Zen Habits

Zen habits refer to a lifestyle designed around Zen Buddhism, a discipline that is similar with respect to Taoism, Vedanta and Yoga practices. Zen means "meditation" in Japanese. As an ancient spiritual technique, Zen is based upon a belief system that helps people find their true and natural following. Zen is also a school of Mahayana Buddhism that teaches the attainment of enlightenment through experimental wisdom and meditation.

  1. Meditation. The art of meditation is incorporated by those who live their lives using Zen habits. Zen Buddhists use meditation to focus on quieting the mind and accessing self-induced modes of consciousness for spiritual benefit. The Buddhist lifestyle includes many different forms of meditation. Practitioners teach meditation as a personal practice which can be done individually and alone. The object of meditation usually involves cultivating a compassionate and serene internal state of being.

  2. Lifestyle Simplification. Zen habits incorporate a different view of life which focuses on what is expressed in China and India as a “way of liberation.” Simplifying life by becoming less dependent upon money and non-essential material things is one of the aspects that is embraced by those who participate in the Zen way of life. For example, living under your means, recycling and wasting less resources plays a pivotal role in lifestyle simplification.

  3. Focus on What is Necessary. After paring down your life, it is important to think about what is necessary. For example, a Zen monk’s life consists of living with what he needs. While it is not expected to live exactly like monks, the way they live is a reminder of how to assess whether or not to engage in an activity or process. Zen habits in this regard consists of understanding the "why" behind our actions and using it as a way to make decisions.

  4. Live With Purpose. Zen habits incorporate using your talents to serve others in the best way possible. Zen monks spend a portion of their day serving people, including those in outside communities. Through this action, we learn humility and ensure that we do not live selfish lives. Service to others usually includes your family, job, community and the world.

  5. Be a Positive Force. Regularly choosing to be a positive example in society is a function of Zen habits. Exhibiting kindness to others serves to improve your life and the lives of those around you. Positive actions can include everything from communicating effectively by example to performing charity work in your community or on a world-wide basis.

Essentially, adopting the Zen habits lifestyle consists of breaking the habitual tendencies toward addictive, destructive and dysfunctional behavior. Rather than focusing on ego-driven activities, Zen habits suggest giving back to the community and others who are underserved. It is believed that doing this creates a better life for you, those around you and the rest of the world through inter-connectedness.

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