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  • Writer's picturebobholmes1

I Found Jesus In Zen

I Found Jesus In Zen

I was burned so badly by the insufferable legalism of Christian Fundamentalism and the Charismatic Prosperity Gospel for 40 years, I left the Church for good and went into Zen. I had no intention of ever darkening the door of a church again. I was done!

So what changed? I went whole hog into Zen. I was doing a Zen spiritual practice called Great Doubt. Now I was trained that everything depended on my Belief. I was to learn better.

Deep Doubt

The practice goes something like this: You go into a meditative state, like mindfulness, and deconstruct everything. You doubt everything, without and within. You doubt yourself. You doubt your beliefs and everything you’ve been taught. You doubt your doubts. Then, stripped of everything, you step off into the unknown, sort of like into the Cloud of Unknowing. The visual is a Zen monk stepping off a hundred-foot cliff into the air.

So I entered into a meditative state and began the process, of deconstructing through doubt. As all my efforts had failed me, the stripping away went pretty quickly. The last one, which released everything else, was the hardest. It was my belief in God, or that there ever was a god. That broke the dam and released everything else. I had nothing left. I and I use the term ‘I’ loosely, stepping out into the vast cloud of eternity.

There In The Stillness

As I dwelled there, the clouds began swirling beneath and around me. Emptied of all there ever was, only the eternal present surrounding me.

It was then I saw it, like two laughing eyes coming at me through the fog.

The clouds swept apart as the presence of all eternity approached. It was Jesus, with a laughing smile, welcoming an old friend. He embraced me in an all-encompassing bear hug of total acceptance and love. I was soaking in the presence of God.

Startled, awestruck, and bewildered, I didn’t know what to think. I was dripping with peace as the tears rolled off my face. Was it real? For me, it doesn’t matter. It’s eternal. Jesus loves me intimately, no matter what, period.

In My Awareness

So now I get St Francis and so many of the other Christian mystics. I get their relationship with Jesus. It all makes perfect sense to me now. It’s not the usual ‘outside looking in’ approach our theological studies make. It’s dwelling with Jesus looking out.

So I found Jesus in Zen or better yet He found me. It's good to note that God is always Faithful no matter what. Even if we make our bed in hell, God is there. We have but to turn around and look.


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Nov 16, 2022

My experience was similar in some ways. One morning I decided that I didn't believe in God. I kept that thought with me on the way to work that morning and pretty much throughout the day arguing in my head whether I really did or didn't believe in God. On the way home from work that evening I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. Then and there I decided that I believed. There could no longer be any doubt. Though I have to admit that my search for the meaning has continued for the thirty years which have followed.

In the years prior to this experience I had read books by Alan Watts, Thomas Merton,…


Nov 13, 2022

Thanks for delivering what I need today. I am not far behind you. —Janet

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