“We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
It’s the start of a journey that I hope to accomplish. I was introduced to the concept of Zen decades ago, but the importance of it was revealed to me about five to six years ago when I re-started my practice of Buddhism. In this post, I will talk about my experience about the beginner’s guide to Zen living.
I’m a firm believer that we all hold a certain intuitive wisdom within each of us. And I also believe that it is this wisdom that has the power (if we choose) to usher in greater peace and harmony in our lives.
No, you’ll not find me donning the white robes because I don’t inspire to become a monk (which is associated with owning the Zen), but I am certainly inspired by the way they imbibe the elements of intuition, calm, peace, focus, simplicity, concentration and mindfulness in their lives.
The Beginner’s Guide to Zen Living
There is no right or wrong way to the beginner’s guide to Zen living. It is all about what we choose and aspire to be.
Here are some easy ways to usher in the Zen in your life.
Do one thing at a time
In the world where we believe that multi-tasking is the key to life, cramming in a zillion to-do lists and, take a step back and slow down. Follow the rule of doing one thing at a time. And when you do it, do it with your complete focus. If you are watering the plants, water them. Eating a meal, focus on the food, stop the mindless scrolling and focus on the food! Zen proverb: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”
Developing a ritual is akin to developing a habit. They say that if its important enough to have a ritual, it’s important enough to be given your entire attention, and to be done slowly and correctly. Work your pace through it. You don’t need to rush it up and get it right the first time. None of us are perfect. For me the most important ritual of the day is when I wake up. I don’t hop out of the bed immediately. Instead, I take a couple of breaths and focus on things going around me and soak into it before I wake up and start my day!
This year I have planned to go digital free once a week. Needless to say its going to be a Sunday, a day when I am more or less switched off from work. But yes, once in a while I do give in to the wi-fi connection and quickly check in mails. Did you ever realise that many a times when you are feeling too disconnected, it is probably because you are too connected to technology? Yes, stop succumbing to the one last check on what everyone is up to on Facebook or refreshing the inbox. If starting with once a week is daunting for you, try disconnecting from the wi-fi world when you are asleep. Take that plunge and see how it helps!
Spend time in nature
Even if you are not the nature person, try connecting yourself with the nature. A long walk in the park, a run or just get your fingers green by planting something in your garden. Grow a veggie patch or some of your favourite flowers. Being connected with the nature helps you feel grounded. There is something comforting about being in the nature, inhaling those natural fragrances, connecting with the earth and growing things.
Zen with your thoughts
My mind can be a complete mess at times. With so many thoughts running helter-skelter it sometimes is a wonder how I manage to get things done. That is when I journal. What can you journal? Affirmations, list your gratitude or anything that you are thankful for. Look up these beautiful books by Louise L Hay, she has some really powerful affirmations written down that can help you in various ways of your life.
Try free writing your thoughts and let go of things that no longer serves a purpose, you will be amazed to see how liberating it is. Don’t aim at perfect writing, just write what comes to your mind. List at least 5 things that make you happy and you are grateful for everyday.
These are super simple, yet effective ways to ushering in the beginner’s guide to Zen living. Do you have any simple practices that often make your life easier? Share in the comments.