Zen – What the Heck Is It?

Many people don’t quite understand what Zen is… they think it’s some new fangled thing (it’s not, it’s ancient), or that we chant all day while sitting crossed legged on pillows (we don’t). Maybe they think it’s a religion (it’s really more of a philosophy), or that we are totally calm in all situations (most of us are still learning and therefore are not).
There’s a lot to the meaning of Zen. Yet not much at all.

“Zen is not about never feeling sad, angry, joyful, or having fun; Zen is the understanding that by not clinging (or attaching) ourselves to these feelings, we can free ourselves from them and enjoy life to the fullest.”
~ from the book: Booyah! Spirit

We all lose our Zen from time to time…. Just last week I was stuck in a line of traffic for 30 minutes.  I waited very patiently singing to the radio and inching up in traffic.  When I got to an intersection… I needed to go straight because I was within 5 streets of my house… straight ahead.  Then the person directing traffic funneled all of us to the right.  This meant I had to go the long way — about 10 minutes of back roads — when I could have just went straight home in a minute.  After waiting 30 minutes and almost at my destination, I was now redirected.  And… running low on gas.

I totally lost my marbles, rolled down my window and screamed at the guy… let loose like a longshoreman at a bar.  Oh yes, I most certainly could have made a truck driver blush.  I turned right, I drove faster, I talked out loud to myself, and I could feel the anger in my adrenaline shooting like bursts of fire through my veins.  I totally lost it.  I came home literally shaking and told my husband… “OMG, I just totally lost my Zen!” and then relayed the entire story.  I began to realize how my heart was racing just like it did when the incident actually happened.  I also began to realize the guy was just doing his job.  I had a choice to make at the intersection, and it wasn’t about going straight or turning right.  It was about how to deal with a problem and whether to let it affect me.  The Zen of it is to understand and deal with emotions in a healthy and positive way, acknowledge it and let it go.  We all make mistakes.  It’s all part of the journey.

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