Tag Archives: decisions and zen

“Not knowing is most intimate,” also, it can feel quite uncomfortable.

Dizang asked Fayan, “Where are you going?”
Fayan said, “Around on pilgrimage.”
Dizang said, “What is the purpose of pilgrimage?”
Fayan said, “I don’t know.”                                                                                                           Dizang said, “Not knowing is most intimate.”                                                                                    ( with thanks to Norman Fischer )

Two and a half weeks ago I was told I needed a new furnace, the sooner the better. Our present furnace ( at our home ) evidently has a cracked heat exchanger and is leaking CO into our house at a rate that is not exactly dangerous, especially if we don’t use it at night, but, since the cracking could expand, it could become dangerous at any time. I fully expected to have it replaced at least a week ago, but, I don’t know. I don’t know what furnace to choose or what furnace contractor to trust, and furnaces are expensive ! somewhere between $3500 and $4500 for our 1800 square foot home.

I had a furnace contractor that I trusted, until I had his company upgrade one of our duct systems. At that point in time their incompetence became obvious. Consequently, I am getting conflicting advice from two contractors I don’t know. When we practice meditation while dealing with an issue like this we notice how much thinking surrounds it, and usually there is fear of making the wrong decision. When we stop thinking we experience the bodily tension that comes with these thoughts – and it can feel quite threatening and uncomfortable. However, if we can remember what old Dizang said back about the year 880 CE, we might try out letting the discomfort just be there without trying to fiddle with it. I have found this approach to decision making quite valuable. We often have an insight into our situation that would not come through speculation and worrying.

This morning there was an experience that illustrates this. During sitting, while just experiencing the tension in the body, two things popped up. 1) my good friend Patricia from the Zen Center of Portland had her furnace replaced a couple years ago, and 2) we do a lot of our heating with the gas fireplace in our living room.  Hearing from Patricia on the subject may help a lot, and the more expensive furnace will not benefit us as much if it’s turned off half the time !