Our suffering only exists in the present moment. We worry that in the future we’ll be old, we’ll be sick, and we’ll die. But those things aren’t real. We have to cut off the heads of those things because they are demons that cause us to lose the present moment and lose our life.
— Thich Nhat Hanh, commenting on Master Linji’s discourse. Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Go.
The expression “losing your life” means something different to zen masters than it does to most. People stuck in day-to-day life, living as if sleepwalking, might be referred to as corpses walking slowly toward their graves.
If “losing your life” has absolutely nothing to do with physically dying, then what must it mean to be alive?