My zen? What is that? It's not just something I learn about twice a week when I go to yoga class. It's not just the moments of peace I might find on a trail walk or a bike ride. I know it's not just one thing. So it doesn't surprise me that I found this article today. I wasn't searching for it. I was looking for something else entirely, but this is what I found.
And this is what stood out when I read the article that also answered my question for me. What is zen?
This is what a zen practitioner in Las Vegas, of all places, had to say about that:
Imagine you're at the mall, he tells the Zen-curious. It's busy, customers bustle about. You're standing in a long line, waiting to make your purchase. In front of you is a baby in a baby carriage. The baby looks right at you and smiles.Can you guess what it is? I did.
"You have one job," he says.
So simple, right? But how often do we get that wrong? How often do we ignore the smiling child, or the friendly cashier, or the man who holds the door open for you at the chain restaurant. How often do we just walk by, lost in our own mental congestion.
We're not focused on the moment. We're too busy worrying about tomorrow or what happened last week. And we're missing out. We're missing out on the baby smiles, on the friendly hellos, on acknowledging the people who seem less hurried than we do.
As I return to my office and get back into the regular routine of the work day, as I reconnect with what's missing in my food pantry or try to remember which bills I've paid and which I haven't, I'm going to take this next week to remember to stay focused on what's going on in my life right at this very second.
And this is how I'm going to practice my zen:
*Take 10 minutes in the morning to meditate. Not on anything in particular, just breathing. I'm going to get quiet for 10 minutes every morning and put my focus on the now. Just for 10 minutes. It's not asking too much.
*Not let my mind tell me I don't want to go to yoga, even though I know I will, and it always makes me feel good. Instead, when the afternoon arrives -- the time when I start trying to convince myself why I shouldn't go (I'm tired. I'm sore. I'm lazy.) -- I'm going to put a smile on my face and remind myself that I get to go to yoga in just a few hours. I am going to take that moment and change my mindset to a healthier outlook.
*Smile. When I pass that smiling baby, when I exchange money with the cashier at the grocery market, when I see my boyfriend next, I'm going to stop, focus and smile.
Those are three simple things I can do to have a moment with zen. How about you?