The practice of Zen is essentially a practice to uncover the true nature of yourself from the inside out. Zen practitioners have developed tools to help them learn more about themselves which ultimately lead them around in a circle to a state of ‘not knowing’. In this state of ‘not knowing or beginner’s mind’ there is emptiness and it is within this emptiness that you are able to find peace. When we gaze lovingly at the zen designer homes with all that order and simplicity we can get a taste of the emptiness yet completeness of living the life of a zen master.
Here is a starter guide to living without;
Letting go: Filling your life up with stuff, thoughts, emotions, people, words, money is usually an attempt to fill some type of hole you have in your well-being. Take more of a zen approach and ask; What do I actually need and what can I let go of? De-cluttering is an easy start, getting rid of stuff you don’t need, but how about letting go of the following as well? Competing, blame, judgement,comparison, anger, worrying, regrets, guilt and fear. What purpose does it serve you to fill your life with these emotions and feelings? Can you clear a space in your mind to let the opposites of these flood and fill you instead?
Living simply: Keep what is essential to your life and purge the rest. I need to have yoga and writing and nature in my life. I need my family. The rest is just commentary.
“Before enlightenment chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” – Wu Li
Create space: Do less, schedule less, put more time between appointments. This doesn’t mean you do less. A zen practitioner would probably get up quite early and achieve alot. They know what is essential, when it should be done and how long needs to be spent on it.
Simplify your attitude to yourself; Do you need to fix yourself, be hard on yourself, change yourself or do you just need to be yourself? When we live our lives as our authentic true self then all the fixing and changing happens on its own.
Practice for today: When you empty your life of what is not necessary you make room for the important parts of life. What can you empty from your cup today?