How to Live a Zen Life
Have you ever wondered, “How to Live a Zen Life?”
This has become a much desired question to be answered in the health and wellness space, as we have all become much too stressed in our daily lives.
Wanna Know How I Gained My Life Back?
The famous and highly eloquent Zen Monk Thich Nhat Hanh once simplified in his teachings how to live a Zen life by simply stating, “Smile, breathe and go slowly.”
Believe me, I am no Zen-Master or even a Zen Buddhist. However, I have always been a very observant person, who has been fond of doing thought experiments.
Later in this article, I would like to share the 10 principles I have personally uncovered that have boded well in my Zen-like living experiments.
No matter your religious beliefs or what socio-economic conditions you were raised in, these 10 principles can be pragmatic to any life.
However, first I would like to share a recent experience……..
After deep-thinking about an incident that happened with one of my players in the game last night to his reaction when I gave him a coach (advice), I later wrote this message to my pool team.
Soon I realized this lesson can be applied the same for us internet marketers. Learning how to live a Zen life is as essential as the air we breathe.
There are affiliate links within this post. What this means is that if you decide to purchase anything through one of my links, I'll be rewarded with a small commission at absolutely no extra cost to you. This small commission helps me run and maintain my website.
Control Your Emotions
Internet marketing success is as much an emotional game as it is a precision and tactical game. It is imperative that we see that critical, "take control of the game" play, or a game-winning maneuver in a timely manner to set us up for future success.
Others may see the most direct path to success in a given endeavor, but which we do not see. Conversely, you may not see what I see, but I will see it.
As a mentor with proven success and your good-intentions in mind, if I see that most direct path to help you succeed and win the game then you should place your trust me.
Occasionally we may both will see the same path, but this will usually not be the case. Since we both are not mind-readers, it makes no sense taking a chance by assuming knowledge and remaining silent.
Therefore there is no such thing as asking for guidance too early in the process.
Never let your ego get in your way.
Somedays the "early play" you implement from the advice of others, particularly your mentor or team will make a vast difference between winning and losing.
Such moves will ultimately determine the difference between your ultimate success and failure.
Control your emotions in the process and you will significantly raise your chances of winning the game.
Learn To Let It Go
Please don't get frustrated if a mentor or your team gives you advice which you do not agree with. Frustrating yourself over it is a waste of energy and is more detrimental then any advice.
Either way, everyone will have their own point of view. So there is really no sense getting worked up over it. Don’t argue with your mentor or your Team over disagreements, and if so don’t let those disagreements get in your head.
Learn to let it go.
Take a deep breath, learn how to mentally refocus, and rethink your strategy.
Getting frustrated and being argumentative with others you do not agree with, whether it be your mentors or colleagues is not only counter-productive but it also makes the Team look bad.
Doing so gives fodder for the opposition to take cheap shots and make exaggerated claims against you and the Team. Avoid that.
How to Live a Zen Life: Find Your Zen Space
We must all learn to find that "Zen" space where nothing will ever affect us. In other words, nothing distracts us, nothing phases us, and nothing gets under our skin.
When we are in a calm state where we let nothing affect us, we are in the most effective winning state.
Ask any successful marketer, athlete, or money-player. It has been proven that when marketers and athletes learned how to live a Zen life, they all greatly increased their success rate toward achieving optimal performance.
Breathing is super important. So is taking extra time to breathe upon every move. Think about your next move. Then find the void.
Develop a systematic daily “pre-work” mental routine. This can be any simple mind-relaxing activity such as sitting in total silence, watching TV, or daily meditation.
Personally, I have found the benefits of meditation, deep breathing, and qigong to be a mental cleansing.
Meditation twice daily (morning and before bedtime) and in between those “next moves” is a great way to optimize your focus toward achieving optimal performance.
Believe me, it works. If you believe this is not true, you are only fooling yourself. This has been proven time and again in various case studies over a wide range of activities under the most stringent conditions.
10 Principles: How to Live a Zen Life
Although I will never be a Zen monk, I continue to find profound inspiration in the concentration and mindfulness they place in every activity. They are able to achieve an inner calm and peace every day.
Zen Monks for hundreds of years have devoted their lives to serving others. This is something I can certainly relate, as serving others by offering my help is something I always have done.
We all can greatly benefit by learning how to live a Zen life.
Simply follow these 10 Principles:
We all can use better concentration, tranquility, and mindfulness in our lives. Because Zen monks for hundreds of years have devoted their lives to being present in everything they do, here is what makes them ideal examples of living the Zen life.
1. Focus Only on One Task at a Time: This is all part of the life of a Zen monk. Always single-task, never multi-task. When you’re writing a blog post, only write a blog post. Don’t try to complete several other tasks while writing. Follow this a famous Zen proverb: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”
2. Move Slowly and Deliberately: Never rush any task. Move slowly by taking your time. Perform your actions actions deliberately, not rushed and randomly. And continue to practice this, as practice makes perfect.
3. Always Finish What You Start: Perform the task completely. Don’t move on to the next task until you’re finished. If, for any reason this does not present a choice, at least put away the unfinished task and clean up after yourself. When preparing a meal, don’t start eating it until you’ve put away the stuff you used to prepare it, wiped down the counter, and washed the dishes used for preparation. Then you’re done with that task, and can focus more completely on the next task.
4. Less Is More: Living like a Zen Monk is not a lazy existence. A Zen Monk’s day is filled with work. But his task is not unending either. He limits himself to certain tasks to do today, but no more. By doing less, he can do things more deliberately, more completely and with greater concentration
5. Space Things Out: Manage your schedule so you always have time to complete a task. Leave room between things on your schedule so you can perform those tasks more effectively.
