‘Be Zen’ my friend said to me the other day when I was losing my head over something banal and not at all worth the energy. Indeed, as the quest to be zen continues to rise in popularity throughout this pandemic, increasingly people are seeking ways of purposeful living.
However, the truth is, no matter how much meditating, decluttering, and deep-breathing techniques you try, sometimes you’ll cross paths with a person (or several of them!) who will derail your best efforts of peace, oneness, and enlightenment.
The challenges of living in a vibrant society means that not everyone you meet will align with your quest to be zen. In fact, as we increase our interactions with people, we will also inevitably raise our chances of coming into contact with those who fall into the category of people we’d prefer to not be around (aka assholes).
How to be zen… Even if you’re really not feeling it
So is there a trick to being zen if you don’t get along with your colleague at work? My tip is to remember you don’t need to be best buds, but you do need to be polite or at least smile at them (it goes a LONG way). Given that we never know what’s going on in someone else’s life, avoiding judgement and simply smiling is a key component of being zen.
Adopting this approach allows us to move on graciously and reminds us that while everyone you meet doesn’t have to like you, it doesn’t actually matter – because the only person you need to worry about is yourself!
Taking care of your own needs, and knowing that you are a good person doing good things, is also a key step in finding, and keeping, your zen. So, having said that, I would recommend a number of techniques to empower you to be zen – and enable you to handle the most un-zen like situations life throws at you, with grace.
Being Zen: A beginner’s guide
Firstly, start your day with gratitude and intention by asking yourself these two questions: “What am I grateful for?” and “What is today’s mantra?” For instance, I would say to myself – “I am grateful for my health” and “my body is perfect just as it is”. What will you say to yourself?
Other useful techniques include practicing some gentle yoga stretches and perfecting your breathing by counting to four breathing in and counting to five breathing out (notice the rise and fall of your belly, as your breath and body move together).
With your mind and body set for the start of the day, what you do during the day is equally important.
When striving to be zen, it’s imperative to remember that everything that happens throughout your day impacts your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual senses. And while you may not be able to control a situation, your reaction to it is just as important to maintain the wonderful energy you worked so hard to create.
If you find emotions of anger or frustration arise during your day, just stop and notice your breath – slow and steady, four in and five out.
Be zen to the end
The reality is, we can’t always ‘be zen’ but the more we try the easier life is, and the better the world can become. In an ideal life we would find our tribe and make choices of who we spend time with. However, for those times we can’t, we can certainly choose how we react to them, and be zen in the process!