What if I told you that you could get daily lessons from the best Zen masters for free? This may be enticing for those of you searching for inner peace and happiness. More than enticing, it is a reality.
I believe Zen to be a great outlet for sustaining life-long happiness, so let me share this trick I have learned with you.
What is Zen?
To define Zen is to use words to explain an experience. At the very best a definition would serve as a reference point. However anything with a reference point is not Zen!
The most literal definition of Zen is “meditation” which gives little justice to its true nature. Zen is being intensely present in the here and now.
Zen is becoming aware and mindful. Zen is making a connection between what one does and is. Zen is connecting with the consciousness of the inner self.
A Zen master is a teacher of enlightenment. The Buddhism definition of enlightenment is the freeing of man from the endless cycle of personal reincarnations to which all men are otherwise subject.
The Best Zen Masters
I have met many Zen masters, all of which were unlinked with the human mind and the discontent it often brings.
These Zen masters all offered valuable lessons and lived in nature; ducks, deer, squirrel, frogs, and so on.
To experience Zen is to experience happiness. Have you ever seen a distressed duck, depressed deer, sad squirrel, or frog that had trouble enjoying life?
When you are out in nature observe these creatures and learn from them. I have learned some of my best lessons on happiness by doing this.
For example: Yesterday I went for a walk through Hueston Woods. I found a spot with a beautiful view facing the lake and decided to sit and enjoy all that surrounded me.
After some time a cute little squirrel approached and began hopping around in the leaves. This squirrel then fiddled around with some walnuts and after growing tired of doing that, climbed a tree and carried on with its life.
The squirrel was not concerned with being productive, was not stressing about the future, and certainly wasn’t having self-pity for its past. The squirrel was simply living in the present moment. I realized that I needed to start living in a similar fashion and began taking the steps necessary to do so. I am now better able to be fully aware of all experiences in life without the distraction of my mind.
Another example comes from an excerpt in a book I recommend you to read.
I have lived with several Zen masters – all of them cats. Even ducks have taught me important spiritual lessons. Just watching them is a meditation. How peacefully they float along, at ease with themselves, totally present in the Now, dignified and perfect as only a mindless creature can be. Occasionally, however, two ducks will get into a fight – sometimes for no apparent reason, or because one duck has strayed into another’s private space. The fight usually lasts only for a few seconds, and then the ducks separate, swim off in opposite directions, and vigorously flap their wings a few times. They then continue to swim on peacefully as if the fight had never happened. When I observed that for the first time, I suddenly realized that by flapping their wings they were releasing surplus energy, thus preventing it from becoming trapped in their body and turning into negativity. This is natural wisdom, and it is easy for them because they do not have a mind that keeps the past alive unnecessarily and then builds an identity around it. -Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
To increase your happiness make more time for nature and look for the hidden lessons found there. The animals will teach you lessons of Zen, while the trees teach you lessons of inner peace, stillness, and calm.
What lesson have you learned from nature?
Please share with us in the comments below!
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