Relaxation means you don’t have any shoulds. You are simply living moment to moment, not according to some future idea of yourself, but according to your reality that is herenow.
A Zen story. A very curious king, wanting to know about what these people go on doing in the monasteries, asked, ”Who is the most famous Master?” Finding out that the most famous Master of those days was Nan-in, he went to his monastery. When he entered the monastery he found a woodcutter. He asked him, ”The monastery is big, where can I find Master Nan-in?”
The man thought with closed eyes for a few moments, and he said, ”Right now you cannot find him.”
The king said, ”Why can’t I find him right now? Do you understand that I am the emperor?”
He said, ”That is irrelevant. Whoever you are, that is your business, but I assure you you cannot find him right now.”
”Is he out?” asked the king.
”No, he is in,” replied the woodcutter.
The king said, ”But is he involved in some work, in some ceremony, or in isolation? What is the matter.”
The man said, ”He is right now cutting wood in front of you. And when I am cutting wood, I am just a woodcutter. Right now where is Master Nan-in? I am just a woodcutter. You will have to wait.”
The emperor thought, ”This man is mad, simply mad. Master Nan-in cutting wood?” He went ahead, and left the woodcutter behind. Nan-in again continued to cut wood. The winter was coming close, and wood had to be stored. The emperor could wait, but winter wouldn’t wait.
The emperor waited one hour, two hours – and then from the back door came Master Nan-in, in his Master’s robe. The king looked at him. He looked like the woodcutter, but the king bowed down. The Master sat there, and he asked, ”Why have you taken so much trouble to come here?”
The king said, ”There are many things, but those questions I will ask later on. First I want to know: are you the same man who was cutting wood?”
He said, ”Now I am Master Nan-in. I am not the same man; the total configuration has changed. Now here I am sitting as Master Nan-in. You ask as a disciple, with humbleness, receptivity. Yes, a man very, very similar to me was cutting wood there, but that was a woodcutter. His name is also Nan-In.”
The king got so puzzled that he left without asking the questions he had come to ask. When he went back to his court, his advisers asked what happened. He said, ”What happened it is better to forget about. This Master Nan-In seems to be absolutely insane! He was cutting wood; he said, ‘I am a woodcutter and Master Nan-In is not available right now.’ Then the same man came in a Master’s robe and I asked him, and he said, ‘A similar man was cutting the wood, but he was the woodcutter; I am the Master.’”
One of the men in the court said, ”You have missed the point of what he was trying to say to you – that when cutting wood he is totally involved in it. Nothing is left which can claim to be Master Nan-In; nothing is left out, he is just a woodcutter.”
And in Zen language, which is difficult to translate, he was saying not exactly that ”I am a woodcutter,” he was saying, ”Right now it is wood cutting not a woodcutter – because there is not even space for the cutter.” It is simply wood being chopped, and he is so totally in it, it is only wood cutting: wood cutting is happening. And when he comes as a Master, of course, it is a different configuration. The same parts are now in a different accord. So with each action you are a different person, if you get totally involved in it.
Excerpted From Ignorance To Innocence CH: 23
Take each moment and squeeze the whole juice of it. You will be so fulfilled, so contented that each of your act will be sheer creativity.