If you sit next to your date you can hold hands

When I was meditating this morning I remembered going on a first date with a girl in high school. We went to a nice restaurant — it had tablecloths and silverware — I don’t currently remember the name of, and sat across from each other at a small, round table.

After a very short while a young boy came up to us and asked, “Are you on a first date?”

My date and I looked at him and said, “Yes, we are.” I started to look around to see where the boy came from, but I couldn’t figure that out.

“It’s okay if you sit closer to each other,” he said.

“Really,” we replied, looking at each other and smiling with surprise.

So I got up and moved my chair around the table until my date and I sat next to each other. “Is that good,” I asked.

“Much better,” he said. “This way you can hold hands.” And then he left.

Trying to understand where the universe comes from

My method for trying to understand this fundamental essence – the presence of “something bigger” than me – was to examine intellectually all the reasons I could think of for the universe to exist and to try to envision what had “existed” before the universe came into being.

On the one hand, if there was nothing before creation, how could the “something” of the universe come from “nothing”? On the other hand, if there was something before the creation of the world, it must have always existed, without beginning. But how could “something” have no starting point, no first moment?

I was frustrated by these questions, and by not being able to envision the timelessness that went with “no beginning.” As a boy, I was continually preoccupied by such attempts to explain the world rationally. I was unable to recognize or accept the limitation of my logical mind, its inability to understand the nature of life beyond concepts of solid objects and linear time.

(I had these same thoughts back in high school, but these words are from the book, “Zen at Work.”)