Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
It seems to me that, thanks to the Internet, there are quite a lot of teachers, but not that many people who know how to learn.
Yes, there’s an art to learning. To know what information is best suited to your own needs, motives, principles, and goals.
While this post is not going to teach you much about Zen Buddhism, it is going to offer you a different perspective on the art of blogging.
The Four Noble Truths of Blogging
1. Get Over Your “Self”
Buddhists believe that suffering begins with our perception that we are separate and distinct from the rest of reality. In other words, our own egos make us miserable.
In blogging, the publisher / reader mindset can also cause you unnecessary pain. The key to successful blogging is an alignment of both writer and reader.
Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that benefits your readers.
2. Free Your Mind
Zen is all about seeing deeply into the nature of things by direct experience. The Art of Blogging is all about writing about existing information from a unique perspective.
Zen encourages meditation, and great blogging requires contemplative thought. It’s while being busy doing something else that our most creative thoughts emerge.
Albert Einstein figured out that time is relative while on a stroll with a friend. Go do something else and a genius idea for your next blog post may just pop into your head.
3. Free Yourself from Outcome
Another key to existential angst is an attachment to outcomes rather than simply focusing on excelling in our actions.
It’s not the destination, but the journey.
It’s chasing that flow state that matters more than what you aim to achieve by blogging.
Focus on consistently producing excellent reader-focused content and effectively promoting it. The results will come.
4. It’s Up to You (And Only You)
As a philosophy, Zen is more concerned with attaining wisdom through doing, that is how you will learn more than by reading any sacred text. In this way, blogging and Zen are closely aligned— just showing up and keeping at it will teach you more than anyone else can.
Zen encourages practitioners to learn from teachers and other students to better understand how to attain truth through direct experience. The blogging community offers a similar environment, but the final breakthrough will always occur in your own mind and be the result of your own actions. You’ve got to accept responsibility for your own success.