"Enter Zen From There" Parable

in life •  2 years ago 

Wiping tears on the sleeves of my Enter Zen From There tshirt today during my Delta flight from Detroit to Tampa must have been a great opportunity for someone to laugh which I think no one took advantage of! Would you like to hear the parable that I love and think I practiced pretty well today?

First, let me tell you a quick story of wearing this shirt today while traveling! Flying consistently makes me feel sick even if it is a fairly smooth ride which has helped motivate me not to buy any more plane tickets for the foreseeable future! During my one week trip to visit my family in Michigan which I make once each year, I saved my "Enter Zen From There" shirt just for the day I needed it which was today!

As soon as the plane took off, sensations such as a tight neck, unstable equilibrium, and all the general bouncing of mild turbulence gave way to a pissed off judgement summarized as WTF was I doing buying this plane ticket and why did I forget how uncomfortable flying was after I had the exact same experience on the exact same flight a year before? Thankfully with my shirt on I simply gave completely into the misery, cried like my daughter does at almost two years old, and actually found great gratitude in having my chance to feel like crap on a plane ride with my family. This is what life gave me and I will be damned if I miss an opportunity to enjoy it fully even if that means using the sleeves of this shirt like a handkerchief and not doing one fack what the other passengers think of a grown man sobbing like a baby.

Now why did I put these four words, "Enter Zen From There," on the shirt in the first place? How does the parable with them as the punchline help me enter into the infinite joy of this moment wherever I am?

Will you read this post or watch the original video from YouTube, which is day 98 of the "Happier People" podcast, to find out?

Thank you very much to @gmichelbkk for converting the transcription of the YouTube video from GoTranscript into this beautiful post for Steemit, which is much faster to read than the video and has beautiful illustrations!

Enter Zen From There

I didn't make this up myself. I heard it and I think it was in "The Power of Now," or maybe it's one of Eckhart Tolle's other things that I've listened to on Audible.

It's the story of a Zen master and a student, a monk. They go out into the mountains, and they are sitting down meditating. The student breaks the silence and he asks, "Master, how do I enter Zen?"

The master meanwhile looks back at the mountains in the distance, he asks the student, "Do you hear that river running?"

The student cups his hand to his ear and he listens hard. It takes him a minute or two and he finally hears the river running in the distance.

He says, "Yes, Master, I hear the river running."

The master then says, "Enter Zen From There."

The student then ponders this, thinking about, "What does he mean, enter Zen from there?"

Then he starts thinking, "What if I had say I didn't hear it?"

So he asks the master a minute or two later, "Master, what if I had said that I don't hear the river running?"

The master answers, "I would've told you to enter Zen from there."

Now the student is really puzzled.

When I told this story to my wife, she rolled her eyes and said: "I don't get it!" 😆

I love this story because the point is wherever you are at, wherever you are, enter Zen from there.

Enter Zen from somewhere else

The end of this saying has helped me so many times because I've had this idea in my life that I had to essentially enter Zen from somewhere else.

I believed that when I'd graduate college, I could enter Zen from there, but not from wherever I was at. I thought that when I'd get a girlfriend, I could enter Zen at that point, but until then, I could not.

I had to suffer and toil with everyone else until I got something.

"When I get a nicer car, then I can enter Zen from there."

"When I get a better looking girlfriend, then I can enter Zen more effectively from there."

"When I get a family or a child or get married, then I can enter Zen."

My assumption was that I could not enter Zen basically from where I was.

If you're not familiar with the term Zen, it's a Buddhist term. I'm not that familiar with it either, but as far as I can tell, it's similar to a state of being present now, paying attention to what's going on, immersed, connected with your body.

Not often the mind world in the middle of fear, anxiety and depression like, "Oh, my God, what's going to happen?"

You could call Zen, "The peace of God."

You could call Zen, "Presence."

You could call Zen, "Conscious."

You could call Zen, similar to a state of waiting for the master to return home.

A servant in the state of waiting for the master to return.

You're waiting and you're paying attention, but not waiting as in, "Oh, my God. When the master gets home it'll be better."

You're waiting right where you're at, peacefully, "Everything is prepared, I'm ready to be of service as soon as the master comes home."

I'm grateful to be here with you today.

How to use Enter Zen From There?

This particular saying has helped me so many times.

You might say, "Jerry, when do you use this?"

I would get mad at my wife and then I'd think, "Enter Zen From There."

