Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Let’s Explore “Zen”

By Zen_sheila @BeZensational

Word of the Week:  ZEN

This week we’ll be exploring a few aspects of “Zen”… Many people don’t quite understand what it is… they think it’s some new fangled thing (it’s not, it’s ancient), or that we chant all day while sitting crossed legged on pillows (we don’t).  Maybe they think it’s a religion (it’s really more of a philosophy), or that we are totally calm in all situations (most of us are still learning and therefore are not).  There’s a lot to the meaning of Zen.  Yet not much at all.

“Zen is not about never feeling sad, angry, joyful, or having fun;  Zen is the understanding that by not clinging (or attaching) ourselves to these feelings, we can free ourselves from them and enjoy life to the fullest.”  ~ from the book:  Booyah! Spirit

Let’s Explore “Zen”So for example… just because I am Zen, doesn’t mean that the annoying relative at the family function doesn’t bother me… it means that I have the ability to control how I allow myself to feel around that person.  I suppose Zen would be the difference between having enough of a situation and throwing your mashed potatoes in the offenders face… and walking away from the person  AND letting go of the frustration by finding someone else to talk too.  I no longer come home feeling pissed, brooding, or angry. I don’t have to relive the event over and over in my mind, or want to fix their stupidity.   And let me tell you, it’s not always easy.  Sometimes I’d much rather fling the mashed potatoes.

I have learned over the years that my body really feels the impact when I am frustrated, angry, or experience a negative situation.  I used to get stomach aches, feel my blood pressure rising, or my adrenaline rushing when around certain people, or during high anxiety situations… feelings of which could literally last all day, because every time I thought about them, it started all over inside me.  In fact I may have been the Queen of recalling memories and letting them affect me for weeks afterward!  These feelings also impacted relationships with those around me when I was feeling them, for example: I might be short and snippy with others.  It’s like one big snowball effect of negative energy.  I absorb his negative energy, I let that affect me, and then I inflict that negative energy on others.  Ughhh.  What a crappy thing do.

So I have learned how to experience the feeling, let it go, and move onward.  Yes, that person is annoying — I feel so stressed around them.  Wow, that driver who cut me off really made me mad — I felt annoyed and scared.  But that moment is over and done with.  In the big picture of my whole day, my whole life… it really doesn’t matter at all.  I choose to live the next moment.

So how does one “do” this?  Well, it takes practice and dedication.  Meditation is a great way to clear your head and mellow out.  When your head is clear you are in a better place to handle things and make better decisions.  With that said, let me emphasize the “practice part”… I am Zen yet there are times when I still lose it.  Just last week I was stuck in a line of traffic for 30 minutes.  I waited very patiently singing to the radio and inching up in traffic.  When I got to an intersection… I needed to go straight because I was within 5 streets of my house… straight ahead.  Then the person directing traffic funneled all of us to the right.  This meant I had to go the long way — about 10 minutes of back roads — when I could have just went straight home in a minute.  After waiting 30 minutes and almost at my destination, I was now redirected.  And… running low on gas.

I totally lost my marbles, rolled down my window and screamed at the guy… let loose like a longshoreman at a bar.  Oh yes, I most certainly could have made a truck driver blush.  I turned right, I drove faster, I talked out loud to myself, and I could feel the anger in my adrenaline shooting like bursts of fire through my veins.  I totally lost it.  I came home literally shaking and told my husband… “OMG, I just totally lost my Zen!” and then relayed the entire story.  I began to realize how my heart was racing just like it did when the incident actually happened.  I also began to realize the guy was just doing his job.  I had a choice to make at the intersection, and it wasn’t about going straight or turning right.  It was about how to deal with a problem and whether to let it affect me.  The Zen of it is to understand and deal with emotions in a healthy and positive way, acknowledge it and let it go.  We all make mistakes.  It’s all part of the journey.


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