Zen For Life

"Zen mind is our true nature."


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My Favorite Zen Buddhism Teaching

Here is my favorite zen buddhism quote that teaches me the best. It says all. Hope you enjoy it.

“The greatest achievement is selflessness.

The greatest worth is self-mastery.

The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.

The greatest precept is continual awareness.

The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.

The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.

The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.

The greatest generosity is non-attachment.

The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.

The greatest patience is humility.

The greatest effort is not concerned with results.

The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.

The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.” ~ Atisha

Atisha was the great Indian Buddhist Master (982-1054 AD) who was responsible for reintroducing pure Buddhism into Tibet.


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8 Simple But Necessary Questions for Self-Improvement

Before you start asking yourself these questions, get a piece of paper now. Then write your answers on it.

1. What do I really want?

Take time to figure out what you want to do with your life. Find something you enjoy doing and stick with it until you are at your greatest ability. Be the you that you want to be.

2. Should I really change?

Asking yourself this will help you decide if you are already doing something that you do well and enjoy. Maybe you just aren’t concentrating on an area of your life that you’d like to see grow.

3. What’s the bright side in all of this?

With so much is happening around us there seem to be no room for even considering that light at the end of the tunnel. And if it’s a train at the end of the tunnel, take it for a ride and see what makes the world go round!

4. Am I comfortable with what I’m doing?

There’s always the simple way and the correct way when it comes to deciding what goes with which shoes, or purse, shirt and whatnot. It doesn’t take a whiz kid to perceive yourself as someone exceptional.

5. Have I done enough for myself?

Unhappiness in each phase can be hazardous in huge doses, but in tiny amounts you’ll be able to see and do stuff you could never imagine doing.

6. Am I happy at where I am today?

If the answer is yes, then grab onto this and become the best you can be.

7. How much could I have?

I assume in this case there is no such thing as having too much or too little, but it’s more on how much you actually require it.

8. What motivates me?

What motivates you? It’s an answer you have to discover for yourself. There are so many things that can make everybody content, but to decide on one may be the hardest part.

How was it?

Hope you find something new about yourself and now you know what to do with your life.

Feel free to comment here if you have anything to share.


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A Sample Test to Test Your Positive Thinking

To find out how positive you are, answer the following questions as honestly as you can using this scoring system:

Always or almost always 5
Usually 4
Sometimes 3
Rarely 2
Never 1

Get a piece of paper and write down the number that you feel appropriate for your answer.

  1. When something unexpected forces you to change your plans, and you are quick to spot a hidden advantage in this new situation?


  2. Do you like most of the people you meet?


  3. When you think about next year, do you tend to think that you will be better off than you are now?


  4. Do you often stop to admire the things of beauty?


  5. When someone finds fault with you or with something you have done, can you tell the difference between useful criticism and ‘sour grapes’, which is better ignored?


  6. Do you praise your spouse / best friend / lover more often than you criticize him or her?


  7. Do you believe that the human race will survive well into the twenty first century?


  8. Are you surprised when a friend lets you down?


  9. Do you think you are happy?


  10. Do you feel comfortable making yourself the target of your own jokes?


  11. Do you believe that, overall, your state of mind has had a positive effect on your physical health?


  12. If you made a list of your 10 favorite people, would your name be there on it too?


  13. When you think back over the past few months, do you tend to remember your success before your setbacks and failures?

 

What is your total points? Here is the scoring:

If the sum of all the scores is:

Above 55: Consider yourself a superstar ñ someone whose optimism is a powerful
healing force.

50 – 55: Excellent. You are a genuine positive thinker

45 – 50: Good. You are a positive thinker, sometimes

40 – 45: Fair. Your positive side and your negative side are about evenly matched

Below 40: You tend to be pessimistic. Think of ways to improve your pessimistic
Approach to life.

So, how was your score? How positive are you?

Let me know what score you got and share your thoughts.


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3 Steps To Zen Meditation – Learn The Key Essences

“In the correct meditation posture your mind and body have great power to accept things as they are whether agreeable or disagreeable.” ~ Shunryu Suzuki

In layman’s term, Zen meditation is letting go of pessimistic thoughts and simply relaxing. In Buddhism, it is a contemplative discipline performed to achieve calmness in the mind and body. Most importantly, it aims for a practitioner to understand the nature of life to obtain enlightenment.

1. Find Zen Method

To fully experience positive results of Zen meditation, there are three general methods to consider such as

(i) Concentration;
(ii) Koan Introspection; and
(iii) Shikantaza.

i. Concentration

Concentration is the main emphasis to start Zen meditation. You need to focus on your breathing which is commonly ministered by counting.

“Let breathing be your shield to any distraction.”

ii. Koan

On the other hand, Koan Introspection focuses on “koan.” Koan is an entity used for meditation.

iii. Shikantaza

“Just sitting” or Shikantaza is meditation where an object has no place, instead mere concentration is needed.

