"The quieter you become, the more that you can hear."
I often joke with my friends and colleagues about my continuing quest towards "zen status", which I roughly define as an effort on my part to become more at peace with and putting good energy out into the world. It combines my fondness of positive psychology, my strong belief in karma, as well as my respect for mindfulness and being present in my life. This has been a long journey and I know I have a long way to go to more fully embody all of these aspects of what I envision for myself.
There are some basics habits or tenants that I'd like to share with you all as a way to help myself conceptualize things but also as a way to hopefully help others become more "zen" themselves. Life can move at a breakneck pace and it can be stressful, tiresome, and depressing. Some of this is stuff we can control or at the very least we can control our reaction to it. I strive to do my best to go with the flow and keep an optimistic attitude, and these habits go a long way in doing that.
A big part of being able to accomplish some of the other habits I'll talk about is taking care of your body by getting enough sleep and putting goodness into your body. This enables us to start our day well and go through each day with natural energy rather than curb our negative feelings or sleepiness with harsh chemicals. I do my best to abide by a sleep schedule each day (even on weekends) which allows for me to get a solid eight hours of rest each night. I also minimize alcohol, coffee, artificial foods, I don't smoke, and I work out as often as I can. Even thought I'm young, it is important to take care of ourselves and take charge of our habits. It is empowering and allows for good energy to flow more freely within us.
Our mind can be a powerful influence on us. Our bad habits can get in our way without us even realizing it, and we have more control over ourselves and our responses to life than we give ourselves credit for. A big piece of my zen quest is my continuing calm I try to keep in all aspects of my life. I get agitated, depressed, and frustrated, but I try to keep a level head when I need to make decisions and when I interact with people. Deep breaths definitely help, and I just work hard to challenge any notions I have about things. I believe people are innately good and just make bad choices. If I get frustrated with what people do, I find out what may have made them do it that, and it helps to put things in context.
Humans are emotion. Whether we are aware of it or not, we compel ourselves to do things because of ego, jealousy, pride, love, loneliness, envy, and/or anger. On my quest for zen status, I seek to embrace emotion, and embody the positive ones as I go through life. I connect with the universal humanity we all share, I empathize with grief, I laugh, I love, and I cry when something is beautifully emotional or I just need to let the pressure off and I've been strong for too long. We can't be afraid of our feelings or push them down, it ends up hurting us in the long run. Being open and free with what we feel allows for emotions to become a part of us, rather than something that controls us or ravages us. Zen status is an emotional peace and understanding.
These are just a few simple, general things I've been doing on my quest for "zen status". It is ongoing and will most likely take most of my life to get to a true harmony with all things, but it has helped me tremendously through some recent stressful times in my life. It is also just a stream of consciousness that may not make a lot of sense. I did my best to capture what I feel, and hopefully it connects with some folks out there.
Quieting your mind, listening to yourself, and seeing the flow of the universe and how it all fits together allows us to rise above the mundane noise of life. We then can be genuinely open to others and ourselves and be truly happy.