You enter Zen from being mad at your wife. Then go back into loving your wife unconditionally when you enter Zen, or you simply forget the idea that there's anything to be mad about.

You see, it's ridiculous that I am mad about anything because when I'm in Zen, there are no ideas that I need to hold on to, that my identity is not confined to a particular situation. I'm simply here, in this body, looking around and paying attention.

Similar to a baby, "What is it?"

I look at my daughter as a Zen master. She is present, looking around all the time. Although, even now at 17 months old, she's starting to drift off. She's starting to get lost in thought, but just for a second or two, not like me who most of my life I'd been lost in thought all day.

In fact, even as young as elementary school, I remember noticing that I was breathing, and feeling this horrible fear that I'd never forget I was breathing, that I had to keep breathing.

"Oh, my God. This breathing is so hard. Oh, man, I'm never going to be able to do anything else because I have to keep breathing. This sucks."

Even as early as elementary school, I was so addicted to being out of Zen in the mind world, that when I actually dropped back into my body for a moment, I hated it.

"What am I doing here? This damn thing. I was having fun thinking about what I'm going to do tomorrow. I don't want to be left breathing in here."

I'm now in a state of Zen, I'm paying attention to where my body is at. I'm paying attention to my feet, which are on the ground. I'm feeling my butt in this shorts. I'm feeling my breath in and out of my lungs, mostly in and out of my mouth at this point. I'm feeling where my hands are going. I'm looking at the camera and I'm completely focused.

I'm almost on auto-pilot to some degree because the words are effortlessly coming out of my mouth. I don't know what I'm saying. They're just flowing out like waters flowing over a waterfall. I'm not really doing anything, I just stay in here and the things get said. I don't have a script, I didn't think of, "I'm going to really rock these people's world today with this, "Enter Zen From There" shirt." The state of Zen is just peacefully connected to everything else.

If you've been looking, hoping or trying to get things, all of that is guided towards what you really want to do, which is to enter a state where you're happy, where life is good. Another way of saying that is to just enter Zen right here, right now.

Life is good right here, right now. You don't have to get anything, you don't have to do anything, you don't have to prove anything to have all of the abundance of life right this moment. That's what I get out of "Enter Zen From There." Anything that gets in the way of that seems ridiculous.

I can't enter Zen from there

In other words, if a person says something I don't like, you're telling me that I can't enter Zen from there because what this person said was that horrible?

You mean, I would deny myself all the love and happiness, peace and joy of the entire universe because I found one damn thing wrong with it?


That's how I've lived most of my life.

Well, I didn't like the way that cashier said that to me, "How dare she?"

I would deny myself all of the peace, love and happiness of the whole universe over one trivial thing after another.

I used to have an office at The Hub in Sarasota and I would get so mad at the soap dispenser in the bathroom. I would completely be knocked out of any Zen by the soap in the bathroom.

It was one of those automatic soap dispensers, the kind of thing a techie person might say, "Wow. This is really cool. Look, an automated soap dispenser." The problem was that it was so easy to troll one of those automatic soap dispensers. People went in there and pushed the plus sign down over and over again.

Then, you just stuck your hand under it and it would spill out a ridiculous amount of soap. Your whole hand would just be covered in soap, and then the water would come out so slow. It was automatic, so if you moved your hand a quarter inch to the left, or a quarter inch to the right, or a quarter inch down, or a quarter inch back, it would shut off.

So you'd got this hand full of a ridiculous amount of soap and you needed a gallon or two of water to wash this soap off, and the faucet was coming out at a ridiculously low speed. It would probably take a minute or two to fill up a gallon of water sitting there.

Meanwhile, I went in the bathroom to go really quick and come back in my office. I was in a hurry, I had important stuff to do. Here I was, having to take two or three minutes to wash my hands and get this soap off. I would be mad about this 10 hours later.

It was one of those things that having one basic grievance against anything in the universe is the perfect opportunity for me to enter back into Zen and see that I'm literally losing all the happiness in the whole world over one stupid thing.

It's always one stupid thing.

Ironically, it is usually easier to see that bigger things could knock you. My mom fell off a horse and almost died. I remember when I got that phone call that I ended up laying on the floor and crying, and then I felt better.

Lots of times you realize that you have to deal with the big things in life, you can't just brush them under the rug, keep going and act cool, which I tried to do with the soap dispenser at The Hub. I'd get annoyed, but then I'd be like, "I don't have time to be annoyed, I have work to do."