2. Find Zen Position

Once you have chosen a specific method, then it is time for you to be aware of the common positions undertaken in Zen meditation.

There are 4 kinds of meditation position.

i. Burmese Position

At first glance the said position looks like a simple cross-legged position. With the Burmese position, you need to situate your feet so it will be in front of one another and let both your feet relax on the floor. You need to ensure that your heels are pointed towards your pelvis. Also rested on the floor are your knees.

ii. Seiza Position

Seiza is the Japanese term for correct sitting. It can be achieved by letting your lower leg kneel. Make sure that your feet are under your buttocks and that your toes are positioned in a backward manner.

iii. Half-Lotus Position

Indian-style with one leg on the top of the other is the half-lotus position. To achieve such sitting position, you need to be seated on an Indian-style of sitting. After which, lift one leg without letting the legs be unfolded.

iv. Full-Lotus Position

Make sure that you are seated Indian style. Then, pick one foot and take it to the crook of your knee. Let it rest, ensuring that the base of your knee is in an upward position. The final step you need to undertake is to bring the other foot to the other knee just like what you did on the first.

3. Things To Keep In Mind

After you have chosen a comfortable Zen position for you, there are other important considerations you need to carry out:

– Keep your mouth close. Ensure that your tongue is calmly pushed beside the upper palate to prevent salivation and swallowing.
– Keep your eyes low. Fix your eyes on the ground.
– Keep your chin tucked-in.
– Keep your nose in line with your navel.
– Keep your torso not to lean forward or backward.
– Keep your hands enclosed in a “cosmic mudra.” Your dominant hand should be in an upward palm position to hold the other hand.

Zen meditation concentrates on breathing. Breathe in Zen meditation is said to be the fundamental force in one’s body. Together with mind, the two are considered the reality of life.

With the kind of life people are in right now, Zen meditation may be a helpful act to be relieved from stress and tension.

Let’s do Zen meditation now.


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Is Your Anger Affecting Your Work, Personal Relationships, and Overall Life Quality?

Anger is normal as it is a healthy, human emotion. However, problems ensue when it gets uncontrollable and turns destructive. Uncontrollable anger as among the top and common behavior problems usually affect work, personal relationships, and overall life quality. Thus, there is a need for anger management training.

Psychologists have established that it is just natural for some people to become more hot-headed than others.

There are two kinds of people when it comes to anger.

Which one are you?

A person who easily get angry,
with greater anger intensity

OR

A person who are good at
controlling and concealing anger

This strong emotion is often categorized as among the common causes of disruptive behavior problems whether in adults or in children. You should notice that when anger becomes one of your behavior problems.

If you tend to be angered more easily, you should start seeking anger management techniques especially when you start withdrawing socially. You may have lower tolerance for frustration and you may easily take violent and unlikely reactions when confronted by the feeling.

“Behavior problem should be conquered and controlled immediately before it takes matters more seriously.”

Here are some strategies to help you keep anger-related behavior problems at bay.

1. Just Relax

Anger-induced behavior problems could easily be resolved by simply relaxing.

“Take a deep breath then imagine happy images.”

This strategy has been proven to be effective in calming angry people and making ‘hot heads’ cool.

2. Change The Way You Normally Think.

Restructure your cognition.

For example,

“Instead of cursing and yelling,  just sit down and think of more positive thoughts when feeling angry.”

It could literally make you a ‘monster’ in the eyes and perception of people around you.

3. Think Solution Instead of Being Angry.

Try to improve your problem solving skills. Frustration and anger are often caused by inescapable and troubling problems.

Bear in mind that…

“Anger will not in any way help you fix problems.”

If you could devise ways to effectively and systematically solve those problems, you could find yourself also controlling anger problems.

4. Stop Saying Your First Thought In Your Head. Think First. 

When you get angry, try to avoid blurting out initial thoughts that come from your head. Learn to self-edit.

“Slow down what you want to say. “

Slow down and carefully assess things you want to say before screaming them out.

5. Develop Your Communication Skill.

Here is the opportunity for you to improve better communication skills.

“Try to listen well to what other people want to say.”

Then talk calmly back. Sometimes the over-heated argument is just a misunderstanding.

6. Avoid Any Occasion of Anger.

If you think attending a social gathering, going to a specific venue, or doing certain activities would only make you uncontrollably angry try your best to avoid them. This would help you prevent getting angry especially in front of many people.

“Do not do if you don’t want to do. Do not go if you don’t want to go.”

Instead, you could opt to go to other laid-back places, enjoy your time alone at home, or do other pleasant activities that would help keep your mood okay.

7. Stop Drinking Alcohol. 

Do not drink alcohol if it usually makes you violent. As the old saying goes, “In wine there is truth.” You may not be aware but you could still carry your anger even after getting drunk. Worse!

Be aware that…

“Your strong negative feelings are amplified when you drink.”

