The Power of Zen
Zen which also means enlightenment is not a philosophy or a religion; it’s a way of life. It teaches you the important of not losing your temper and keeping your emotional center under control. You can begin to show who you’re really without using the social mask to hide yourself. In order to do we must rise above everyday suffering, see it for what it really is, and attain peace of mind. Zen is applicable to all areas of life. When we resist what is in our day to day life it causes more suffering than necessary. All we can change about a situation is ourselves in the present moment. When we attempt to change friends, family, or authorities the opposite occurs. Getting over this and responding to what is will aid in your path. As an old Zen Master once said “What is hot is hot and what’s cold is cold”. The first order of business is to monitor your thoughts regularly. When you do this you can catch yourself in your old behaviors and give yourself a change to reflect on your actions. Sometimes this may be difficult due to attachments you’ve created through your emotional center. This sort of situation calls for detachment of course but how can this be done. Through destruction of social contracts you’ve made as a citizen and accept yourself as human being. You could also repeat mantras such as “I do not need to prove myself to people all the time” or “that I do not need to fix all my imperfection” from time to time. This exercise in Zen allows one become like an empty bowl, refilling it with new knowledge so that your old assumptions won’t get in the way. We must also understand that misfortunes can be fortunes and fortunes can be misfortunes. For instance a businessman may have it all but is overweight and tired of living in the rat race. On the other hand, losing a dear friend to drunk driving may motivate you to save lives through a social campaign. Zen teaches us to not judge everything as black and white but rather live in the present and move with it. This is called satori and will help you achieve tranquility. It will redefine the way you live and allow you to see the world in its beauty. In such a mind frame we often guilt ourselves due to “negative” energy which works much like the debit and credit concept. We’re worried, sad, and anxious until we debit what we’ve credit for but now we’re caught in a cycle. Another “negative” energy is stress as we’ve all experienced. We often attempt to avoid fear-based emotion which makes them stronger. We should not resist them but welcome them. It is only until you face your fears head on will you be able to diminish the effect they have on you. Instead you may transmute this energy to positive energy. For example, if you’re stress from work you can transmute this energy through exercise which will boost your energy levels and serotonin levels. Such fears, if left unhandled, create every disaster but worst of all is our fear of not being able to cope. What you’re given in this lifetime is a lesson to be learnt. Continuing to resisting it will make resemble more of it. Like two negative magnets you will begin to resist each other never attracting what you desire in this lifetime. You can see this in religions where one resists the other and they become enemies battling large wars where nobody ever wins. Zen teachings believe that you reincarnate as your source of one’s resistance much like a karma-based system. Again here repetition of mantras and mindful meditation are really powerful ways of changing behaviours. Mindful meditation has been shown to change the way we interpret emotions making us less fragile to negativity. Fragile individual will allow each unacceptable to hurt them as long as you hold onto them. Acceptance is a very powerful tool and does not mean defeat at all. It provides peace of mind and allows one to move on rather than grief and despair about a particular event.
“Zen teaching perceives all is in unity and you’re a part of it. There is no duality between you and I. We all live in entanglement and watching over others is like watching over you. When we’re an army we work towards canceling out weak points and work as one machine towards our individual goals.”
Zen teaching provides communication techniques to help absolve your resistance. It always advised to use a calm voice without challenging another as typical arguments incite cycles. As a result, you will not aggravate the recipient to yell over you or lower their voice overtime. A voice of reason whenever the volume is more powerful and easier to attain when calm. This is because it’s very difficult to think when enrage as less oxygen travels up your brain. We often fight or retreat from our situation but why not a fight and not become what you resist. This is the process of Wu-wei or the action of non-action. Much of these methods are counterintuitive in society but once applied a new paradigm will wash over. In this practise, fear based emotions are felt but do not grow but rather transmuted. Often we have been conditions by others to avoid fears like anxiety and guilt but we should not rely on this as a source of power as it often drains us. By avoiding pain we’re essentially avoiding half of life experiences thus unbalancing the other half. Rather, we should operate from a higher frequency of love and compassion for self and one -another. People who are operating at a higher frequency expend less energy and can cycle it through others nearby back to themselves. But one must remember there needs to be balance of acceptance and rejection however the underlying force is always compassion.