Then, I'd do my work annoyed, I'd brush all these little grievances under the rug, then it would be 9 o'clock at night and I would just be in a fit of anger, or I'd be really pissed off or just irritable.

I'd look at it and see that it was like 15 little things I didn't like that happened throughout the day. I managed to go through the whole day being pissed off because 15 little things I didn't like happened. This driver did that and the soap dispenser just blew a ridiculous amount of soap on my hand twice that day. I got so mad at the soap dispenser that I bought 20 little hand soaps for 99 cents or something at Walmart.

I threw that soap dispenser out and someone took it out of the trash and put it back in there. Then, I threw it out again, I think.

I put all my little soaps in the bathroom from then on. Then, I'd get pissed off because someone wanted to take my little soaps out of the bathroom.

When the dispenser was almost empty they'd throw it out before it was quite done, or they'd go fill it up with some other kind of soap. The soap wouldn't come out right, you'd push it and it'd squirt all over your shirt from a distance away. 😅

It's amazing, if any little thing blocks you from being happy, you can literally have a life that looks more like heaven to most people and you experience it as hell. That's why we laugh at all this when celebrities who have all these fancy houses and nice lives, get on these reality shows and they're miserable the whole time. We think that it's funny when they do it because we're going through life doing the same thing they are.

Seeing the meaning of "Enter Zen From There."

I'm grateful today to see the meaning of "Enter Zen From There." Anywhere I'm at is exactly where I need to be to enter Zen. At no moment I am any distance away from happiness, no matter what's happened.

Now, sometimes, like my mom falling off the horse and nearly dying, not knowing if she was going to live or not, you may need to enter Zen by laying on the floor and crying about whatever it is. Other times I'm able to enter Zen by just talking and doing my podcast. Other times I enter Zen from sitting on the couch quietly or taking my dogs for a walk.

I enter Zen by listening to my mother who's now feeling much better, walking around and doing really good, or listening to a friend or a family member telling me about their life, without judging them, without condemning them, without trying to fix them.


The better my life is, the more I'm tempted to fix everyone else's. I have such a great life, let me tell you how to fix yours.

You know what?

It takes my full effort every day to just keep having a good life and to share the information that helps me do that.

I don't know what you need to do in your life. I can tell you that when I have the thought, "Enter Zen From There" in my head, it breaks up the story because I get into self-pity just like the next person.

"Poor me! I'm missing out on making all this money," or "I can't believe this person said that," or, "I don't know how I'm going to get through the day."

I get into that just as easily as the next person. The difference for most of my adult life is that I don't stay in it very long. Some thought comes along, like "Enter Zen From There," and it just breaks the cycle.

I realize then that even if it's a negative feeling that feeling is exactly the motivation I need to enter Zen from there.

Yes, I hear the river in the background.

I'm grateful to be alive, life is good.

All things are possible and I'm excited to see what's next.

When entering the state of Zen, you turn the future and the past over to the Creator, over to the Universe, God, whatever you want. The past and the future are none of my business. My work, Zen, everything to do is here, right here right now. I don't need to go anywhere. I don't need to accomplish anything.

Now, you might think, "Jerry, doesn't this make you lose your edge?"

A lot of us associate being in pain and miserable with motivation to do better. As if I start getting mad and that will make a difference in politics or that will make a difference in my relationship or my job, that if I go around in a state of Zen, "Om," all day that I'm not going to accomplish anything.

Ironically, the truth is, actually, that in a state of Zen I do so many amazing things that I can barely comprehend them, that I don't have to sit here and write a script out for this video. The words just come out.

Now, if I tried to do this with traditional film-making methods it'd take me 10 times as long as it does to make this podcast episode.

"And, Jerry, it'll be ten times better too!"

That's the thing, it actually might suck.

It might be terrible compared to this. Now, sure it might be a little better, I might not go off on quite as many tangents, but I found that the tangents, the random sporadic things that get set in the moment or what's funny, is like talking to a regular person.

Watching most movies and TVs now is deathly boring because it is like being plugged into the matrix. I can almost tell you what's going to happen next because there's this certain predictability about it.

