7 Ways to… Feel more zen

Embrace the peaceful essence of this Buddhist tradition.

Zen

by Phoebe Jawett |

Credit: The Art of Simple Living by Shunmyo Masuno (£12.99, Penguin)

TIDY YOUR SHOES

Disorder in your mind shows in your feet, believe Buddhists. So, when you take off your shoes, place them neatly by the front door. It takes seconds but by cultivating this habit, everything in your life will become inexplicably sharper and more orderly. From a Buddhist perspective, lining up your shoes represents you taking the next step towards where you’re going.

MAKE EVERY DAY A GOOD DAY

Buddhists say that ‘all days are good days’, meaning that whether good things happen, or bad, each day is precious because it will never come again. The goodness of each day is determined not by what happens, or who you meet, but by your own mind, which has the power to decide whether or not you’re happy.

HAPPY CLAPPY

When something happens that stresses you out, makes you feel ill at ease, or unhappy, clap your hands in front of you. This can instantly put you in a new frame of mind – a bit like when a film cuts to a new scene.

BE AN EARLY RISER

When we say, ‘I can’t, I’m too busy,’ our mind automatically becomes as hectic as we feel our life is. Wake up 15 minutes earlier, lengthen your spine, and take slow breaths from the point below your navel. Once your breathing is in order, your mind will naturally settle into stillness too. Look out of the window at the sky, and really listen to the birds. Just like that, you’ve created space in your mind.

MAKE GATES IN YOUR MIND

By creating gates in our mind, we form boundaries between one state and another – for example between work and home. There is a ‘mind gate’ on the threshold of your home, separating you from thinking about work when you are at home. Your car or train is the second gate and your place of work is the third gate. By acknowledging these gates, you are making distinctions which relieve stress.

MAKE TIME FOR EMPTINESS

For just 10 minutes, clear your mind of everything. Various thoughts will float into your mind but try to send them away one by one. Making time for not thinking about anything not only brings a sense of peace but reveals your honest self.

DISCOVER ANOTHER YOU

Zen Buddhism teaches the importance of not labelling ourselves this or that kind of person. There is another you within yourself, and this version of you is freer than the self you think you know and full of potential that isn’t held back by limiting self beliefs.

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