12 Reasons to Practice Zen While in Transition

Monday, February 08, 2016
Patty Minx
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Often we do not know what direction to move in when a sudden change happens in our life.  Everything that we counted on disappears and we find ourselves lost.  This is one of the signs for that in-between place we get caught in after an ending to something or someone in our life and the chance to make a new beginning.  The ending required doing something like tying up loose ends such as selling the house after my spouse died to making a new beginning in an apartment.  When I settled into my new living arrangements I kept asking "now what?"  I had reached an uneventful gap and was waiting for something to happen.  Time slowed down and at times, the days seemed terribly long and I was left with only memories of my marriage that was no longer.  I was in a place where I could do whatever I wanted and for awhile I did that.  After nine months of living in an apartment in Kansas, I abruptly packed up my apartment and took off for Asheville.  I entered another neutral zone after being here for a year and was inquiring how was I going to live out the rest of my life.  I returned to a familiar way of living it by becoming involved in another relationship.  Being in a relationship was something familiar and comfortable, but my spirit has not been totally satisfied.  I recognize that my past was longer than what the future now holds for me.  I even wondered at this time in my life if there was really another door that would open in my life.   I have found myself embracing the uncertainty of it all and rediscovering an old spiritual practice called zazen.  

Zazen comes from Zen Buddhism.  Zazen, according to Dogen is "the gateway to total liberation".  Putting it simply, zazen is sitted meditation.  I began investing some of my time by simply sitting and being.  Zen has become a tool for helping me to deal with the uncertainty I am still experiencing.   I discovered in the process that there are 14 reasons that practicing and living Zen can get make transition less difficult.

  1.  Zen is the most natural way to live.
  2.  Zen is about changing your life.
  3.  Zen teaches you to experience every moment as it is.
  4.  Zen is a study of self, looking at yourself closely.
  5.  Zen is looking closely at suffering in ourselves and others.
  6.  Zen is a practice of cultivating compassion.
  7.  Zen is a practice that leads to the discovery of our interconnection to others and life.
  8.  Zen is a vehicle for touching into the mystery, the impermanence and fragility of life.
  9.  Zen is about saving all beings; practicing good.
  10.  Zen helps you develope an attitude of curiosity.
  11.  Zen is not about doing or attaining something.
  12.  Zen is about waking up.