Every-minute Zen

Every-minute Zen

“Zen students are with their masters at least ten years before they presume to teach others. Nan-in was visited by Tenno, who, having passed his apprenticeship, had become a teacher. The day happened to be rainy, so Tenno wore wooden clogs and carried an umbrella. After greeting him Nan-in remarked: ‘I suppose you left your wooden clogs in the vestibule. I want to know if your umbrella is on the right or left side of the clogs.’
Tenno, confused, had no instant answer. He realized that he was unable to carry his Zen every minute. He became Nan-in’s pupil, and he studied six more years to accomplish his every-minute Zen.”
—from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

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here are countless articles and reports about how good mindfulness is at reducing our stress levels and promoting happiness. But an understated benefit is also increased attentiveness – being here now – having the presence of mind to know where you left your car keys!

Have you ever seen someone rushing around, frazzled, leaving things here, dropping things there, making a mess the more they moved about? Their actions made you think of the expression “chicken with its head cut off,” or “haste makes waste.”

You just wanted to slow them down a bit to help them pull themselves together.

A very practical exercise that I’d like to share with you is to be deliberate with what you pick up and what you set down.

If you carry your water bottle into a yoga class, set it down with intention. See where you placed it. Is it at the top of your space on the hardwood floor? Or on the mat? In the corner? How about your towel? Is it folded neatly at the head of the mat? Is your yoga block in the opposite corner?

Don’t toss things around haphazardly.

Where in your life would you like to bring more every-minute Zen? Pick something to practice with. Once you have something, commit to paying as much attention to it as you can.

Go slowly. Move with care. It may seem unnatural at first, but you’re practicing allowing your consciousness to catch up with your physical body and surroundings. Which may take a while. Don’t be discouraged. We habitually live up in our heads so this can be a major undertaking.

Acknowledge your efforts. Set reminders. Commit to every-minute Zen.

And enjoy!
 

In lovingkindness,


If you enjoyed this article, you can find a version of it in my book, Living the Zen Life: Practicing Conscious, Compassionate Awareness (Volume One).

If you enjoyed this article, you can find a version of it in my book, Living the Zen Life: Practicing Conscious, Compassionate Awareness (Volume Two).

If you enjoyed this article, you can find a version of it in my book, Living the Zen Life: Practicing Conscious, Compassionate Awareness (Volume Three).

If you enjoyed this article, you can find a version of it in my book, A Shift to Love: Zen Stories and Lessons by Alex Mill.

If you enjoyed this article, you can find a version of it in my book, Meditation and Reinventing Yourself.

If you enjoyed this article, you can find a version of it in my book, The Zen Life: Spiritual Training for Modern Times.

 


  Alex Mill trained in a Zen monastery for nearly 14 years. He now offers his extensive experience to transform people’s lives and businesses through timeless Zen principles.

Alex is the creator of three, life-changing, 30-day programs: Heart-to-Heart: Compassionate Self-Mentoring, Help Yourself to Change, and Your Practice. He also offers an online Zen meditation workshop entitled, Taming Your Inner Noise.

Alex is the author of seven books on Zen awareness practice, the latest are A Shift to Love: Zen Stories and Lessons and the series, Living the Zen Life: Practicing Conscious, Compassionate Awareness.

If you'd like to learn more about The Zen Life and how to work with Alex, please go here and find out how to get started.


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