People often think of Zen as a full-blown lifestyle transition. They think that if they aren’t willing to devote themselves to Buddhism, they aren’t doing it right. We disagree with this all-or-nothing attitude and argue that becoming Zen is entirely possible, regardless of religion. Although in this article, we offer five ways to find Zen as a busy mom, we know that all of these suggestions are applicable for anyone. 1. Understand Zen Itself
Zen is a type of Buddhism heavily intertwined with meditation. Derived from Sanskrit, dhyana means “meditation.” Zen is also a strategy to bring peace into one’s life. Zen offers a way to escape from words and the pressures of thinking. Instead, by noticing without judgment, we can see thoughts, feelings, sensations, and experiences as an observer. Thinking from this perspective allows us to temporarily exchange our reality with its ultimate form. 2. Find Moments For Zen
Now that you understand more about Zen let’s look at how we can incorporate it into the life of a busy mom. Say you’re a mom who works a 9-5 job and is responsible for getting the kids on the bus, making dinner, helping with homework, and cleaning. To incorporate Zen, you need to find moments to exercise self-care. Maybe you enjoy listening to Podopolo podcasts during your free time, or perhaps bubble baths are more your speed. Whatever you love, find ways to plan for even 15 minutes of it each day.
3. Understand How To Practice
Now that you have identified these brackets, we know when to practice. The first step in Zen is to create body-mind awareness. Begin by slowing down the body. Ask your body to relax, beginning with your head. You can say things like, “forehead, unwind, eyebrows, rest, etc., until you get to your toes. At the end, you should feel physically relaxed. You can also keep crystals around if you feel they’ll enhance your practice. The next step is to shift from a thinker’s mind to an observer’s mind. A thinker’s mind is the mind we know. We think our thoughts, engage and form insights. An observer’s mind means that you become the noticer. You notice your thoughts, feelings, and sensations rather than fuse with them. Creating this distance gives you a platform for peace. 4. Participate in the Activity
In our example, you have pinpointed getting ready for the day, driving to work, your lunch break, and nights as your Zen time. When you are getting ready, you can make time to relax. Using awareness, you can note what you are physically doing and cultivate a greater sense of calm. You can say things like, “I am brushing my teeth.” The awareness you gain from practicing noticing will help you disengage from chatter. During your lunch or nights, you can use your hearing to put your attention into a guided meditation as the observer. 5. Emphasize Observer’s Mind
As you are driving to work, you can focus on your surroundings and the feeling of your hands on the steering wheel and your back against your seat. Noticing promotes a sense of grounding, which helps to enhance stability. You can now drive to work with more awareness. If thoughts arise, you are to note them and let go. You are the observer; there is no reason to attach.
These strategies are applicable for everyone. The key is to find time to participate in Zen practice. The more you practice, the more you will perceive reality in this way. We are the thinker and the observer. You can choose when to tap into either state.
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