Finding Zen really is not that difficult, it requires the right mindset, some discipline, a few pinches of motivation and being open to the Zen.
The first thing you need to do is clean your mental house. By this I mean, rid yourself of negative thoughts, living in the past, picking at mental wounds, and reliving the drama. You simply CHOOSE to stop this vicious cycle. It all starts in your head. This is probably the most important step in attaining Zen, so I’m going to spend a little time on this particular aspect.
First and foremost, no one goes through life unscathed. The sooner you accept that fact, the easier the rest of this mental process will be. It all comes down to how you deal with the difficulties that life throws your way. Do you let them dominate you mentally, control you and continue the pain, suffering, mental anguish, resentment or anger? Or do you accept that bad things happen to good people, learn from the ordeal and move on?
Unfortunately, for many, who have suffered in some way, either by their own doing or at the hands of another, perpetuate the pain and suffering by reliving it again and again. They are locked, mentally, in the past, prisoners in their own mind, of an atrocity they have suffered, and so, they are victimized again and again.
For others, it is a lesson…. a sometimes very difficult and terrible lesson, but a lesson nonetheless. They accept that this happened to them, they choose to not let this define them, and they pick their heads up and move on.
Freeing yourself from this type of negative grudge, only you can do. This door locks from the inside.
Once you can accept this way of thinking, the door opens, the pain subsides and you are free to move on with you life. You are choosing to not be a victim any longer. You are choosing to not live in the past. You are choosing to simply move on and live in the now.
Once you are here, mentally you are ready for Zen. Now meditation can begin. Start out by scheduling yourself 10 minutes a day for meditation. You can do it in your office, in your bedroom, in the bathtub, anywhere where you have 10 minutes of silence. Freeing your mind of the constant chatter will be a challenge at first, but focusing your attention simply on your breathing, breathing in and breathing out, will be helpful. As soon as you discover your mind wandering off to the duties of the day, refocus on your breath.
You will find meditation extremely relaxing. Studies show a wide range of empirical findings associated with meditation have been attributed to the state of “restful alertness” it is said to produce in the physiology, as indicated by decreased respiration rate, increased basal skin resistance, lower plasma lactate levels, lower cortisol levels, and increased global EEG coherence during the practice of meditation. Over time meditation reduces several cardiovascular risk factors including cholesterol, lipid peroxide, cigarette smoking, high blood pressure and anxiety. Over time meditation also results in better health as indicated by reduced illness rates, reduced doctors visits and reduced hospitalization. Meditation has also been shown to slow the aging process.
A book I highly recommend about mental awareness and well being is A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
Accepting Zen physically requires some sweat. Yes, I said sweat, because, caring for your body, and giving it the respect it deserves, means exercising it. This can be; aerobics, running, brisk walking, yoga, dancing, palates, cycling, martial arts, tai chi, swimming and many other forms of exercise.
By doing any number of these, you are caring for you body. It’s not about being the size 2. It’s about being whatever size is your healthy size. Where your body was meant to be.
When you exercise your body, you release endorphins that elate your mood, relieve stress and just make you feel better. It’s no wonder that people who care for their bodies have less issues with health related illnesses that can snowball and cause a multitude of other illnesses.
You need to plan 3 days a week, 30 minutes each time for exercise. Schedule it like you would a doctor’s appointment. You work around this standing appointment and try to never cancel it. Be sure to get in the three days a week faithfully, be faithful to yourself and have the discipline to continue even when you would rather skip the day.
Exercise can be done at your home, on your lunch break, at the gym, around your house. Some women exercise with their babies, some men, on their lunch breaks by running or walking. You can choose to take the stairs, instead of the elevator, to park farther out in the parking lots to walk the extra steps. This is where discipline is a necessity. Without it, you’ll never achieve where you would like to be physically. It’s just not possible.
My last tip would be to make an appointment at a local spa. Spa is more than beauty fixes and superficial powder-puff treatments. For example: a good massage, can relieve even the most tense of muscles, and soothe a cantankerous mood. It releases lactic acid build up from muscles that create tension and tension makes you feel bad.
A good facial can do the same. I’m surprised at how many people think spa treatments/facials are just fluff. It’s actually touch therapy. In a society today where people hardly touch- you’d be amazed what a facial can do for you mentally, not to mention the wonders it can do for your skin. And yes, this applies to the guys as well.
Pedicures and manicures are also wonderful- not just for good grooming, which is important, but just to kick back, relax, read a good magazine, sip a hot cup of tea and indulge in taking a little time for yourself.