Most people with behavior problems are advised by professionals to avoid getting drunk first and foremost.

Try these tips when you are feeling angry at someone.

If you are looking for more advice, here is a great audio program for anger management by Dr. William who has been helping people for 35 years as a professional.


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Benefits of Volunteering – Why Volunteer?

Once Gandhi said,

“The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

We know that volunteering a portion of our time is something we should do. There are reminders all around us that our help is needed. Other people will significantly benefit from any time we contribute. But that is not the only reason to volunteer.

Have you thought about the benefits you will get from volunteering? If you consider the many benefits you will receive, you will be asking yourself why you aren’t more involved with helping a cause.

Here are good reasons for exploring yourself by volunteering.

  1. To build your self-esteem and self-confidence
  2. To make a difference in the world
  3. To increase personal satisfaction
  4. To do something as a family
  5. To feel needed and appreciated
  6. To be challenged
  7. To do something different
  8. To improve your mental health
  9. To have fun!
  10. To make new friends

Here are some practical reasons why you want to volunteer.

  1. To build personal and profesional contacts
  2. To develop new job skills
  3. To add experience to your resume
  4. To develop people skills
  5. To develop communication skills
  6. To explore career possibilities
  7. To share your skills with others
  8. To earn academic credit

You will get more out of your volunteer experience than you put into it. Don’t hesitate to identify and donate some of your time to a worthy volunteer opportunity. You will be glad you did.

So, do something for others today and find out about yourself more!


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7 Ways to Develop Your Intuition

Have you had that experience when all of a sudden you just had this huge hunch that something is about to happen, and to your surprise, that intuition was eventually translated to reality?

When you feel strongly about something without logical basis to it, that’s called intuition. It comes in three impressions: clairvoyance or “the third eye”, sensing clearly and feeling through listening.

Clairvoyance is when your eye goes beyond what it can see. This is when you know what is happening somewhere.

Sensing clearly is basically what we refer to as “hunch” or “gut feel.” This is the time when you are overwhelmed with a feeling and you can’t explain it and all you can say is “I just know.”

On the other hand, feeling through listening or clairaudience is being able to “listen” between the lines. Intuition also happens at times when a certain sound, whatever it is – be it a car’s honk or a bird’s twitting – ushers in an intense feeling.

They say only a number of people are gifted with intuition. Astrologers even insist that people born under the Scorpio or Pisces signs are naturally intuitive it almost borders on E.S.P. But studies have been sprouting left and right that proclaim that anyone can develop intuition.

Why the need to develop intuition, you ask? Why not let your emotional and psychological state as it is?

– First and foremost, intuition promotes good communication. It makes you more sensitive to the people around you; it often keeps you from hurting those you love because you are intuitive enough to understand them.

– Intuition also makes you far more creative than ever. Intuition means releasing more creative juices for any means of expression.

– Lastly, intuition has a healing power. This healing power is not in the physical sense, but in delving deep into your soul to eradicate some negative energy buried in it.

With that being said, are you ready to develop your intuition? Here are some ways to unlock this gift:

1. Hypnosis

Oh yes, get yourself hypnotized. Hypnosis is not limited to watching a pendulum move back and forth. Perform self-hypnosis or you can avail of hypnotic programs that can strengthen your intuition.

2. Meditation

Meditating means finding peace in yourself. If your mind and heart are cluttered with too many baggage and hurt, you wouldn’t be able to quiet down that part of you that could eventually initiate intuition. There are so many ways to meditate: take a yoga class, or just simply practice some breathing that could bring you straight to Zen.

3. Think positive!

A worry-free, fear-free state could do so much to improve your intuitive ability. By staying positive, you attract good energy that would be able to easily recognize imminent feelings and events.

4. Just let go.

What does this mean? If you are on the brink of making a huge decision, let go of all the inhibitions and head to a quiet place where you could find out where the letting go has brought you. Sometimes you just have to listen to the voice within you, and that voice wouldn’t come out unless you let go.

5. Never expect.

After letting go of the inhibitions and all those things that stop you from thinking and feeling clearly, never expect for an answer right away. Never expect that the “hunch” would fall on your lap immediately. Give it a little time then you’d just get surprised that — wham! — now you have your answer.

6. Believe in your first impressions.

When you see someone for the first time and think that he is a bit too arrogant for your taste, chances are that impression actually holds true. Most of the time, first impressions are brought by intuition.

7. Stay happy!

See? All you need to be intuitive is to stay happy! Happiness attracts immense power and such power includes intuition. In tapping your intuition, your motivation must be happiness and contentment. Given that premise, intuition will fall to you easily.

Intuition is helpful, because sometimes it leads you to something that cannot be achieved otherwise. A lot of lives have been saved by intuition alone. Decisions are easier done if armed by this gift. Develop intuition now and reap benefits you have never imagined.

Why don’t you start developing your intuition today?