Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it – Ray Bradbury

Zen is known as the religion of every day life. So many people, including me perceive daily life as a source of constant busy-ness, rushing around, stress and nose-to-the-ground grind. We normally think that real life must exist somewhere out there thus completely missing the present and what it has to teach us.

To be honest, I’m still learning this as I go along. Life is the best teacher of all. Most of the time, life does not talk to you. It will just push you around and each push is life telling you to wake up, there’s something I want you to learn here.

We seek out the spiritual life because we think that it is beyond our mundane everyday experience, but this could not be further from the truth. The truth is, every day life is the spiritual way.

If you’ve ever tried sitting meditation you’ll know how difficult it is to keep your attention focused on the breath. Trying to keep your attention focused for long periods of extended time is no easy feat. The monkey mind jumps from here to there but the practise is learning to be aware of when the mind is wandering, and gently returning it to your breath. 

The Zen mind is learning to be mindful of what you’re doing in everyday life. You bring this awareness from sitting to your daily routine. For example, every time you walk up and down the stairs in your house, simply pay attention to every step, every movement, even your breathing. Try to be totally present, be aware that your mind has wandered and bring your attention back to what you were doing.

This practise can help with anything. If I’m writing a blog post, my mind gets pulled in every conceivable direction, but then I take a step back and return to the idea and carry on writing. I also have to be aware of the urges to do something else or wandering mind to other things that may or may not happen in the near future. I struggle with wandering mind as much as anyone else but I’m gradually getting better at it. A reminder to be here and now.

Being in the NOW is important. There is no past and there’s no future. All there ever was, is the NOW – the present. We can gain experience in the past, but we can’t relive it but we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is going to be one or how it will all turn out. Don’t be too attached to that which comes and goes – is always fleeting. Awakening to this ground of awareness is what will lead you to your end goal.  

So then life is lived more fully by simply being in the NOW – the present. Life then becomes a meditation.

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