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Tao & Zen

15 practical steps Thay says we can take to bring mindfulness to our work

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1. Start your day with 10 minutes of sitting in meditation.
2. Take the time to sit down and enjoy eating breakfast at home.
3. Remind yourself every day of your gratitude for being alive and having 24 brand-new hours to live.
4. Try not to divide your time into “my time” and “work.” All time can be your own time if you stay in the present moment and keep in touch with what’s happening in your body and mind. There’s no reason why your time at work should be any less pleasant than your time anywhere else.
5. Resist the urge to make calls on your cell phone while on your way to and from work, or on your way to appointments. Allow yourself this time to just be with yourself, with nature and with the world around you.
6. Arrange a breathing area at work where you can go to calm down, stop and have a rest. Take regular breathing breaks to come back to your body and to bring your thoughts back to the present.
7. At lunchtime, eat only your food and not your fears or worries. Don’t eat lunch at your desk. Change environments. Go for a walk.
8. Make a ritual out of drinking your tea. Stop work and look deeply into your tea to see everything that went into making it: the clouds and the rain, the tea plantations and the workers harvesting the tea.
9. Before going to a meeting, visualize someone very peaceful, mindful and skillful being with you. Take refuge in this person to help stay calm and peaceful.
10. If you feel anger or irritation, refrain from saying or doing anything straight away. Come back to your breathing and follow your in- and out-breath until you’ve calmed down.
11. Practice looking at your boss, your superiors, your colleagues or your subordinates as your allies and not as your enemies. Recognize that working collaboratively brings more satisfaction and joy than working alone. Know that the success and happiness of everyone is your own success.
12. Express your gratitude and appreciation to your colleagues regularly for their positive qualities. This will transform the whole work environment, making it much more harmonious and pleasant for everyone.
13. Try to relax and restore yourself before going home so you don’t bring accumulated negative energy or frustration home with you.
14. Take some time to relax and come back to yourself when you get home before starting on household chores. Recognize that multitasking means you’re never fully present for any one thing. Do one thing at a time and give it your full attention.
15. At the end of the day, keep a journal of all the good things that happened in your day. Water your seeds of joy and gratitude regularly so they can grow.

– Thich Nhat Hanh
“15 Practical Ways To Find Your Zen At Work”, Jo Confino – The Huffington Post.

There is no Buddha, no spiritual path to follow, no training and no realization

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“Friends, I tell you this: there is no Buddha, no spiritual path to follow, no training and no realization. What are you so feverishly running after? Putting a head on top of your own head, you blind idiots? Your head is right where it should be. The trouble lies in your not believing in yourselves enough. Because you don’t believe in yourselves you are knocked here and there by all the conditions in which you find yourselves. Being enslaved and turned around by objective situations, you have no freedom whatever, you are not masters of yourselves. Stop turning to the outside and don’t be attached to my words either. Just cease clinging to the past and hankering after the future. This will be better than ten years’ pilgrimage.”

(Zen Master: Lin Chi [Jap. Rinzai], Founder of the Rinzai School of Zen Buddhism, Died 867).

Vows

26231500_1068272843324451_8867248289443846923_n“I didn’t want to think it.” “I didn’t mean to say it.” “I didn’t intend to do it.” How many times have we said these or similar words to ourselves or others? When we entertain unwelcome thoughts, utter words that should remain unspoken, or do what should be left undone, we have allowed our wrong views and afflicted emotions to drag us into committing unskillful acts.

When we act (in thought, word, or deed) impelled by attachment, aversion, or indifference, we are living by karma. We are slaves to physical, emotional, and mental tendencies that are, in turn, the product of our previous acts. We are indentured to the past. We are not actors, but re-actors, constantly forced by external circumstances to conduct ourselves in ways we may come to regret.

Some are of the opinion that making Vows restricts or negates freedom. However, the ‘freedom’ to be bound by desire, to be led here and there by the dictates of body and mind, is not freedom at all. It is abject submission to mere mood, habit, and circumstance.

The Bodhisattvas, on the way to enlightenment, refuse to succumb to the sway of karma. Bodhisattvas are guided by Vows: the intentional adoption of guidelines that align us with the Dharma and advance our spiritual cultivation.

To live by Vow —to decide for ourselves what thoughts we will entertain, what words we will speak, and what deeds we will perform— that is true freedom.

Understanding and Love are not two separate things

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“Understanding and Love are not two separate things, but only one. To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all living beings with the eyes of compassion.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

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