to intertwine your body and mind as one, in turn, dropping your illusion and the distortion created with your own thoughts. Balance yourself in the clarity of all things good in your life and give affection without any desire of receiving something in return.  The happy man is the man who lives objectively, who gives free affections and a wide variety of interests. His happiness is then secured through these selfless acts of courage and intriguing interests. This is followed by the fact that, these in turn, make him an object of interest and affections to many others that have witnessed his welcoming zest for life. The more things a man is interested in, the more opportunities for a happy life he has. Lest we not forget that life is too short to be interested in everything, but it is good to be interested in as many things as are necessary to fill our days with purpose.

When we can rest the mind with more consistency in the present than in the past and future, desire and ego will dissolve into the abyss. Suffering is replaced with pure happiness on its way to a perpetual being of bliss within the Zen in Zest.


“Honeysuckle Blue”

Please bear with me; My entire being is evolving at a rate I am not accustomed to. I am becoming the person I’ve always known was in there somewhere.
Thank you for taking the time to wander through my thoughts.  I will accept any feedback, whether good or bad with open arms.

Coming Soon:  Being Wilderness
See you in Church

 

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