It can be hard to find meaning and purpose sometimes. We spend so much time working and being busy that we forget to stop and look inside ourselves to see what we really desire in life.
Fortunately, sages and mystics over the years have encountered the same problem, resulting in valuable wisdom we all can benefit from.
Zen Buddhism has contributed a huge deal to human thought on how we can live more peaceful and happy lives.
And today, we’re going to go through 11 of their most important pieces of wisdom that can help us all live better lives.
1) Focus on one thing
This is a simple but key point that symbolizes an important aspect of Zen philosophy.
Focus on one thing is what it sounds like: focus on the task at hand without getting distracted. Whatever is in your presence at that moment, dedicate your attention to it fully.
It’s been scientifically demonstrated that the brain simply cannot cope effectively with multi-tasking. It might feel like you’re getting more done, but in reality, you’re probably not and the quality of work is undoubtedly slipping.
If you can commit to one doing one thing a time, you’ll be more engaged in each and every moment and more able to live a peaceful and happy life.
2) Give it your all
To do something with every pulse of your being means to be fully concentrated on the present moment.
I’m not talking about tense, vein popping concentration.
Instead, I’m referring to focusing on the present moment with a peaceful and sustained concentration.
You’re here, living right now, fully engaged with whatever you’re doing, and there isn’t anything else to worry about.
3) Let go of what you can’t control
Letting go of hang ups is a huge part of Zen philosophy.
When you realize the impermanence of everything around you, you begin to let go and enjoy the world for what it is.
However, throughout our lives, so many of us naturally attach ourselves to relationships, material objects and circumstances in life.
But by wanting to keep these things fixed, we resist the natural way of change.
So, instead of continuing this trend, remove the friction by releasing attachments and allow yourself to flow with the universe.
4) Own only what you need
Many of us desire and accumulate unnecessary possessions like it’s an addiction.
However, according to Buddhist philosophy, it can be harmful to desire superficial objects. It doesn’t lead to much meaning in life and it can leave you in an endless process of desiring when the excitement of owning these material possessions wears off.
The more you can remove “things” in your life, the less cluttered you’ll feel.
This doesn’t just involve material possessions, either. You can ask yourself what’s really important in your life, and focus only on your highest priorities.
A simplified life is a more enjoyable and less complicated.
5) Keep in touch with your mental health
Check in with yourself once in awhile to make sure you are doing okay. Life is hectic and hard, and we can get caught up in the hustle and bustle pretty easily if we let ourselves.
You can also use this time reflect on what you’re consuming, who you’re spending time with and what you’re really doing in your life. Anything that isn’t adding to your life might be worth getting rid of.
6) Create order in your life
According to Buddhist philosophy, order is important because it gives us true freedom. Most people don’t see order this way, but that’s because of a misunderstanding.
Having a daily structure in your life allows you to focus on what’s important and organize time for yourself to simply relax.
It means being conscious of what we’re actually doing with our time.
7) Live as if you’re going to die
Many of us live our lives completely ignoring any thought that eventually we’re going to die.
But Buddhist philosophy says that this a huge mistake, because being aware of our impermanence can be a great source of joy.
We’ll appreciate our existence so much more because we’ll realize that we might not get it again.
8) Use your creative skills
It’s important to express yourself creatively. Whether it’s poetry, art, sport, or writing, using your creative skills can be a great source of living in the moment and actually enjoying your life.
It allows us to express ourselves fully and keep our emotional health in check.
9) Live the Buddha’s middle way
This basically means that we shouldn’t live in any extremes of life. Instead, we strive to keep a balance.
It’s an important principle that literally affects every part of our lives.
Think about two important factors of life: work and family. By following this principle, you dedicate equal amounts of time to each, rather than focusing too heavily on either.
10) Practice meditation
This perhaps most important of all when it comes to living a “Zen life”. Meditation allows you to connect with yourself and find true inner peace.
By spending 20 minutes a day meditating, you can learn to calm your mind and release any negative emotions.
11) Live your life in service of others
If a fulfilling life is what you are after, or if you want to add some unexpected joy to your life, work in service of others.
Nothing can bring you more peace and prosperity than putting someone else’s needs before your own.