My original face is playfulness

I have been swimming in Zen Buddhism since my days at university over 20 years ago. One of the Zen type questions is along the line of “What is your original face?”  Up until now I have struggled to understand the question and I have also struggled to answer the question.

Yesterday I was in the kitchen with my wife.  At that moment I had no worries, no concerns, no upsets, no desires, no ambition – in fact no thoughts at all.  Being in that state I found myself clowning around.  In the clowning around I felt totally at home, totally at peace, and joyful.  My wife noticed my lightness and my good naturedness.

This morning I have an answer to the Zen question of “What is your original face?”  My original face is playfulness – lighthearted playfulness.  I suspect that it is the same for my fellow human beings.  When we are present without thoughts of the past or thoughts of the future then we are light and playful, naturally.

The thought that occurs to me is that my wife and children have have felt the most affinity to me when I have been lighthearted and playful; I also like myself the most when I am being lighthearted and playful.

This may be why I enjoy spending time with toddlers:  they tend to call my original face into being.

Author: Maz Iqbal

Experienced management consultant working at the intersection of strategy, customer, and technology. Combine a tendency to think strategically with a penchant for getting my hands dirty at the coalface of implementation.

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