Soen Roshi, former abbot of Ryutakaji monastery in Japan and great twentieth-century Zen Master, used to say that when most of us want to see beauty in a room, we bring in fancy paintings, furniture, precious objects. In Zen, when you want to see beauty in a room, you take everything out, one thing after another. When the room is empty, you can see its original nature. Its beauty shines by itself.

In Zen practice you do the same. You take everything out of your life that causes clutter, static, confusion, and greed. You take out plush furniture and people to lean on. As you do this, you naturally find your own inner balance and strength.

Brenda Shoshanna, Jewish Dharma