The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Zen Hours Contract


Occasionally our poor eyesight, let’s say when reading something without our spectacles, can make us believe we have read some words that invite us to marvel at what that might just be.

Thus it was this morning when my blurred perception of “Zero hours contract” was consciously translated into Zen Hours Contract. I did a double-take, my mind jerked into contemplative mode and I began to wonder what such a contract might entail. Of course, all the while my mind was wandering down that contemplative pathway, I was also chuckling at the sensual ‘Doppler Shift’ caused by my eyes seeing some different words.


Now, according to Wikipedia, the Doppler effect (or Doppler shift) is the change in frequency of a wave (or other periodic event) for an observer moving relative to its source (or the source moving relative to the observer). It is named after the Austrian physicist Christian Doppler, who proposed it in 1842.
In terms of our modern everyday experience, when the sound of a fire engine, police car or ambulance siren changes as it goes past us, there is a change in the frequency of the emitted sound waves – relative to us. If we are INSIDE the source - fire engine, police car or ambulance - the wavelength of sound of the siren or engine stays what it is, i.e. constant. Yet if we are OUTSIDE the source, what we hear differs before it arrives and after it goes past.

Now, consider for a moment, the idea that our minds can also be on certain “wavelengths”. We’ll use such a word in a metaphorical sense to describe particular “trains of thought”, certain “mindsets”, or some other such perspectives – if you get my drift!

Here again, and in the manner of the Doppler effect, if we are totally on the same wavelength as another person - in rapport so to speak – then the meaning of their communication is totally understood by us, and vice versa. We are in the same “source vehicle” and singing from the same “hymn sheet”. However, when we’re not in that state of mutual understanding, we’ll hear what they say but interpret it as something completely different RELATIVE to what OUR position is.

Opening and closing the Mind

Right now I am again chuckling, rather in the same way as I was when I was amused by believing I had read “Zen Hours Contract” earlier today – only to be fooled by my sensual Wavelength Shift.

Of course these shifts are happening to all of us all the time. Yet because we are so firmly bound up with our own interpretation of what we believe is Reality, we are constantly fooling ourselves.

Okay I spotted almost straight away that my eyes had deceived me with the “Zen Hours Contract”, yet there are far too many other instances when it takes much, much longer for us to spot the fooling effects of our mental wavelengths. The saving grace is that every time we DO spot that we are being fooled, or are fooling ourselves, we are re-opening our Mind.

Our Minds narrow and close through the reliance we place upon our perceptive filters and our beliefs to serve us with a sense of Reality. We use our thinking and our language to support this reliance – for they are the vehicles which convey meaning.

“What do you think this means?”
“Well, I’ll tell you what I think it means.”

The only truth about our thinking is that we all believe our thinking far too much. We place too much reliance on it, and bolster that reliance with the language we use to ourselves.

The phrase “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” contains a rather large piece of linguistic pre-supposition. It presupposes that a lot of knowledge is a thing of security, and it points us towards the phrase “safe in the knowledge of....“

Within these small and almost insignificant phrases, our language fools us, hoodwinks us, into believing something is there when it isn’t – in the manner of my “Zen Hours Contract.”

Practice Makes Perfect” is another one of those loaded phrases that allows us to infer that we will reach perfection through endless practice. Of course anyone who has gone down the route of that kind of “Endless Hours Contract,” arrives at a destination that informs them otherwise. Through practice they have certainly become better at what they have been repeatedly practicing. Sadly, however, they haven’t become perfect at it. They are still flawed.
They would have become better more quickly and more comprehensively had they chosen to engage in “Perfect Practice”. Mind you, “Perfect Practice” is a vague and nebulous model – a concept that might invite us to fulfil it through signing up to a “Zen Hours Contract”.

The Zen Hours Contract

So what is it – this metaphor fashioned from my involuntary piece of mental hoodwinking?
Is it just an amusing play on words, a linguistic artefact, or might it perhaps be something more actual, or more relevant? Maybe it is the means of spending some time in open-minded contemplation, following the power of intuitive thought to some possible conclusions?

Consider our mental wavelength when we pause to observe the world, or to meditate or contemplate – when we are a non-moving source. When we do this, we make it possible to notice the many wavelengths of thought in the rest of the world as it rushes past us. We open our minds to the infinite possibilities.

When we are caught up in the hurly-burly of that rushing world however, we notice or make sense of just our own wavelength and those others also “on our wavelength”. We struggle to notice or make sense of anything else. We conflict with those not on our wavelength. We close our minds around a finite number of possibilities.

A Zen Hours Contract, or signing our self up to opening our minds to noticing the infinite number of wavelengths around us, places us on a pathway towards understanding the answer to that most crucial of questions - What am I? We find ourselves on the unwinding pathway where the manner of the journey is far more important than the nature of the destination.

“The fish trap exists because of the fish.
Once you've gotten the fish you can forget the trap.
The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit.
Once you've gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare.
Words exist because of meaning.
Once you've gotten the meaning, you can forget the words.
Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?”