I used to not know what zen meant. I thought zen practitioners were either overmedicated or spending $50 to lie on the floor and listen to a skinny old white man mumble the same syllable for an hour. But I’m starting to figure it out. When I engage in doing the things I love, I feel peace washing over me. I think zen is being able to access all thoughts and feelings without being gutted by any of them.
In other words, it’s living in the present.
I did nothing magnificent. I went to the café and read a book (Double Indemnity) over gazpacho and an iced latte. Then I found out that someone’s probably interested in a feature piece I’ve been pushing for six months. I got on my computer immediately and edited my draft so it might deliver a more nuanced message that gets my point across without beating anyone over the head with it.
It’ll be a small triumph if I get this published. Not a grand novel or anything. But I’m working up to that step by step. I have a little more faith in my own competence when I take successes as they come.
As for reading? It’s like meditation. You can absorb yourself in an entirely different world that has nothing to do with you or your problems. I was too mired in my own depression to even finish a novel for over a year. But I actually feel my focus coming back.
I’m not saying I’ve got it all figured out. Frankly, I’ve been in rough shape lately. Sustaining a single mood for a day is a feat for me. The fact that I did it today is a good sign of things to come.
I can’t stress enough that autistic people should take pride in our special interests. They really do make us feel whole. But that goes for anybody. Let yourself do the things you love as much as you can and you won’t have as much mental space to be filled up by dread. Also, maybe think about projects you can work on that would bring value to others. I really hope my writing does that for a couple of people.
*Image from fcsok.org