The Zen Date: The Impermanent Relationship

First and last date: Venice, CA.

I am going out to sea for 2 months tomorrow….” Color me happy – the most musical words a commitment-phobe like myself could have heard on a first and clearly last date. We met at a bar, he asked me out, we were quite different, and yet he was a breath of fresh air, living an authentic, full and free life. This was going to be an experiment in Zen dating with an existential top note.

Like it or not, in that first interaction, on that first date, we are all guilty of envisioning what a life might look like with this person, and we start silently constructing expectations around that person (Will he text me? Why doesn’t he have better manners? Is this artist thing really going to work out for him? When will I see him again? What about that ex-girlfriend he keeps mentioning?). Those expectations often force our mind out of the beautiful present moment into some illusory future that does not and may never yet exist.

The Zen date was an entirely different experience – he was going out to sea, a morning after text would be pointless, and even contemplating a long distance relationship with someone whose location is based on GPS coordinates rather than a street address seemed farcial. I looked at him and said that we had a hell of an opportunity to just stay in the moment and eschew all expectations – to have what I termed “The Zen Date”. So we stayed in the moment, we ate tapas, drank wine, talked about nothing – northern lights, moon phases, the colors of beets, the surf in Bali – basically whatever crossed our minds at the moment.

We took a walk, stole some kisses, laughed. No talk of second dates, no discussion of restaurants to still try. Just stayed in the moment. And at the end of the evening, as the Zen date came to a close, we said good night and thank you.

It reminded me of watching Buddhist monks create sand paintings – intricate mandalas and designs- sometimes weeks of work. They are created to be destroyed, and with one flick of a broom, the beauty turns into a pile of colored sand. The design was no less beautiful for being destroyed. The date was no less beautiful for not leading to more, no rancor about a lack of follow-up texts, no hand-wringing about whether he was “in” to me. That night he was. Anything else was not worth exploring.

Perhaps all dates should be Zen dates – and don’t always require one member of the duo to be heading off to sea. It was wonderful, because there was no past, and there was no future. It was relaxed, and I was free to be myself, as was he. By jettisoning the expectations, many more gifts came to me that night. And if every date was treated like it was to be the last one, every kiss a farewell – then there is so much beauty to be found in the ordinary.

As expected, I didn’t hear from him, nor did he hear from me. I will remember him when I walk down Abbot Kinney, and I hope that anytime my Zen date sees the Northern Lights from the deck of his boat, he remembers me and a chilly night in Venice.


This entry was posted on Saturday, May 29th, 2010 at 12:19 pm and is filed under Health and Wellness, Relationships and Sex. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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