Going through the change to enter Zen from there

I found initially that it was hard to go through this change. I listened to Eckhart Tolle's first two books, then the third audio book I bought of his was a retreat. He did his speech in a retreat, just like I'm doing in my podcast. It wasn't rehearsed, it wasn't practiced, there was no script. He just stood up and started talking. At first it was a little unpleasant without the predictable mind pattern.

Everything is edited and you know exactly like in a song when the beat's going to come. You know when the beat's going to drop. You know when the beat's going to change, it's so predictable.

Then, listening to him talk on the retreats, I was laughing way more than I was in his books. Now, his books were very helpful. "The Power of Now" and "A New Earth" were very helpful, but his retreats are helpful and entertaining because some of the stuff he says is just so random on a retreat that it was edited out in his books. You weren't going to get his random political commentary in the middle of entering Zen from there.

I'm grateful today that after hearing Eckhart Tolle do those retreats -- I went to see him once in person as well -- I realized the same ability in me. Actually, going through life without holding on to a bunch of pain, without being in a state where I have to enter Zen from somewhere else, that I have to work really hard.

"I have to be a monk and meditate for 30 years, and then maybe I can enter Zen from there."

No, you can enter Zen right here right now.

I liked Thich Nhat Hanh's book "The Miracle of Mindfulness." He explained to his monks that you could go through the process he described in seven years, or you could go through it in seven months, or you could go through it in seven weeks. The truth behind "Enter Zen From There" is that "now" is all we ever have.

If I'm going to enter Zen, it better be from right here, because it's not going to be from anywhere else.

I'm very grateful you've experienced this here with me today.

My exercise is to enter Zen from here.

This is where I am, I enter Zen from here.

I enter Zen with a little bit of a sore throat, with my voice not sounding quite right, with being a little bit fatigued, with not knowing exactly what I'm going to do the rest of the day.

I enter Zen from right there.

That's it!

I don't have to do anything else and to remember this throughout the day, to remember it the second that bad mood triggers off.

"I can't believe this happened." Enter Zen from there.

"Oh, yes. All right, it doesn't matter that it happened. What can I learn from this? Excellent!"

"How dare this person say that?" Enter Zen from there.

"Did he just insult me?" Enter Zen from there.

"Oh, my God, what's going to happen? Am I going to be able to make ends meet on my finances?" Enter Zen from there.

"Oh, okay, it doesn't matter. Everything's fine right now and I'm sure it'll be the same way later. What can I do today to most effectively deal with what's in front of me?"

Thank you so much for reading this.

If you found this post helpful on Steemit, would you please upvote it and follow me because you will then be able to see more posts like this in your home feed? If you would like me to follow you, would you please read this post next?


Jerry Banfield

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  ·  2 years ago (edited)

this is very accurate, ppl think steem is some sort of monopoly money, goin "I dunno about this Steem..." while they get Paper Fiat money out of an ATM ....they think steem must be a pyramid scheme while they struggle to find a way convert bitcoin to paper money so they ccan "spend" it haha when in reality all the biig purchases will be done WITH bitcoin and theyl have to buy bitcoin in orrder to buy the houses and cars in the future....cuz haha only peopel with crypto will have any money left..

isnt it funny how even"shitcoins" like Zcash end up being chosen by jpmorgan and now being worth $409 as I type this hahahaha ethereum only $362 hahaha people will SCRAMBLE to theeir computers to look for altcons like they did with bitcoins! except now theyll just check their old poloniex or bittrex and hopefuly exchanges can last another few years i mean if MtGox had kept gooing bitcoin could alreeady be at 1 million now right haha mtgox was good for bitcoin

now we have some amazing times ahead of us! i only wish i had more mony to buy more bitcoins and more crypto! I realize how we all made mistakes by not simply knowing about mining bitcoin with CPUs!

also many people got ripped off or scamed or hacked and its discouraging but u have to just keep gooing!

steemit is like a second chance to ride a wave like Bitcoin did from $1 to $3000 well steem is $2 and t could go to $100 by end of the year$1000 by a year or two, i really see this happening oh yeah why wouldnt it? were about to hit Quarter of a million accounts!
Oh shit i went to steemd.com/distribution to check the total number of user accounts on steemit, still says"downfor mainatnce"
so i went to regular steamd.com and uh oh woah 8 hours and we have another hard fork!!!!!

Oh shit! see 8 hours away hardfork, last hardfork i ddidnt make any money off any posts for a few weeks as if everyone who folowed me alll powered down at once or something lol it sucked but i hope that ddoesnt happen to me this time!


r u in a zen state jerry? ur always lively.

