Another word for Zest is Zen. Zen is not an ideology, it is not a philosophy, it is living in an existential way, not in an intellectual way. Zen is not concerned with words, concepts, theories, hypotheses, assumptions, beliefs, its total concern is with the immediate reality. The reality has to be encountered without any barrier. Unless your whole mind is put aside you cannot understand Zen. If you are trying to attain something in the other world then Zen is not for you. If you are trying to reach heaven, sacrificing this life, renouncing this life, condemning this life, then Zen is not for you.
Zen is not a religion, it is living life in its totality, herenow. Religions are always postponing life: they are giving you beautiful illusions about life somewhere in the future, far away, beyond death. It keeps you drugged, it keeps you hoping, waiting - and the tomorrow never comes. Desiring, fantasizing about life after death is a sheer waste of time, energy, and also it keeps you stupid. Life is herenow - there is no other life. Life knows no past, no future, it knows only the present. The Buddhist has developed another aspect of the mind, the escapist. Avoid, escape, go to the mountains, go to the forests. Renounce life. That too is in everybody more or less. It depends what kind of conditioning has been imposed upon you. These are all aspects of the mind. You can develop any aspect but it remains of the mind. It is not spiritual at all.
Pure Zen is to get rid of your mind. Mind has many characteristics, many aspects. And each religion has chosen one aspect of the mind and made much fuss about it, has dragged that aspect to its ultimate, logical conclusion. This is something to be very deeply understood because it is fundamental for the understanding of the Zen approach. But people try to control it. If they succeed they become egoistic, which is far more dangerous. If they fail they feel guilty, they feel depressed, which is far more dangerous. If they fail they become condemnatory towards themselves, they lose respect for themselves. And the moment you lose respect for yourSelf, remember, you are losing your trust in life. You will be living now just at the minimum, your life will not have the dance, it will not have the quality of celebration; it will be only a dragging.
Zen is of tremendous importance. It is the greatest flowering of human consciousness yet achieved and it is one of the fundamental revolutions: it cuts the very roots of the so-called religious structure of the mind. in the past, it is not inspired by the past - it has no goal in the future either - it is living your life passionately, intensely, ecstatically this very moment. The very idea of this very moment is shattering to the mind because mind lives in the past and the future. And Zen is a tremendous blow to the mind: it cuts it in a single blow, it destroys it, it takes you beyond immediately. Zen is a device of sudden enlightenment. Mind wants to be slow, gradual, it wants to move carefully, cautiously, guardedly, thinking about the pros and cons. Zen is a jump into the very thick of life. And life surrounds you within and without. Just as a fish is in the ocean you are in life. Don't wait for the next moment, live it now. Zen is a challenge, a risk, a gamble: putting everything at stake for the moment.
Zen is a transcendence of the mind. It does not develop any aspect of the mind, it takes you beyond the mind. And the only way to go beyond the mind is to enter into life hero and now. You are not to be a sado-masochist, you are not to be an escapist, you are not to be a fanatic, you are not to be a phony, a "holier than thou", an egoist, you just have to be ordinary, utterly ordinary, in tune with life, harmonious with life.
Zen is a totally different approach. It is life; it is synonymous with life. It is living life with such intensity that your ego disappears in it, is burnt out, that you dissolve into life, that you are consumed by the fire of life. And only then can you know what a beautiful existence has been given to you as a gift. It is a sheer joy then, each moment... Each moment then is paradise. Paradise is now or never.❤️