One reader of Zan on Zen found that he had the ideal scenario for applying the red/green filter model.
When Peter was five years old he was struck by a car and underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain. After coming round from a month-long coma, he had to learn to walk and talk all over again, and, for a few years following this incident, he found that rapid movement would result in dizziness and nausea. Not surprisingly, as he grew up, he avoided games such as soccer, and the normal rough and tumble activities of his contemporaries. This led to Peter’s developing into a deep thinker with a propensity for doing well at school. Overall, he was a happy little boy, within a loving, secure family.
Upon reaching high-school however, he found that playing sports was not a choice. Since he had never developed the skills or flexibility required, the result was humiliation, both at the hands of the students and the instructor. Inevitably, this led to a loss of confidence and, as is usually the case, a period of depression.
During his college years Peter continued to be shy and reclusive, and often wondered what his life would have been like if he had not suffered the car accident. Convinced that his nervous disposition was also the result of his childhood accident, he came to believe that he had been cheated by fate, and had been denied the opportunity to develop to his true potential.
No doubt as a result of his inwardness, Peter exhibited a keen interest in the spiritual mysteries which seemed to permeate life. From his late teens onwards, he studied eastern philosophies and other spiritual writings, gaining immense satisfaction and peace of mind from what he learned. To a great extent, this mitigated his feelings of having been cheated by fate.
Upon trying the exercises in Zan on Zen however, he found that these feelings, far from being merely mitigated, could be completely eliminated. Being no newcomer to meditation, he performed the relaxation exercise to its intended purpose, bringing on a sense of peace and tranquility, physically and mentally.
While in this state, he focused on the possible benefits of having grown up exhibiting a lack of coordination, flexibility and reflexes, and thereby developing inward tendencies. First among these were his intellectual achievements. To his knowledge, he was the only youth in his neighborhood to attend college and pursue a professional career. His education had opened up great opportunities and he had traveled throughout the world as a result. He considered it unlikely that this would have transpired, had he not grown up a little “different” from his contemporaries, in that he was very introspective. He could vividly remember sitting on the benches during basketball games, since he was never picked to play during PE, and contemplating the meaning of the previous lesson, physics. These mental dalliances into the world of physics grew in frequency, inside and outside the gym hall, and resulted in his exceling in the subject, going on to pursue a rewarding career in engineering.
Another result of his introspective nature was his interest in spiritual development, an interest which had led him to the exercises described in Zan on Zen. This was a part of his life with which he would definitely not be willing to part, no matter the rewards offered.
While performing the exercise described in chapter 10, Peter focused on the fact that his accident had led to his obtaining a rewarding education and pursuing a career that had facilitated his leading an adventurous and interesting life. As directed in the exercise, he visualized the energy in his body illuminating a green laser, which transmitted positive thoughts to the thought cloud. He accompanied this with a feeling of deep gratitude and focused on the fact that his accident had accorded him such a rewarding and satisfying life. Never before in his life had he entertained this outlandish thought, and it required an effort of will to maintain his focus on it. Nonetheless he persisted, and experienced a feeling of joy as old bitterness and resentment was released.
After that first encounter with this method, Peter resolved to engage in this activity daily, entertaining this newfound sense of gratitude towards his unfortunate accident. Having heard that it takes 21 days for new habits to become ingrained, he set this as his minimum target.
Expecting that the process would “kick in” around the 21-day mark, Peter was astonished to find that there was an almost immediate effect. By focusing on gratitude for his education and career, as well as international travel, while doing the relaxation exercises and visualizing the green laser, he would enter a powerful state of well-being. This new thought pattern remained after he came out of the meditative state.