Jerry you put so much stuff out, I would have to be a speed reader!


Yes he does :D


Very good post, i love when you said in a yt video, Jerry none of these posts are short-_-
Love, from sweden

Great post jerry!!!!!!!

Flying terrifies me also. I could use a t-shirt like this.

I've never heard of that parable before, and I really like it. Just relax, live in the moment and embrace your life. Don't wait for everything to be perfect, for it never will, but embrace your life, this very moment and be thankful. There's a lot of wisdom in your words. Incredible post.

Love this..the ultimate place of awareness to get! BTW...how's your witness progress going? Casted my vote for you!

Thanks for sharing Jerry! Always so much love to go around. Hope you're having a great night

Most people do deny themselves the love and happiness, peace and joy of the universe because they found something wrong with it....

Why is that?

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

I really like this out of you Jerry. I have been practicing this for a long time and write about it as much as I can. I would enjoy hearing more from you and getting more on your experiences. Needed to resteem this and make sure my followers get the chance to read it. Keep it up! I am watching as we speak for more. :) Namaste

Pretty cool post @jerrybangield my girlfriend and I are definitely into the zen state of mind. We love yoga, meditation, and just keeping a positive clear vibe :) thanks a lot for sharing mate! ^_^

Awesome post as always Jerry!

It reminds me of the quote to "not sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff". We have the option to choose our attitude everyday. I choose to be optimistic and enjoy the journey of life. Thanks, Jerry!

Your Deepest post to date! Inspiring @jerrybanfield
I hate flying...

Love it!

All I can say is:
Do all the powers we have and everything will do its own.

Nothing to worry of anything as long as we've done our best.

Have faith, love others as much as yourself, its more than money.

How to love?
A variety of things and ways to love.
"Did I say I have to talk long? LOL!"

Anyways, have a GREAT day to all!
You made it again @jerrybanfield!

Steem on!

All that zen sure sounds like smoking a joint

Great post ;)

Now in Zen mode.

Another great content post @jerrybanfield !!

You are getting us spoilt! lol
So would you say that phrase would be like a dummy for adults? Or a pacifier? Something to help us keep our cool ?

Thanks for sharing!

Very nice! I take it you won't ever consider getting a pilot's license haha

So Zen! :)

Just a suggestion from a friend! Have you thought about putting something on the Back of your shirts?

Maybe something like, "Ask me what I do at Jerrybanfield.com! I'm Jerry"

Can u please talk in your next post about BTC hard fork ?

Love your all post awesome

Nice. ....Zen Buddhism.....Zen is even closer than there or even here. We are Zen! There is no separation.
...Zen is there-in the river and here-where we sit and here in a miserable thought and here in our joy.
But actually - Zen is what we really are!

Interesting article though I don't think I can reach Zen anytime soon with a 1 week old in my house! Sleep deprivation doesn't feel particularly conducive to entering Zen!

This is my favourite video/post from your Happier People podcast :)
It reminds me of the principles power of now.

Wow, this was a great post. I have not heard of this particular parable before but it is very profound and beautiful in meaning. It's often hard to just to let go and exist in a moment. We wait for everything to be perfect and optimal but all that ends up happening is that we just delay and think that we can find perfection somewhere else. However, now, after reading this post, I decided to enter Zen from here. :)

Thank you for writing and sharing this Jerry. It's very timely for me. Earlier this week my GF encouraged me to consider meditation when I spoke with her about the restless feeling that I have within . If I'm super crazy busy it takes a toll on me, and if I'm not busy I feel restless...right now I'm coming off of a busy time and am having trouble adapting back to a life that focuses on me. I can't seem to just be - something I look forward to working on and changing. I'm going to have to look into making meditation(ZEN) a regular part of my life. Thanks!

This is cool. I'm so into meditation and just taking some moments to be "aware" and relax. Does wonders for health of the mind, body and soul. Great post @jerrybanfield!