Other thing to watch out for is repressing our feelings. This takes a lot of energy to do and often finds a ways to manifest in our lives. Again, transmuting and channeling them in a manner that will fulfill the dis-ease through taking a calm approach. The other most important thing to note is that courage to act is to act despite your fears. It is to go into the darkness unwary of the unknown. If one does alter their perception to see both the opportunity and threat one can make more calculate decision without fear. Opportunity is a necessity of life to keep our energy levels up and moving whereas threats are there to simply make one more aware. Both “positive” and “negative” traits are what they’re there to do if one understands their true essences. Learning to balance these two and never to reject them despite the pressure exerted will be much beneficial to your quest. Creating a detach mind from materialism and what ought to be is important here. I do not mean to leave out the backdoor in every situation but rather remain neutral and do not jump to conclusions until further evidence is found. Life is often an allusion or “Maya” as the ancients called it and what one labels progressive may not be. The mind’s fears and joys are projected onto this plane whether we’re conscious of it or not. But to look for all the answers in Maya wouldn’t be the best ideas but rather looking into what one truly believes and moving with that energy’s resonance. All matter is energy and whenever resonance with our emotional self does so for a reason because it’s a part of us. Carbon for example, is an abundant resource available in life including ourselves. Within this reality there are many frequencies at work and depending on which one chooses will be result of their composition. Those who operate in high frequencies no longer see mountains as just mountains but perhaps as vast treasure. Those who chase down their pleasures too find “treasures” but often melts away to reveal its true nature the individual cannot come to terms with. That is why being neutral in our awareness is important as one will not tumble in a yin and yang cycle. Media for example provides much unrest and controversy that the mind is always filled with dense information and unable to move away from it.
We don’t require many of the things media would like us believe we do. The Tao advises to give and your environment will return the favor. So the first perfection in Taoist tradition would be giving away of unnecessary materials. Seven often mentions that we don’t give then we don’t have it in us to give. The second perfection is offering the sense of courage to others. This is important as everyone is a part of you and when one falls the whole group falls. The third is to live by all percepts or gain karma by following the Universal Laws. Even if you fail to do so at time all is not lost. The Tao believes it’s more important to get back up than success itself. This jumps into the fourth perfection which perseverance is meaning to rise above suffering mentally and physically. The fifth perfection is remaining diligence to form harmonic frequencies with others. The sixth and final perfection is to project mindfulness in everyday life thus allowing spirit to come in and speak through one. However, if certain pleasures are draining energy think about this fable. An Indian boy found a snake, crocodile, and others animals tied by their tails. He threw them by the knot the tails created and watched as they scrambled to move in opposite direction. This is much like our pleasure moving us in different direction but never getting us anywhere. Energy is distributed and less effective in this situation and one require channeling to move in one direction. We must reflect whether our losses are greater than the possible gains and to move despite our fears. We should never wait for the perfect moment to act as this set high expectation leading to resentment when circumstances fails to comply. You make a decision, stick to it, and manifest your own reality without allowing doubts and expectations to hinder you. Remember things don’t always look as they seem in the world of Maya. What may look like failure is an opportunity to rebuild oneself stronger, doing so one will perceive opportunities as win/win situations. The strong are patient who await their destiny and hold back on their immediate inclination to give up. So act best in mind of the situation but do not be so quick to dismiss it when expectation isn’t met. This is unnecessary pain you’re creating on your own and you’re the only one which permits to what extend the pain controls your behaviour. I personally find acceptance of the situation and my limitation allows me to precede with much more vigor. So what pushes your buttons? Is it status, power, injustice? The technique is not to diminish these important beliefs but at the same time acknowledge the present energy and counterbalance it. They can lead down higher paths confronted with a detach mind but downwards when they attach and harness your powers. As Energetic beings we should expands and contract like the universe but leave behind the baggage. Energy in such cases becomes stagnant and filled with dis-ease slowing down the vehicle. However, energy never truly dies out but rather transmutes as the first rule of physics points out. Even so, living forever in misery can be quite hellish by the sounds of it what can we do to become more vibrant? Taoist believes living more dangerously and free is the ultimate cure. My personal belief involves taking calculated risks, baby steps, and patience towards one’s goal to avoid mishaps. What the Taoist believed was letting go of one’s fear helps one get in touch with spontaneous self. The fiery spirit is often trapped under dogma and other strict ruling. We only proceed in a yin yang fashion when we circulate both hot to cold, masculine and feminism, etc. However life’s challenges are constant where you are variable of change in those constant so forget the final destination and live in the now as both are interconnected. Now the time to ask yourself whether you’re serving the planet and yourself the way you intend?” If not, you definitely need to get yourself out there, get the juices flowing, and forget the rest. Like Sevan often mention our brain is a wiz at making thousand excuses but to move despite fear is the ultimate goal here. This doesn’t always intend physical labor as exercises like yoga, meditation, or reading amusing books aren’t vigorous but