Zen for Everyone | The BridgeMaker

Zen for Everyone

By on Feb 05, 2014

zen teachings

Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity. – Thich Nhat Hanh

Zen is simple: Zen is to live in the present moment; in the here and now.

Zen grew from Buddhism, but it isn’t a religion. To be clear, Zen doesn’t involve worship, prayer, or supplication to anyone or anything. Zen only requires a mental focus. You can be Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or even agnostic to receive its benefits.

Practicing proper Zen, or only practicing certain parts of Zen, will not be in conflict with your beliefs. In fact, Zen is a good way to expand your consciousness and it doesn’t require you to compromise your faith.

Zen to Prayer

After losing my brother, I started reading Zen teachings as a way to soothe my pain. It brought me peace, clarity and healing. Zen settled my soul and helped my faith become rekindled after I thought the flame was lost forever.

It wasn’t a replacement for prayer – it was a way to get my heart in a better state of mind to pray.

Zen offers the opportunity to strengthen my physical, mental, and spiritual health. To see if Zen can be helpful for you, here are 10 Zen teachings you can begin using in your life, too:

  1. Be Mindful
    Perhaps the greatest lesson in Zen is “mindfulness.” It is important to be aware of everything – aware of the people around you, about the environment and nature around you, and most importantly – you need to be aware of yourself.
  2. Have “No Mind”
    This is another principle teaching of Zen. You can approach all problems with an open mind, without pre-judgment and pre-conceptions.
  3. Take a Deep Breath
    Learning deep breathing skills is a physically healthy activity. It can strengthen your diaphragm and allow you to breathe evenly and deeply, which can release stress and anxiety.
  4. Meditate
    Meditation is one of the main activities practiced in Zen. It’s good for just about everything – clearing your mind, calming and relaxing you, building mental focus, and more.
  5. Don’t Take it Personally
    Unfortunately, sometimes you are criticized or taken for granted. When this happens to you, learn to let it go and move on.
  6. Be Thankful
    When good things happen, be sure to notice these things and appreciate them. Being grateful centers you and opens the door to welcome more good things into your life.
  7. Enjoy the Small Things
    Be aware of all the good things in your life. Feel the refreshing breeze against your skin and soak it in. Notice the smells and sounds. Drink your tea or coffee and notice how it smells, tastes, and feels.
  8. Be Positive
    Try to see the “bright side” of every situation. Don’t leap to negative conclusions or expect the worse from people.
  9. Relax
    Whenever you feel yourself getting upset or angry, it is important to breathe deeply and relax. Don’t let your emotions control you actions – you need to control your actions.
  10. Prioritizing
    Clear your mind and objectively analyze your problems and situation. When you approach a problem with a clear mind and some of your emotional passion removed, you can reach a decision without pressure and hassle.

The BridgeMaker Founder Alex Blackwell is the author of Letting Go: 25 True Stories of Peace, Hope and Surrender. Join the community to connect, share and inspire: Twitter | Facebook | More Posts

  • I absolutely will write more about Zen and its connection to my personal development. Thanks so much for reading!

  • I enjoyed this, and think it’s excellent that you took the time to clarify Zen. I encourage you to write further on how Zen did affect your spirituality, the interaction of these practices with your prayer – I, for one, am quite interested. 🙂

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