As you are saying in the next post i'm a faithful follower of you! I'm on steemit Because you !!!! Thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am so going to start saying "enter zen from there" to myself all the time now.
I am sorry about your soap dispenser troubles, but that story did make me laugh!
I am glad your mom is okay, by the way!

damn youre getting like $14 per post shiiiit i gotta get my youtube campaign up!

dude u should REALLY see my campagnof giving! https://steemit.com/chainbb-general/@ackza/im-giving-away-dollar10-or-about-5-sbd-to-a-minnowithsteemit-newb-financially-in-need-cuz-i-just-got-another-dollar70-payout-today-even-after-getting-dollar110-yesterday-i-love-the-7-day-wait-periodoh-and-dollar1-to-3-minnows-who-reply-using-chainbb i mention u in my posts to newbs on how to use youtube to make a loop showing yotube how much u make on steemit to get youtubers on steemit and this MONEY LOOP that i described to my SEO marketing friend @lionspaw of deviatemedia is that What other website has users running around PAYING out of their OWN pockets to run steemit ad campaigns on youtube and facebook with adsense and fuckin reddit users dont go spend their own money onreddit ad campaigns!! but steemit users do! and i use you as the example @jerrybanfield hey man please check my recent posts i upvoted all of yursand pleae interview me inur next video for youtube about steemit! ill do alll the work just lemme talk to u about crazy cool steemit ideas for the future to ur followers!

@jerrybanfield nice story and dont worry bro i will laugh 😂😂😂😁

Wow - you just won a new interested follower. Very nicely written post and such an inspiring parable. Thank you for sharing! I travel in Zen.

great content

well written your on a great path - i love buddhism and Zen is a impactful way to contemplate especially with the use of koan. i am in AA and also sub you on youtube - love n light ,David

Great podcast and incredible content, big like from me.

Great post jerry !! :) thanx for sharing

Brother Jerry dropping some serious Zen like knowledge up in here. All of your posts are A+ content you deserve the recognition you are getting good sir.

I have 2 sayings that I'd like to share with you. Maybe you can make some shirts if you like them:

  • "Whatever works"
  • "Less is more"

Enter zen from here... ;)

"The past and the future are none of my business. My work, Zen, everything to do is here, right here right now." Thanks for helping us keep our heads together Jerry! You're a wellspring of useful content.


Very honest sharing over your situation while flying. I admit it's not the sort of thing I would be comfortable in sharing with a lot of people.

Was already following you on Youtube (because of two videos about crypto currencies) and wasn't aware that you also have a podcast. Now I'm following you here as well.

I enjoy this type of content and would appreciate more like this.

Can't remember the last time i've read so much stuff lol.
Inhaalee, exhaaale, ommmnnm

I'm just thinking about the meaning of sentence on the T-shirt. I do believed it has been a deep meaning for guys whos do contemplation.

This is such a powerful article with a great message. Many times in life, we focus on the small things, when in reality, we need to focus on the bigger picture. We need to be in the present moment and appreciate what we have. Everyone can enter Zen, it's not a special power, it's a state of mind. Focus on the positives of life and never take anything for granted. Change your perspective and it will change your life :)

I agree.. a deep post.. thought provoking 😊

Awesome post @jerrybanfield. We follow you on FB and watched your videos on Youtube. Now, on Steemit. Thanks for sharing such open stories here.

thank u so much tips love it many thanks

Beautiful post, thanks for this. I remember when I used to think I'll be happy when... and missing the joy of the present moment. It's such a gift to be able to learn what brings you bliss and enjoy it right here and right now even if it's not "perfect".

love it! everyone look to follow his podcast!

TLDR anyone :D ?

Awesome post @jerrybanfield. Love how you go about writing your content. Very inspirational.

Very good post, i love when you said in a yt video, Jerry none of these posts are short-_-
Love, from sweden

Enter Zen From There - great motto for life in general....if only they had that printed on a T-shirt somewhere ;) I especially enjoyed that parable because it immediately conjured up an image in my head of Mr. Myagi and a slightly more annoying version of Ash Ketchum from Pokemon.

Definitely, Enter Zen From There would have been a great way to calm yourself down on that flight but I totally understood - I used to be uncomfortable too flying when I was much younger but now that my job requires me to travel almost every week, I've gotten so used to it that I can usually last the entire flight by simply muttering "Serenity Now"....

Hey @jerry
You should visit India once to experience the purity of religion and to experience YOGA.
You'll surely enjoy it

My understanding of Zen is it simply means meditation. But I believe the word root comes from a very high level of meditation described as the experience of unification.

I can understand how talking about levels within meditation can make one feel as though an unnecessary hierarchy is introduced. However, the levels are simply another illusion that we might use to help our already-dividing-things mind.

Imagine how much that "OMG77" number plate is worth on that car.