The Art of Getting the Most of Out Life through Zen

The Art of Getting the Most of Out Life through Zen

It’s easy to give advice but sometimes difficult to take it. From an outside perspective, it can be clear see what the solution is but emotions, misinformed logic, and back and forth thinking can make you lose sight of what’s best.

Couple this with the fact that we may give into instant gratification, searching for a comfortable immediate prize rather than looking at the bigger picture. We may forget about treating others with compassion, neglecting constructive thought when life isn’t going our way.

With awareness of the moment we can begin to start chipping away at the root of miscalculated action.

Acceptance

Once the bad feeling or challenge exists, if we accept it and don’t waste time hoping it wasn’t so, feeling miserable, and fighting against it, we use existing energy for a possible solution.  A “what can I do now” mentality. We can get in a vicious cycle in times of anxiety or rage where a looping thought occurs.

Round and round we go with the idea that this is uncomfortable and that you shouldn’t feel this way. This just compounds the damage by making it seem like your emotions are “not to be felt”. So you not only feel bad, but you start feeling bad about feeling bad. The same can be said about anger, the more you stew with the idea that “this is unfair treatment”, the more you lose yourself and feed the flames of anger.

All this stems from habitual thinking. For some it may seem natural and logical (in theory) to react in a certain situation with anger, frustration, fear, paranoia, anxiety, and general unease. It’s no doubt that this addictive thinking becomes reinforced. This is why it’s highly valuable for these kinds of thinkers to analyze why they feel what they feel.

By looking at the details, going deeper, and asking for the origin, it often brings up past traumas or knots in the mind. This form of thinking is Zen like in the sense that it tries to ask the question, “who is the thinker of thoughts?” Contemplating this is key for understanding the root of our suffering.

Fortunately with practice it becomes much easier to remain stoic during times of conflict.

“To seek is to suffer. To seek nothing is bliss.” – Bodhidharma

Boundaries

Acceptance doesn’t mean you are a pushover who is easy to manipulate and simply willing to take blows. It means you know when to walk away, and you do so with compassion. Genuine compassion comes from the understanding that you are not separate from others. Compassion naturally stems when we forgive others, for any act of viciousness or dislike is often rooted in past trauma that often has less to do with the situation, and more to do with their history.

In another blog I’ll talk more on the general principle from the ying-yang symbol, which is that the bad is just as necessary as the good. When you understand this you won’t lash out or be weakened by the so called bad, you’ll be better able to know when it’s time to walk away in a healthy and productive way, instead of doing so out of spite or dismissal.

Boundaries become natural when you practice the effortless task of acceptance.  Your mind remains clear, able to see things as they truly are. You’re than able to know what’s appropriate for a given situation. By taking the path of least resistance you know when to walk away, when to handle a situation, and when to do nothing.  Sometimes the path of least resistance can be initially like pulling a bandage, however in the future it becomes an investment.

“Performing the duty prescribed by (one’s own) nature, one incurreth no sin – The Bhagavad Vita

Abandoning Labels

The reason we get caught up with problems of both an external and internal nature is because we take labels too serious. By defining something as bad or good we feel as though we create structure in life, but we forget they’re both necessary for growth.

At times what is initially considered bad may lead to growth, new beginnings.  Sometimes that which is sweet can be a crutch, a force of passivity.

When you simply experience life without chasing fleeting emotions, you no longer feel the need or desire to lash out. You gain ultimate compassion because you understand the truth, which is that the idea of good and bad does not make you change or improve the situation, it only serves to confuse. Let your intuition decide what is proper and in this, you won’t fail.

“Your authority extends only to the performance of action; obtaining or not obtaining the fruit is never within your control; therefore, do not be one who performs action with a motive that a specific fruit should be obtained; nor insist on not-performing action” – The Bhagavad Gita
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