The study of Zen has spread quickly throughout the world. People are looking for a sense of peace, a new outlook on life. Zen accomplishes this through meditation and direct experience of the world.
Even though there is much curiosity regarding Zen, people remain skeptical. It is often seen as a fad, although its practice has lasted throughout countless centuries. People wonder what benefits Zen study truly has.
The truth is Zen fundamentals can change your life. How? Here are ten life-changing behaviors that Zen fundamentals can instill in your life.
- Identify your values. As you study your thoughts, you will find patterns in what your mind is drawn to. These are your values, what is most important in your life. This can include your family, your religion, healthy living, kindness to others, or environmental awareness. There are no right or wrong answers, just be honest with yourself and your values will become clear.
- Embrace your values. Once you are aware of your values, it is far easier to live according to them. When faced with a decision, you can compare it to your values, and see if it will bring you closer to living your values, or will draw you away.
- Develop inner peace. Zen mind does not struggle. It accepts life as it truly is. A rock is a rock. It will remain that way no matter how much you worry, wish, or pressure it into changing. The things your mind worries about are the same way. Accept things for how they are, and do not waste time or energy fretting over things you dislike.
- Energize for change. Seemingly contradictory to point #3, Zen mind can give you extra energy for change. You are not wasting energy fighting against the inevitable. As above, there is a large rock in your way. You have three options: run into the rock repeatedly, agonize about the rock being in the way, or find a way around the rock. Before Zen, most people choose one of the first two options. With Zen mind, you accept the rock for what it is: an obstacle. You accept that you cannot go through it. You do not panic, and waste time and energy worrying about the obstacle. You instead make your own path around the obstacle, either over the rock, around the rock, or under the rock.
- Enhance knowledge of yourself. As you practice Zen, you will spend a fair amount of time in meditation, listening to your mind ramble. In time, you learn what quiets your mind, and puts you at peace. Listening to the same fears repeating themselves in your mind will soon inspire you to change what is causing those fears. You realize, for example, that your job is a large source of anxiety, and it is time for a change. Without meditation, we tend to ignore what our mind is telling us, and remain locked into our old patterns of doing things.
- Gain confidence. As you reflect on your inner self, you become conscious of who you really are. You learn what makes you happy, what is beneficial to your life. You bypass the fears and anxieties of your mind, and do what needs to be done. You walk boldly, live passionately. The opinions of others do not matter, because you know you are doing what is right.
- Appreciate life. You accept life as it is. Starry evenings, a stroll by the river, or a night of solitude each have their own unique characteristics to be appreciated. Mundane activities, such as household chores or doctor’s appointments, also hold their own charm. Observing the quiet details of life lends value to the less appealing aspects, and brings peace and joy in commonplace tasks.
- Increase consideration for others. Each person on this Earth is interconnected. We are all searching for peace, contentedness, and a meaningful life. It is much harder to be angry at the person who cut you off in traffic when you realize they are on the same path, just at a different point in their journey.
- Simplify your life. Meditation helps you differentiate between needs and wants. Needs are the basics for survival, such as air, food, water, clothing, and shelter. Wants are designer jeans, the latest electronic gadget, or a mansion. You learn that you can live without the latest, greatest thing. You begin to use your stuff as tools on your journey, and not as status symbols or emotional crutches. The same holds true for your commitments. Your to-do list can be culled down to the necessities, such as caring for your family, providing for needs, and fulfilling activities. It is far easier to say no to another commitment, when your plate is full of the things you love and require.
- Cultivate a giving spirit. When you are living the best life you can, your heart fills with joy. You are doing what you were put on this earth to do, and doing it to the best of your ability. Your life is simple, you are living your values, and you have a clear mind. You can then give to others with a loving spirit, to help them along their path.
There are countless more ways that Zen fundamentals can benefit you. Experience the life changing advantages of a Zen mind, through simple meditation and appreciating life to the fullest. Have you found that Zen has changed your life? What benefits have you gained through Zen study? Stop by and let me know. I’d enjoy hearing what Zen has done in your life.
By Kimberlee Ferrell