A wide spot in my imagination.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Welcome to Zen, Texas

Welcome to Zen, Texas. Population 1. And those of you who drive by.

It's not really a town, it's just a wide spot in my imagination. Few sights to see, no conveniences to speak of, and no Chamber of Commerce billboard to greet you on the outskirts of town.

No one's real sure how the town got its name. Some folks seem to recall that a group of Moravians settled here and named it for their old dead hero, Nicholas Ludwig Zinzendorf, he of ecclectic theology, simple-living, and such. But the Moravians were pacifists. And pacifism don't play well in Texas. So, surely no self-respecting Texas town is named for him.

Maybe the town's named for another religious approach from another continent, Zen, the form of Buddhism that favors meditaton, direct knowledge (as opposed to theoretical), and experiential realization.

What if the town is named for both? Or what if Zinzendorf became a Buddhist? Or if the Buddha was later a Moravian? What is Moravian piety met and married Buddhist meditation? What if that's the kind of thing that happens here in Zen, Texas?

Anyway, we're glad you're here. Stop and sit a spell. Or if you're just passing through, come again.


  1. Your works in strange, mysterious, and entertaining ways.

  2. Tim -
    I'm not sure whether Zen, Texas is located in a mountainous region, but just in case, here's some Zen climbing advice for your visitors:
    "Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion. Then, when you're no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn't just a means to an end but a unique event in itself. This leaf has jagged edges. This rock looks loose. From this place the snow is less visible, even though closer. These are things you should notice anyway. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It's the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here's where things grow." -Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)