Have I found Zen?
Now more than ever my life is full of Zen, but there are moments where it hides from me. I will meditate every day for 2 weeks, a month and then skip a day. Or I’ll snap at my husband, take something personally when I know better, or other missteps. Making life changes is a process and finding that sweet spot of inner peace and a calm life takes practice. We stumble, learn, grow and expand. Zen is difficult to wrap your mind around and is not easily explained, there are contemporary and traditional meanings of what Zen is. This quick article: What is Zen? by Dogen Zenji explains some of what I’m talking about in this post.
Last weekend we went to my Niece’s wedding and spent a couple of days at a friend’s lakeside cabin retreat, kayaking, laughing, talking. I even learned how to paddle board! In the morning I awoke to a beautiful day and, with tea in hand, walked down to the dock to meditate. I usually meditate with my eyes closed but this time I just lowered them and focused on the water. The lake became like liquid silk and I could see two sets of currents one on top of the other running in opposite directions. It was an amazing, beautiful experience. While I was sitting on the dock, my husband told our hosts how important meditation had become to me and he could tell when I missed a day. I can tell too and feel like I missed something special in my day when I don’t sit on my cushion & meditate. Meditation starts me off with calmness and inner peace that usually carries through the whole day. I mediate once a day in the morning, for about 20 minutes, more or less. 20 minutes is not a magic number, any time sitting quietly is worthwhile!
When I have inner peace and am true to my authentic self, there is no better feeling and I want it all the time. Some people have fully evolved like the Dalai Lama, Pema Chodron, DeePak Chopra and others, but not without their own struggles and years of effort. Patience and kindness with ourselves and others as we strive to live the life we want and deserve is necessary. DeePak said “my intention holds the key to fulfillment.” With intention focused on improving our life, this is a little corny but, it is like a caterpillar emerging from her cocoon to become a beautiful butterfly.
As I’ve gone through this journey from heartbreak to healing, here are a few of the things that helped me find a little Zen along the way and I hope may help you too:
- Meditation – Of course number one! So big, but for now, no need to say more than I have above and in almost all my previous posts!
- Time to Recharge/Connect to Nature – I’ve also talked a lot about these. If it’s sitting in your favorite coffee shop to relax or taking a walk around the block…take…the…time for you, just you. It’s like putting the oxygen mask on yourself before little ones, you can’t be there for others if you are not there for yourself first.
- Don’t Let Your Ego Run Your Life – Egos think too much about winning and losing and end up missing most of the pure joy in life. Those evolved people I mentioned above put their egos aside and are fueled by their true selves. Egos can get us into trouble! One definition of ego is “a persons self-esteem or self-importance”, another is “egotism and conceit.” The article Ego, Self & Non-self in Buddhism by Angelus Traductor can give you a bit more information of the idea of the ego in this context and how it can get in your way.
- Trust in the Universe – It may not happen in the time or way you want but, I believe, if you are open, the universe will take care of you. It has for me even though after some experiences I’ve thought, “really, this is what you’re giving me!?!” But each hurdle has made me stronger, more centered and confident. Trusting the universe isn’t passive, you need to be involved by taking steps to live an honest life. Your “universe” could be configured differently from mine but we are all connected. Tragedy happens, it is part of life and we need to take extra good care of ourselves and take the time to grieve. And we survive, eventually getting back to our fullest, best possible life.
My search for Zen will be life-long. I have found a certain level of Zen, maybe one of the lower levels, but Zen is now in my life. Every day I learn more, expand, bounce back after set-backs to begin again, refreshed and thrilled to be right here, in this moment. I would love to hear how you add Zen to your life and what does or doesn’t work for you. You can “Leave a Reply” below or confidentially send me an email from the “Contact” button at the top of the page.
Next up…Learning to Trust Again (working title)
Till next time…
Peace & Love,