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Everyday Zen Summary – August 2022

Author: Charlotte Joko Beck

Short Summary
Everyday Zen (1989) combines spiritual enlightenment and absolute reality with the matters of everyday life. A person can apply the traditional Zen wisdom and be at peace with himself and everything that surrounds him.
everyday zen
Source: amazon.com

Detailed Summary

You might have read the term Zen plastered across several articles and self-help books. Although Zen cannot be properly described in concrete words, we can try to form an overview of it. Zen refers to the ancient wisdom that began in the sixth century in China. The verbal meaning of Zen is meditation and from that, we can deduce that Zen encourages its practitioners to form a personal relationship with their minds and a higher self that is outside of their bodies. Zen considers that all humans are already enlightened but sometimes they fall into oblivion and ignorance.

In Everyday Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck, you will learn to apply Zen to your daily life. By forming a bond with yourself and looking at things from a broader perspective you will begin to appreciate your life. Sometimes changing the perspective with which we perceive something helps us in making our lives better. You cannot change the outside world but you can change what you think, how you connect with your heart and your brain, and how you perceive reality. By practicing Zen in your everyday life, you will form better relationships and a better work ethic as well.

Everyday Zen Key Points

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness refers to the state of being aware and present both mentally and physically. It is no doubt that it is one of the most talked about aspects of the everyday Zen book. As we discussed the Zen lifestyle originated from meditation. A person can only connect with himself or herself if he is aware and present. By being mindful you stay in the present block out all the negativity, noises, and voices, and focus on one thing every day. Mindfulness reduces your tendency to overthink as you only deal with the things at hand.

 Through this, you become more composed and appear calmer. Your energy is retained and served for only crucial things. So, the next time your mind starts wandering, think about this quote from the Aware book by Daniel J. Siegel, “Having an awakened mind means using the mental processes of attention, awareness, and intention to activate new states of mind that, with repeated practice, can become intentionally sculpted traits in a person’s life.” 

Stay Grounded, Love Your Life, and Express Gratitude

According to the Zen philosophy or lifestyle, you must enjoy and be happy about where you are. Love the job you have, the place you can afford, the body shape you are in, and the circumstances that you are going through. This does not create a sense of false positivity as some might argue. This mindset will allow you to cherish the things that you have before they become the things you had. Think of this mentality in this way. The body you have, the food you can afford, the place you live in, and the job you wake up for every day are going to stay the same whether you like them or not.

 So, why not try looking for the positive aspects in everything that we have, enjoy them for their uniqueness, and express our gratitude for them? This will also make you feel good. And feeling good about what you have and where you are will give you the right motivation to do better. Do not grieve missed opportunities and failed chances. Everything that happens to you only takes you a step further toward your future.

Change the Way You Look at Decisions

Are decisions problems or choices? One of these interpretations has a positive connotation while the other one has a negative connotation. No matter who you are, every day you have tons of decisions to make. From the moment you wake up, you are confronted by many decisions. Should you leave the bed or stay in? What should you have for breakfast? What should you wear to work? Is walking ideal or do you need to drive? Back from form do you have any unfinished chores like doing groceries? These are just a few of the many decisions almost every adult faces no matter what kind of profession he is in.

What happens is that we think of decisions as problems. Problems that are just slapped across our faces. But if we start to think of decisions as choices that are offered to us every day, we will be able to tackle everything more maturely and without stress. Be glad that you have both options. You can either drive or walk to your office. When you think of a decision as a choice; you weigh your options. It is no longer a problem you need to be frustrated about. It is a choice and you have the freedom to choose the better one.

Everyday Zen Quotes

“Enlightenment is not something you achieve. It is the absence of something. All your life you have been going forward after something, pursuing some goal. Enlightenment is dropping all that.” ― Charlotte Joko Beck

“We enter a discipline like Zen practice so that we can learn to live in a sane way.” ― Charlotte Joko Beck

Everyday Zen Review

Everyday Zen is a beautiful read that will teach you the importance of living in the present and facing things with a brave heart. It is a light read that only stretches to a few hundred pages. Learn how you can connect with your inner self and stay mindful instead of grieving the past or worrying about the future.

To Whom I Would Recommend Everyday Zen

  • To the sixteen-year-old overthinker who keeps worrying about college and the future.
  • To the thirty-six-year-old who is having a midlife crisis and wants to connect back with their inner self.
  • And to everyone who is searching for ways to improve his/her spiritual belief.
Everyday Zen Summary - August 2022

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