I've been thinking a lot about Zen again lately. My mind continually comes back to it again and again. I've realized that I don't care much for the westernized-makes-you-a-better-bowler-or-actor-or-whatever zen. There is something real there. Deep down. Deep inside of ourselves, really. A lot of people seem to make Zen out to be about some kind of self-improvement. I feel that Zen is a much bigger mystery than that (as much of a beginner as I still am). Actual realization is something we come by so very rarely in life. Of course realization can make you a better person, but that self-improvement shouldn't be the main focus. Search for enlightenment. Crave it. Seek it out like nothing else. It may seem selfish to just care about your own enlightenment, but once it is achieved, think how much you'll be able to benefit others in their search! Maybe it is selfish at times, but even Buddha spoke of "skill-in-means", if you are to break the precepts, but it aids the path to enlightenment, all is for the best.
I've also been thinking about koans, those riddles that seem to frustrate people to no end. Personally, I love koans, I love farming that sense of cognitive dissonance. If you just sit back on the couch and think about it and focus on the koan, it doesn't make sense. Of course it doesn't make sense! It isn't supposed to make sense. It pulls your mind in so many different directions it almost snaps. And it should snap. That's what we're all going for, the snap. When you turn into an old bearded lunatic living alone in the mountains, speaking in riddles and laughing wildly at the sight of a butterfly.