Zen Blog

This blog collects various internet feeds aimed towards information, experience and technique exchange in support of our shared spiritual journey.....

”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

Master Your Relationship to Time

By Leo Babauta

The truth is, most of us have a pretty adversarial relationship to time.

There’s never enough. We’re always behind. It goes by too fast. We can’t do important things because we don’t have enough time.

None of it is helpful. Most of it is bullshit.

Let’s take the first one: there’s never enough time. This is powerful because there’s some truth to it: time is limited and precious. We will die, and while we don’t know how much time we have left in this life, we do know that it’s limited. It’s helpful to remember that we must make the most of our limited time!

But time is also abundant. Think of the past few years — it might seem like they passed really quickly, but actually we had so many hours we can’t can’t them. We had a huge abundance of hours. Maybe we didn’t spend them wisely (I know I misspent quite a few hours), but we had plenty of time. We still do, today and this month and this year.

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Cut Through Addictions & Distractions: Feel the Discomfort & Uncertainty

By Leo Babauta

Our lives are pervaded with addictions and distractions.

Social media, shopping, favorite websites and video services, alcohol, cigarettes, biting nails, porn, drugs, sweets, fried foods, soda, coffee, gambling, gaming, workaholism, complaining, avoiding, procrastinating, perfectionism, fantasizing, rationalizing, self-hating, sex addiction, drama addiction.

These addictions are some of the most common ways we have of soothing ourselves when we’re stressed or feeling bad about ourselves or others. When we’re feeling anxiety, insecurity, depression, anger, sadness, pain. When we’re feeling overwhelmed, bad about ourselves, self-doubt, uncertainty, discomfort.

We sooth ourselves with our addictions, until it feels like we can’t stop.

The first step to dealing with the addiction, of course, is to recognize that it’s a problem. I remember rationalizing for years why it was OK for me to smoke cigarettes. And to overeat. And to procrastinate. So many rationalizations! It wasn’t until I was willing to admit it was a problem that change was even possible.

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Monkey Mind: Shifting the Habit of Feeling Distracted Throughout the Day

By Leo Babauta

Most people feel busy and distracted throughout the day — calm and focus and a feeling of purpose are fairly rare for most of us.

We’re jumping from messages to social media to email to quick work tasks to a search for something we’re curious about, from dozens of messages to dozens of posts to a couple doze browser tabs. All day long, one quick thing to the next, putting off anything that requires much more focus than that.

The term “monkey mind” captures this fairly well — our minds swinging from one branch to the next, jumping around without pause. It’s not quite accurate (monkeys rests a lot of the time, and it’s apes that swing from branches, not monkeys) … but the image is vivid enough.

This is actually how our minds are much of the time, but it can feel stressful and unfocused. Many of us would like a calmer, more focused way of being, at least some of the time.

How do we develop this kind of focused mind, able to come to rest?

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The Heartbreaking Effects of Being Only Partly Committed to Most Things

By Leo Babauta

If we’re absolutely honest with ourselves, most of us are only half-committed to most things — in many cases, much less than half-committed.

We say that we’re going to change our diet, but are we fully committed? Do we make a meal plan and buy the groceries and clear out the junk food and set time in our calendar to prep meals for the week and change our habit of eating out much of the time?

Do we feel so committed in our hearts that we’d bet our lives on it?

We make a commitment at work (to our team, client, partner) but we don’t fully show up. We get distracted, we procrastinate, we are only half in it much of the time. We do the same thing to the people we love — we’re only half there for them.

How often do we show up fully, with deep commitment?

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3 Steps to Deepen Your Mindfulness Practice

By Leo Babauta

Let’s imagine that you’re a reasonably healthy adult with all of your basic needs met, people who care about you in your life, and things you enjoy doing available to you … you should be pretty happy, right?

It turns out, even in this incredibly lucky scenario, most of us still struggle — stress, anxiety, frustration, overwhelm, letting ourselves and others down, disappointment, hurt feelings, anger, feeling like you’re always behind … it all creates a sense of unease that is not aligned with our fortunate circumstances.

So how do we go about enjoying life, finding a sense of peace and calm and purposeful focus?

I’ve found mindfulness practices to be the key. They’re not a magical solution to anything, but they do ease the suffering we experience in our lives.

Those of you who who have practiced meditation for awhile know what I’m talking about. Let’s look at a few ways to deepen into the practice, if you’re interested.

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