A funny thought came to mind while I was dicing an onion a few days ago, nothing. That's right, completely empty head. Some of you may be thinking, "What's so new about that?", but you'd be wrong. For the time it took for me to dice that Vidalia into tiny cubes I was totally living in the moment and the noisy internal dialog was turned off. A total Zen state.
This started off the seemingly contradictory activity of thinking about not thinking. I noticed that when I am in the process of cooking, my mind does not wander off on little side trips. It stays right were it should be while I slice, dice, and make great juileanne fries. This is basically the core of Zen philosphy, living in the moment and quieting the mind. In Zen, this is taught through zazen, sitting meditation, or one of the Zen arts such as flower arranging or archery.
Zen is also famous for using seemingly unanswerable riddles, called koans, to break the mind out of its normal way of thinking. The most famous one of these is "What is the sound of one hand clapping?". I think a new koan needs to be added to the cannon. What is the sound of one hand dicing?