Zen

Zen

The combination of my personality (I tend to be a worrier) and my circumstances (there are lots of sources of stress in my life these days) make me a less content person than I could be.  Over the past few years I have really become interested in non-Western ways of approaching life–including Buddhism and yoga–that emphasize living in the present, appreciating what we have, and realizing that the Western mindset of “I’ll be happy when _______” (I get the perfect job, the perfect house, etc.) is a trap. When I was in college, the Dalai Lama came to Madison and Graham and I went to see him. His message was straightforward: practice mindfulness and compassion, and you will be happy while you make other people happy. Simple, but so easy to forget to practice every day. I was so impressed with him as a person; he lives a life in exile from Tibet and he is constantly traveling, and he is no spring chicken anymore. But he just radiated happiness and goodwill. Seeing him made me want to emulate him, even though I could hardly be less like a short Tibetan man in a red robe.

So, one of my resolutions this year is to develop mindfulness. I haven’t done a lot different, yet; I’m just trying to remember to take it one thing at a time, notice the good things from each day, and make time for relaxation. These habits are nothing new–I have been practicing them for many years, but sometimes more successfully than others. I was really good at it when I was younger, but as my workload has gotten heavier, sometimes I just forget to breathe. So far this semester, my attempts to increase my zen are paying off. I feel more balanced. Purposefully approaching my work with a peaceful mind has helped me to get more done, and I am finding that I can get through lots of reading, classes, and writing with less stress.

I hope this trend continues, and I’m going to keep working at it.

This is a blog that I found that seems like it might help me in my quest for mindfulness. I just found it, so I haven’t done much exploring yet, but it looks promising:

http://www.zenhabits.net

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~ by releasethebadgers on January 29, 2009.

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