A Touch of Zen
Most of us have at one time stood on a beach and been completely captivated by the sights and sounds of the sea, carried away to the point where all other thoughts seem to disappear. And perhaps, lost in the sensations of our surroundings, out of nowhere it seems, we have suddenly been struck by the beauty of a fleeting detail - a ripple of sunlight cutting through the water, the patterns of waves tumbling across the sand. We might have seen it all before, but in that briefest of moments we experience it with a new and fresh eye, as though we were seeing it for the very first time - you might say we have experienced a touch of Zen.
In the philosophical sense, a Zen teacher would probably say there is no answer to the question: What is Zen? Zen is the approach to life, a way of being, rather than a philosophy or set doctrine. It is more a personal journey of discovery, which aims to free the mind so that a greater level of awareness - both of ourselves and the world around us - can be achieved. Since each journey is unique, Zen has no rules or set paths to follow. Instead, there are merely guidelines by which a person is encouraged to find and follow their own course.