How to Live a Life of Zen in a Modern World

Something ORd Made Odd

This is the first of 7 tips highlighting how you can benefit by embracing a Zen philosophy within your arts practice.

Firstly, I have no desire to become a Zen monk nor am I a Zen master; I am a creative person trying to live a fulfilling life in the Western world.  Like most of us, I could do with a little more tranquillity and peace in my days.  And if that takes mindfulness and a little concentration, I am all for it.

And what is mindfulness you ask?  Mindfulness is being present in everything you do, concentrating on that task alone.  This is not easy to do but the rewards are great.  Staying present keeps us in the moment and shuts out the jumble of thoughts which constantly attack us.  In this quiet present moment space, we are open to receive greater creative insights.  We sometimes do not realize it but this is a space of problem solving and lateral thinking.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Gently strive for simplicity, concentration and mindfulness in every activity.
  • Single task only, multi-tasking is not in the Zen vocabulary
  • If you’re watching TV, just watch it, if you’re bathing, just bathe.
  • If you’re eating, just eat, eating and walking is totally against Zen philosophy.
  • Do one task at a time, focus and be deliberate with it.

Taking our time, being deliberate, concentrating and focusing on the task allow greater creative insights to come to us.  And, as an artist, who could ask for more?

EXERCISE

Did you eat and watch TV today?

Did you do one task at a time today?

If you multi-tasked today, how can you manage this?

Do you think you may have allocated too many tasks for one day?

Did you leave a space between tasks?

If you are working, did you go outside or to another area for your lunch/morning tea?

Did you leave space after work before you commenced your next task?

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