Identify your values. As you study your thoughts, you will find
patterns in what your mind is drawn to. These are your values, what is
most important in your life. This can include your family, your
religion, healthy living, kindness to others, or environmental
awareness. There are no right or wrong answers, just be honest with
yourself and your values will become clear.
2. Embrace your values. Once you are aware of your values, it is far
easier to live according to them. When faced with a decision, you can
compare it to your values, and see if it will bring you closer to
living your values, or will draw you away.
3. Develop inner peace. Zen mind does not struggle. It accepts life as
it truly is. A rock is a rock. It will remain that way no matter how
much you worry, wish, or pressure it into changing. The things your
mind worries about are the same way. Accept things for how they are,
and do not waste time or energy fretting over things you dislike.
4. Energize for change. Seemingly contradictory to point #3, Zen mind
can give you extra energy for change. You are not wasting energy
fighting against the inevitable. As above, there is a large rock in
your way. You have three options: run into the rock repeatedly, agonize
about the rock being in the way, or find a way around the rock. Before
Zen, most people choose one of the first two options. With Zen mind,
you accept the rock for what it is: an obstacle. You accept that you
cannot go through it. You do not panic, and waste time and energy
worrying about the obstacle. You instead make your own path around the
obstacle, either over the rock, around the rock, or under the rock.
5. Enhance knowledge of yourself. As you practice Zen, you will spend a
fair amount of time in meditation, listening to your mind ramble. In
time, you learn what quiets your mind, and puts you at peace. Listening
to the same fears repeating themselves in your mind will soon inspire
you to change what is causing those fears. You realize, for example,
that your job is a large source of anxiety, and it is time for a
change. Without meditation, we tend to ignore what our mind is telling
us, and remain locked into our old patterns of doing things.
6. Gain confidence. As you reflect on your inner self, you become
conscious of who you really are. You learn what makes you happy, what
is beneficial to your life. You bypass the fears and anxieties of your
mind, and do what needs to be done. You walk boldly, live passionately.
The opinions of others do not matter, because you know you are doing
what is right.
7. Appreciate life. You accept life as it is. Starry evenings, a stroll
by the river, or a night of solitude each have their own unique
characteristics to be appreciated. Mundane activities, such as
household chores or doctor's appointments, also hold their own charm.
Observing the quiet details of life lends value to the less appealing
aspects, and brings peace and joy in commonplace tasks.
8. Increase consideration for others. Each person on this Earth is
interconnected. We are all searching for peace, contentedness, and a
meaningful life. It is much harder to be angry at the person who cut
you off in traffic when you realize they are on the same path, just at
a different point in their journey.
9. Simplify your life. Meditation helps you differentiate between needs
and wants. Needs are the basics for survival, such as air, food, water,
clothing, and shelter. Wants are designer jeans, the latest electronic
gadget, or a mansion. You learn that you can live without the latest,
greatest thing. You begin to use your stuff as tools on your journey,
and not as status symbols or emotional crutches. The same holds true
for your commitments. Your to-do list can be culled down to the
necessities, such as caring for your family, providing for needs, and
fulfilling activities. It is far easier to say no to another
commitment, when your plate is full of the things you love and require.
10. Cultivate a giving spirit. When you are living the best life you
can, your heart fills with joy. You are doing what you were put on this
earth to do, and doing it to the best of your ability. Your life is
simple, you are living your values, and you have a clear mind. You can
then give to others with a loving spirit, to help them along their path.