Monday, February 26, 2018

Live by Zen

Contemporary life is like a pressure cooker into which are dumped obsessive thoughts and worries about career, money, children, relationships, health, and social responsibilities. As a result, contemporary living is hectic and stressful. The human mind often becomes a victim of undue tension and distress.

Stress is a complex problem involving the body's response to increased mental tension, which is a byproduct of contemporary living. 

Learn to live by Zen. 

What is Zen, or the way of Zen?

Zen is a way of living, which is crucial to contemporary living. Zen is a philosophy of living to deal with stress. Make no mistake, Zen is not a religious belief. Despite having its origin from Buddha, Zen is not the foundation of Buddhism. Zen is only a philosophical approach to human happiness through intellectual cultivation.

The word “Zen” is Japanese, but it derives from the Chinese, meaning “meditation.” It is an Oriental mental practice for self-enlightenment. More specifically, Zen is a transcendental mental state that affects the overall physical and mental well-being of an individual. 

Zen cultivates intuitive knowing, which is naturally knowing the ultimate truth of living. According to the ancient philosopher Plato, life is a process of “forgetting” with episodes of experiences and happenings that can make you “forget” how to live. The way of Zen is to help you re-discover that innate wisdom of knowing the eternal truth of living. That re-discovery is “self-awakening,” which cannot be taught but can only be intuited through stillness of the mind attained in meditation. Through "self-enlightenment," you will be liberated from the shackles of memories of the past and worries of the future. 

The way of Zen is simple: live in the present. Unfortunately, most of us don't live in the present: we live in the past, rummaging through memories of both pleasant and unpleasant experiences, and then projecting them into the future, striving to repeat the pleasant ones and to avoid the unpleasant ones. That is how many of us live in the past and the future, but not in the present. In the process of picking and choosing, we create not only stress for ourselves but also problems that did not exist in the first place. Zen living is living in the present, embracing whatever that may come along in life, without picking and choosing, and learning from both the pleasant and unpleasant experiences. Essentially, Zen living is learning how to relax by acquiring the wisdom of neither avoiding problems in life, nor seeking solutions to problems that might not even have existed in the first place.

Contemporary way of life is often an unhealthy lifestyle: it is much like living in a pressure cooker. The endless challenges, demands, and goals continue to churn out stress in every form. 

Zen living focuses on the present moment—not the past, and surely not the future

Zen living teaches us to relax through meditation that may give us the "self-enlightenment" to truly understand the essentials of life and living. 

The essence of Zen living may be summarized in the following Zen poem: 

"The perfect Way is without difficulty.
Save that it avoids picking and choosing.
Only when you stop liking and disliking
Will all be clearly understood.
A split hair's difference
And heaven and earth are set apart.
If you want to get the plain truth,
Be not concerned with right and wrong.
The conflict between right and wrong
Is the sickness of the mind."
from an old Zen poem

Start Zen: Learn the healing art of Zen meditation. Free yourself from the thoughts and emotions that are holding you back in your life. Dramatically improve the quality of your life by enhancing the quality of your mind.

Read my books: The Book of Life and Living -- a blueprint for living a stress-free life through an integration of the ancient wisdom of Tao, the contemporary wisdom, and Biblical wisdom; Your Golden Years and Santa Claus -- a book on the wisdom in living your best in your senior years. .

Visit my website: Wisdom in Living.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © 2018 by Stephen Lau

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