Usually when people talk to each other, they speak from some assumed role – either as a parent, or as a manager or employee, or fellow citizen or netizen or as a Hindu or Christian or Indian or American. But rarely do people talk to each other as one human to another – as members of the same species.
Now, I am talking to you as one human to another. I also have 2 eyes, 2 ears, heart, brain, bones, muscles and skin. I also have thoughts, desires, likes and dislikes. I am trying to bring your attention to the sameness between us and not the differences.
As humans, we are in the same boat. We are born, we grow up, we do things, and we die someday. I don’t think there is any human being who does not go through this process. During our life we face many problems, many hurdles, many challenges. At any point of time, we are certainly working on overcoming some problem or another. It could be as simple as trying to figure out how to change the wallpaper on your mobile phone or as complex as trying to slow the spread of Covid-19 in Mumbai.
To solve any problem, you need to have an approach for problem solving. If you don’t you will stay stuck in that problem for ever. To know how to change the wallpaper on your mobile phone, you need to get your hands on the knowledge that it can be done through the settings. For more complex problems, it is not easy to find a solution. You may try many things but none of them may work as you expected.
Let me illustrate with an example. Imagine you are lost in a big forest. How will you find your way out? You may go in all directions for a 100 meters or 1000 meters. But it is a large forest and you are not finding you way out. You have no map or compass with you. How will you decide which direction to move?
Are You Feeling Lost in This Forest?
Many people after trying for a long time without getting anywhere decide to make the forest their home. They settle in it. Soon they have children and while growing up these children ask many questions about the forest and and what is there in different directions. But these people tell them there is nothing out there. They also discourage the natural inquisitiveness of these children by asking them not to venture out far.
But once in a while, someone hits upon the idea of climbing a tree. And to his immense surprise, he sees hills, and mountains and rivers and the sky and the sun and the moon and the stars. He is bound to be speechless with this discovery and even when he tries to communicate his discovery to others, they do not pay attention because now they have many things to take care of in the forest – like running the economy, voting in the elections, commenting on the politics, watching news on the TV, working to earn their livelihood, etc. They have no time to climb a tree and look beyond their small place in the forest.
Climbing a tree and seeing the view is what I am calling seeing the big picture. When you have seen the big picture, you can decide to go somewhere you have never been before because you have the stars to guide you. And even if you decide not to go anywhere, your approach to life in the forest would have changed permanently.
The Big Picture is accessible to anyone and everyone, even You. The tree is you yourself. Climbing a tree is knowing oneself using one's natural curiosity to explore about the world and one's place in the world. And Zen is a message from someone who has climbed the tree and come down to tell you about it.
That’s what Big Picture Zen is all about!