Lee and a curious calico crisscross the country in a RV, living simply and sustainably.

Now and Zen

Woke up twice today. First time in the wee hours, not unusual at my age. So thought for a while, journaled for a bit, worked through some emotional stuff, then cleaned out my bookshelf. Woke up again just in time to check out services at an inclusive church that starts Sunday mornings with a Zen meditation session.  Got myself ready, grabbed a granola bar, and filled my stainless steel water bottle.  And a few things to take out to the car. If I hurry, I might just make it before the opening gong… Crash! Splash!

The bottle opened and water pooled beneath the shoe mat near the door. Rats! Grabbed a bath towel to soak up the mess. Set the rest of my cargo on the floor. Sigh! I guess Zen is not meant to be this morning. The signs are there that I need to slow down and focus on Now.

English: Hindu Om symbol Español: Símbolo Om

I typically find myself rushing from one interesting pursuit to the next, arms overloaded with things I carry back and forth – things to sell at the Farmers Market, things I’ve traded or been gifted there. Things from my generous friends, things to go to other people. Things for the recycling cemter, things from the recycling stores.  So many things!

It’s not that I want the things or experiences to diminish; rather, I want to take my time, take just what I need, and take in the lessons throughout my day.  So for right now I’ll set down my things, sit, and meditate in stillness before shifting into motion again. I am reminded of first line of the yoga sutras which translates from Sanskrit to this phrase

Now. This is the practice of yoga.


Think:  What have you been carrying around with you that is weighing you down? Or too big to handle? Or time to let go of?

Say:  In your journal, make three columns:

1)      list the physical things you have to take care of today

2)      list the thoughts and ideas that you can’t let go of

3)      list the emotions you are carrying around

Do:  Drop everything. Stop. Sit. Breathe.

Comments on: "Now and Zen" (2)

  1. Michael said:

    Ahhh… what a perfect moment for Zen. “Chop wood, carry water.” Soak up spill.

    A favorite book of mine is by Charlotte Joko Beck, Everyday Zen in which she explains so well how to find Zen in our everyday modern lives. We may not be chopping wood or carrying water as was once such necessary tasks for mere survival, but we are always doing things, everything, which can be done in a meditative state. I try to remember that everything I do is an opportunity for Zen or Chan. I still forget too often though. LOL

    Another favorite, Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind reminds us to approach everything we do with eyes wide open, fresh, new as if we had never done it before with a “Beginner’s Mind” no matter how many times we have performed any given task. Sounds so simple yet in our modern world where we are scurrying to do so much it is so easy to rush through familiar things unaware to get to some other imagined destination.

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