by being mindful in all your experience your most challenging activities can be your test. Be mindful that suffering multiples by the amount of resistance you place on it. Remember that things aren’t always what they seem and we cannot predict the future in the present only our intent. Another way to push our limits is to rid of our social contracts with people and society. We often get entangle with social status that do not serve us our true needs. The choice of which one(s) to eliminate is up to you but moving quickly out of all social contracts can be troublesome and counterproductive. Tao advises removing one social mask at a time but adds not all social masks need to be removed. One achieves this by truly being themselves and not what people expect of them to be known as the generalized other. This is because some social masks are very much rooted in the society’s construct like being a joker or a tough guy can uproot one’s foundation as a comedian or a soldier. Instead Taoist teachings believe one should be aware how much a person leans on his social mask to avoid exposures. To do this one would have to reframe their life by stepping outside of it and observing deeply. Although when doing so, deeply felt emotions may arise which requires one to detach and observe the situation for what it is. Emotions will continue to come up but persistent detachment and observing until your mind is ready to receive insight. To illustrate, if one gets into a fight with someone and the opponent is encouraging them to make the first move then detach from the negative side of pride. Over time, one will take control of their life through action rather than submitting thereby refining one’s thinking patterns. One’s neuroplasticity may be changed at any point so there are you never too old to make life changes. Otherwise, one loses their own identity in the crowd of souls when one becomes an actor in a game. However if one’s mind requires much healing, Tao would suggest altering one’s perspective to it as for every negative situation a hint of positivity coincides; yin yang. It also comes down to accepting one’s self because only then can the true self can be uncover. It’s a messy process but like sand being mixed in a bottle of water it will settle once more to the bottom. Often avoiding and fighting saps our energy whereas being direct and loving takes less energy as the energy is being cycled. Sometimes a person may oppose such love which doesn’t mean you should oppose or change them. Rather, move with the flow of the recipient by focusing on is being said between the lines or their nonverbal expression. As you may know relationship issues aren’t black and white and require a set of guidelines which must be customize to the user’s position. Here are guidelines to follow by but feel free to make modifications to fit your life:
1. Your right to do anything as long as you do not hurt others purposely
2. Your right to maintain self-respect even if it does not help someone else
3. be who you are without changing your idea to meet someone else
4. Strive for self-actualization
5. Use your own judgement in regard to accept any responsibility for someone else problem
6. It is your right to e subjective by negativity
7. It is your right to offer no explanation for your actions
8. It is your right to be illogical
9. It is your right to change your minds
10. It is your right to defend yourself
However there are times we’re manipulated making both individuals worse off. At the same time, disagreements and insults can bring our energy levels down whether we’re engage or not. If we do not engage and feel tempered then social contracts, disharmony, and other distraction must be dealt with first. If you change your mind first to become calm like water you can change your external environment. Some emotional tactics one’s opponent may express are:
8. Double bind (damn if you do and damn if you don’t)
Tao believe it’s important to engage without depleting one’s energy. The techniques are identical to that of Jiu-Jitsu where one uses the opponent’s energy against him or her. It is important to never speak over the person, be aggressive, or use sarcasm. Here are the following Wu-wei techniques
1. Keep using “I” statements
2. Repeat technique
4. Negative question
The “I” statement reinforces your stance and diminishes the manipulator’s power over you. For example, if someone forces your hand using the emotional tactic above you can say “I do not want anything to do with this, period.” This technique along with others can be coupled with the repeat technique to further reduce the opponent’s attempts to control one into submission. Clouding is only used on acquaintances or other people not closed to you. In a situation where you bump into someone and they’re looking for trouble reply “Sometimes I can be clumsy” and walk away. You should never have to apologize for making a mistake but at the same time denying it makes it worst. Asking various negative questions like “Why don`t you like about me going out?” will assist one to get to the core of the problem. This also allows the manipulator to get everything off their chest and drains the negative energy. This technique can be coupled with compromising with one another to show understanding and demonstrating equality in the relationship. It’s always important in any situation to have the desire to understand what’s truly wrong underneath the surface. Being considerate will slowly melt away at their external frame they present and allow one to see the problem as it really is. This last technique, sidetracking, is a manipulation technique so it should only be used when necessary. To sidetrack one has to choose a similar but more interesting topic that will draw in an individual asking the tough questions. For example, “Do you think I can ever find the right man?” to which you can reply “You know the right man is particular hard to find but why don’t we go to the coffee shop down the street this instance and start looking.” In this situation simply saying yes would have made it seem easy but a no would not boost one’s self esteem. Instead choose the middle ground where there right or wrong do not exist where everything “just is”. We all have expectations of the future but Zen frames itself around the water element. As you can see it heals the emotions and teaches one to live in the flow of life. I hope you have found Zen as powerful as I have and see the value of holding onto this trinket of information in your journey towards enlightenment.