Thursday, April 30, 2020

Z for Zen - My favourite things to counter COVID-19 stress

(This post is part of the A to Z Challenge. This is the 26th and it concludes this series, wherein I wrote on activities or ideas that keep me refreshed during these depressing days.)

For about a month now, I have been exploring Zen, a Japanese lifestyle that emphasises simplicity, straightforwardness, peace, calmness, enlightenment, equanimity, meditation, etc. The first time I looked up the Internet, I was drowned in the ocean of information on the subject.

There are multiple aspects to Zen which I am still getting myself acquainted with. I can't call myself as someone who is fully into it. But I am reading up about it and practising some elements of it.

An important aspect of Zen is meditation (common to many other practices similar to Zen) in which breathing is the key. But here is it not the strenuous form of breathing, instead, one "observes breathing" by counting inhaling and exhaling.

Another aspect of Zen is being in tune with reality. and coming to terms with what is present now, and understanding it with calmness. It helps to resolve any problems by addressing it directly.

Being in harmony with nature is another element. It's not always possible to be 100% in tune with nature. But I guess, the aim to do as best as we can.

For me, Zen is just another method to be in the present, to be calm, purposeful, at peace with the surroundings, both people and things. And this is a time, like never before when we have been forced to look inwards, reevaluate our priorities, our repurpose our journey of life.

36 comments:

  1. Zen seems quite a challenging lifestyle to practice- Nevertheless must be highly rewarding.

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    1. Hi Viyoma - I have found the underlying principles quite interesting, but I am still exploring the different facets of it.

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  2. I know about this zen meditation center in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu - Bodhi Zendo. You may look it up if you are into Zen :)

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    1. Hi Sinjana - I shall look this up. Thank you. :-)

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  3. Congratulations on successfully completing this year's A to Z Challenge.

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  4. You tempted me to explore Zen Pradeep ji.
    Though not regularly, I have been visiting your blog quite often and the posts kept me hooked and wanting to come back again to discover the new snippets.
    Heartiest congratulations on successful completion of the challenge. Wishing you a great time with your writing spree in future too. Cheers

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    1. Hi Anagha - Thank you. And wish you the best too :-)

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  5. Hari OM
    As an Advaitin, I apreciate the concepts of Zen! Congrats to you for running form A to Z with flair and a sense of happiness. YAM xx

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    1. Hi Yamini - Thank you. Glad to know about your interest in the classical Indian philosophy of Advaita, which has a Kerala connection in the form of Kaladi, where Adi Shankaracharya was born. However, I must confess my knowledge of these subjects is very rudimentary.
      Thanks for reading all my posts in April and taking time to jot down your comments.
      Take care.

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  6. Since you mention Zen and since you are a writer, I will recommend this book to you Pradeep: Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. She finds her zen through her writing practice.
    Another book that is a wonderful read is called 'Paradise in Plain Sight' by Karen Maezen Miller.

    Thank you for your A to Z posts. They brought a sense of comfort and solidity at a time when we are all facing such uncertainty.

    Wishing you good health and creative energy.
    Regards
    Arti

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    1. Hi Arti - Thank you for those suggestions. I will check them out.
      And thank you for reading my posts and taking time to comment. Take care.

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  7. Zen is the perfect word to end your challenge ;) I enjoyed a lot your posts, and thank you for being such a regular reader of mine ;)
    Take care, stay safe.
    Z is for Zakka

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  8. Zen gardens can be quite calming. Although, what popped into my head while reading this is the famous tome on the subject, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

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  9. A few years back, I read a book on Zen practices. It was an eye-opener for me.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Hi Rajesh - Yes, it is an interesting subject to read about, understand and put in practice at least some of the principles.

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  10. Thank you for the many helpful practices and suggestions on coping with Covid-19 this month. Congratulations on getting through A2Z!

    Zen is similar to philosophical daoism, but Zen is more of a religion with specified practices. Daoism is more a way of looking at the world.

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    1. Hi Jade - Yes. Interesting that these are all about ways of life rather than strict of codes of conduct. Thanks.

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  11. I have read a lot about implementing ZEN lifestyle, be a Zen parent. In the start it does seem difficult but it is a great way to calm down your life.

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    1. Hi Jhilmil - Sounds very like that. I am just trying to understand more about it. Thanks.

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  12. Working on getting zen at all is worth it. Great post.

    Congratulations on reaching z.

    I hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy during this difficult time.

    J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

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  13. Be at peace with the surroundings, both people and things. Understand the present, change things for the future if you can. Meditate. Allow brain rest from your side. Zen living. Good living. Thank you.
    Congratulations for successful A to Z Blogging.
    ZF Friedrichshafen - Industrial Engineering Activities and Jobs - Value Engineering - Supply Chain Cost Reduction Strategy
    IE practice in Top Global Engineering Companies.
    Industrial Engineering Practice in Top Global Manufacturing Companies - Top 100

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    1. Hi Narayana - That's what we need, is it not? Thanks for visiting my blog and for the comments.

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  14. I read about Zen more years ago than I care to think about and whilst I dont practice it consciously, I think some of the ideas inform my approach to life. I will continue to visit your blog now the challenge is done - it is great to have a link to anyone outside the US/UK axis of whatever and from India in particular...

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    1. Hi Freewin - Yes, all these philosophies have many interesting points to learn, and like you said, may be we can practise some of them, if not everything.
      Thank you for your kind words.

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  15. I like the principles of looking inwards, be with nature, live in present, meditate...this is all we do in Yog as well..it sure calms one down
    Congrats on finishing the A2Z challenge..I recently came across your blog and will read the previous posts soon...after I have tried the wheat dosa :-)

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    1. Hi My Space - Yes, many of these practices are basically about meditation, breathing, calming down, destressing etc.
      Do let me know after you have tried the wheat dosa :-)

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  16. Even in India, we have focus on our breaths & inhalation & exhalation. Of course, we need to be aware & live in the present.
    Covid19 has made so many realize this...

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  17. Hi Anita - Absolutely. The environment in which we live is also a part of our existence. It's a truth that the pandemic has taught us.

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  18. I find watching our pet cat very Zen. ~grin~ Congratulations on finishing the challenge with such clever and timely posts. Be well!

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    1. Hi Darla - Anything can give that Zen feeling, I guess.

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  19. Congratulations for completing the A-Z April 2020 challenge. I like the word Zen.. I was thinking of posting on Zen too.. but changed my mind in the last minute. You summed up beautifully what Zen is - being mindful of moments, breath remains the focus,calmness, peace, tranquility all associated with Zen. Thanks for sharing.

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  20. Congratulations on completing the A to Z and thank you for visiting my posts. My favourite own quote is Go with the flow, Be Zen and let it go. Being peaceful we are less likely to panic. Om Shanti.

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    1. Hi Suzy - Thank you, and felicitations to you too for completing the challenge. Thank you for visiting my blog and for your comments.

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  21. I've been doing a lot of yoga and meditation while under stay at home orders. I definitely think it helps stay calm and ground when there is a lot of uncertainty. Congratulations on finishing your A to Z Challenge!

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    1. Hi Lynnette - Yes, those are perfect for these times. Take care.

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  22. Hi Pradeep - good for you ... I've often started meditating and getting no further - but the learning aspect is always incremental isn't it - so your post is interesting. Congratulations on finishing the A-Z too ... take care - Hilary

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