Zen living, in the broad sense, has been described as an antidote to the issues we face within modern society. It combats a contrived and artificial lifestyle with that of a disciplined life of simplicity and naturalness, replaces a self-centred and aggressive mindset with a compassionate one with a concern for others. To deliver a life of harmony in keeping with the natural order of things, rather than struggle and conflict.
No matter what your religious beliefs or standing in life there are always ways to improve your quality of daily living from within. We are not suggesting you become a Buddhist or Zen monk but to find inspiration from their ways and take on the spirit of Zen can be life changing and inspiring. To reach a higher level of concentration, tranquility and mindfulness, to be present in everything you do, to be dedicated and to serve others, to smile, breathe and go slowly. To live in harmony with the natural way of things, not creating friction. It is the art of ‘being’.
Who couldn’t appreciate a life where these are standard qualities?
Ways to achieve a more Zen lifestyle:
Manage your schedule
Single-task, don’t multi-task. Zen proverb: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” Focus solely on that one thing you are doing and do it slowly and deliberately. Take time, move slowly and focus on the task completely. Stay with this task until it is completed, don’t move on to the next thing. Make sure you don’t have an endless task list each day, have goals you can complete that day and complete them fully with care. Manage your schedule so that you can achieve this. Leave space between tasks in case one takes longer than expected, for example.
Ritual gives something a sense of importance — if it’s important enough to have a ritual, it’s important enough to be given your entire attention, and to be done slowly and correctly. Create your own rituals, for the preparation of food, for eating, for cleaning, for what you do before you start your work, for what you do when you wake up and before you go to bed, for what you do just before exercise. Anything you include in your daily life can attain its own ritual. Make specific times for these rituals or activities; a time for bathing, cleaning, eating, working, to ensure they get done regularly. Make space for them as important by designating a time for them.
Devote time to sitting
This meditation is really practice for learning to be present. You can devote time for sitting meditation, or use an alternative exercise in place of this as a way to practice being in the moment. You could use any activity in the same way, as long as you do it regularly and practice being present during.
Smile and serve others
Giving up your time to help other people teaches us humility, and ensures that our lives are not just for selfish ends. If you’re a parent or a partner, it’s likely you already spend at least some time in service to others in your household. Simply smiling and being kind to others can be a great way to improve the lives of those around you.
Make daily chores part of your meditation
If cooking and cleaning seem like boring chores to you, try doing them as a form of meditation. Put your entire mind into those tasks, concentrate, and do them slowly and completely. It could change your entire day (as well as leave you with a cleaner house).
There are many things in our lives that aren’t necessary. To be aware of what we really need in comparison to what we actually have is eye-opening. In a Zen monk’s life there is little that isn’t necessary. He has basic clothing, basic shelter, basic utensils, basic tools, and the most basic food. Most modern families have an abundance of unnecessary belongings and baggage that we carry as normal and could easily live without. To live simply is to rid your life of as many of the unnecessary and unessential things as you can, to make room for the essential which will vary for each individual. There is no law saying what should be essential for you — but you should consider what is most important to your life, and make room for that by eliminating the other less essential things in your life.
Reminder list for being more Zen (put it in your wallet!)
- Simplify your daily activities down to the essentials
- Do a mind cleanse
- Re-evaluate your dreams and goals
- Establish a daily routine for your life
- Establish a simple & convenient meditation practice (blend it in to everyday life)
- Identify resistance and remove it (lean in to your problems, don’t run from them)
- Become aware of dualistic thinking
- Live with the energy of mindfulness
- Do one thing and do it well
- Respect and Appreciate Life
Guide to Understanding Zen practice…
- To bring the mind back to its original state of clarity and purity
- To fear nothing but the failure to experience our true-nature
- To stay aware of our moving minds: to recognise their movement but not be distracted by it
- To realise the wholeness and interconnectedness of life
- To live and experience
- To emphasise an open awareness
- To expose our denial of true self and reveal our suffering due to attachment, judgement, and division
- To directly deal with the ‘right now’
- To concentrate on our usual everyday routine
- To live in harmony with the natural order of things and not be in constant conflict with it
- To become one with our surroundings
- To study and understand the true self
- To reclaim true life; realising our true vitality and energy which is totally connected with the whole world
- To realise that all things are nothing but expressions of ourselves
- To have direct contact with reality
- To keep a clear mind
- To learn the art of letting go, while paying attention
- To be totally conscious, but not caught on anything
- To continually be submitting, enduring, letting go, accepting and unlearning
Enrol with us and become a Holistic Therapist
We offer diploma-correspondent courses in Meditation and Mindfulness which entitles you to teach anywhere in the world! And the perfect compliment to these courses is our Yoga Course! Whatever you choose here with us at The School of Natural Health Sciences, you can be sure that your CV, spectrum of knowledge, and outlook on life will be forever enriched.