6. Build Rituals into your Day: Rituals place importance on things. It’s not necessary to perform Zen monk rituals. Simply create your own. This can be for writing, for research, for exercising, for eating, etc. Anything that you perform on a regular basis. Don’t restrict yourself here.
7. Designate Time for Recreation: Designate time for personal recreational activities you truly enjoy, whether it be writing, reading, billiards, or simply quiet contemplation. If it’s important enough of a recreation you enjoy, designate time to do it regularly.
8. Devote Time for Sitting: Sitting meditation (zazen) is one of the most important parts in a Zen Monk’s day. It is a type of meditation for learning to be present. Practice it, and you will get better. You can devote time for sitting meditation, or anything else to practice “being in the moment”. You could employ any activity in the same way, as long as you do it regularly and practice being present.
9. Smile While Serving Others: Smiling and being kind to others is a great way to improve the lives of those around you. It is also a way of making yourself feel good. It teaches us humility, and ensures that we are not self-serving but devoted to the welfare of others. Serving others through charity work is an example of a wonderful way of finding how to live a Zen life. Personally I am a caregiver to others, and I draw great satisfaction from this activity. Zen monks devote a portion of everyday to serve others. This could be in serving other monks in the monastery or outside visitors.
10. Lead a Simpler Life: Rid your life of many unnecessary and unessential things by only making room only for the essential. If something isn’t necessary, you can probably can live without it. What is “essential” will be different to each person. You should consider what is most important to your life, and make room for that by eliminating less important things in your life.
How to Live a Zen Life: Above All Breathe!
So learn to "let it go", and if you aren't completely comfortable about your next move or are distracted even for a split second, get up and restart your pre-work mental routine.
Wanna Know How I Gained My Life Back?
Let all the "noise in your head" fade away, don’t let anything distract you from refocusing on that next move.
Above all, breathe!
Please feel free to make any comments below.
I hope you will discover how to live a Zen life.
Kaju, as usual, this article is awesome. There are so many things I need to do to take your advice here.
One thing I need to focus on is when you talk about the Zen Monk and him limiting “himself to certain tasks to do today, but no more.” I need to focus on this. Lately, my life has been so filled with getting so many things done, I feel I now need to concentrate on things I’ve been wanting to accomplish for a long time. I need to remember what you’re saying around by doing less, I can do things more deliberately, more completely and with greater concentration.” I am someone who is very organized and find that keeping a list of to-do’s helps me to focus. I feel what you’re saying here can help me to spread things out among my week and not feel so “cluttered”. There is absolutely nothing wrong with spreading tasks out to make sure they are done more completely and I needed this as validation. Thank you!
You seem to be a very organized person. I’d love to hear what you use to stay focused. Are there certain tools you use to stay on track with the tasks you need to complete each day, week or month?
Thank You for such a thoughtful and candid comment Yvette.
We all have such busy lives, we rally need to follow the way of Zen Monks and focus on one task at a time. This is not only a tremendous reliever of stress, but it is a way of getting tasks done more completely and effectively.
Yes, I am an organized person who is adept at mutli-tasking, but I’ve found out the hard way this behavior can be a double-edged sword. In recent months I have learned I must edit myself and prioritize doing only the most essential things without feeling guilty.Focus on only one thing at a time – the most important thing – like the Zen Monk.
I used to use various tools like Google docs, Trello and other more sophisticated programs but lately I have all but abandoned them. Whatever I do now (which is less but more complete), I simply write a small notepad I keep on my desk. Back to simple things, and that’s the way I like it most. Like the Zen Monk.
This post really resonated with us.
Working online requires a balance because it is so easy to get bogged down and over-focused on the computer. You can literally feel your body and mind seizing up if you don’t take breaks.
We have found that doing our daily yoga practice helps us enormously, not just physically, but emotionally as well. The breathing helps calm the mind and prepare it for the work of the day to come.
We can all find some space in the day to make time for ourselves, whatever one chooses to do. It improves the quality of our lives and ultimately, our work.
Not saying we are in perfect balance, but we strive each day to reach the ZEN state.
We are big fans of Thich Nhat Hanh. One of our favorite quotes is:
“Enlightenment is when the wave realizes it is the ocean”.
Mindful living is essential to healthy living.
Thank you for reminding us again of how important balance is to our lives.
Colette and Philip
That’s a wonderful state to strive for Colette and Phillip. It is essential that we all make time during our day to calm our minds through breathing to prepare for the work of the day to come. There is no reason we cannot find time during our day
We all need to take care of our emotional well-being, not only our physical health.
Your daily yoga practice is commendable, and you are reaping the benefits of striving towards ZEN life. Everyone should follow your lead.
Thanks for that great quote by Thich Nhat Hanh, we all will reach enlightenment when we realize we are but a small part of something so much bigger than ourselves.
I think you hit the mark with your 10 steps to a zen life. For me Zazen sitting is the first most important step. By creating a quiet undistracted mind in sitting practice first thing in the morning I am able to approach the rest of my day more present and systematic. I think your steps also are a good formula for learning to love and accept oneself in the moment. As someone with almost 20 years of practice you never reach the end of your learning journey.
That is quite an affirmation from someone who has practiced a Zen life for nearly 20 years. Personally, I am not nearly as far along my journey as you are Stacy, but I can understand that we never reach the end of this learning journey.
However, simply practicing this way of life by starting my day with Zazen sitting has made my mind less distracted and more present. This has led to greater productivity during my day through deliberate and purposeful action. Yet it has also brought greater contentment for me. And I am of the belief this practice has mitigated my bradycardia issues, which at one time were quite severe.
It’s wonderful that we have connected along our journey, Thank You:)