Because Zen makes sense

Archive for the category “Tao”

Into a New Year

Life is a continuing learning process. The day I stop learning, I become dead, even if I am technically still alive. So what I have learned in 2014 worth bringing with me into 2015? It is to much to mention it all. Something is worth emphasizing, though.

1. I must try to avoid working so much. This autumn in special has been overloaded with work according to my preferences. I can not blame anyone else but myself. Trouble is that I can turn almost everything I am interested in into tasks and missions. My boss and my colleges encourage my initiatives, but they also make it clear that my workload is my own responsibility. So in 2015 I shall have to kill some of my darlings to be able to mindfully focus better on choose tasks. At least that is what I am hoping to do.

2. I have had a naturist year. I have never been shy, but in 2014 I mindfully explored naturism and my own limits. I liked the feeling of being nude in nature, feeling both the vulnerability and the connectedness to the environment surrounding me. I am wondering why the most natural of all, namely our own bodies, should be hidden behind clothes even when nudity seems to be more comfortable. I accept that others have different social norms, so I tried not to provoke anyone with my naturism. My partial naturist life shall continue in 2015, but I must admit that, with minus 15 degrees Celcius outside, keeping warm is more of a challenge than nudity for the moment being.

3. I shall finish my book on mindfulness. This is a book I have started on several times, but never finished. This time I have found a format that suits me better, so the project is actually moving forward. Much is already written about mindfulness, so many shall question the need for another book on the topic. My reason is that while there are many books, I find that most of them do not have the necessary critical and scientific approach to the topic. Mindfulness is not the answer to every aspects of life. But used in the right way, it may create a big difference to the quality of life.

4. I started working seriously with ecology as a basic understanding of human life. Not the least I shall highlight the ecology of mind, the interconnectedness of all beings, and the need for harmony with the Tao. Since I work with brain functions, psychology and addiction, I shall try to better put all these phenomena into a framework of ecology. The implications of such an understanding is immense in the field of anthropology, development and treatment of addiction and psychological distress.

5. While I am used to communicate the need for mindfulness and harmony with Tao, I myself have a long way to go regarding both mindfulness, insight, harmony and loving kindness. Meditation and training shall continue to be an important part of my life also in 2015. Curiosity and exploration shall hopefully be a framework around my life in the year to come.

I do not have any special expectations in front of a new year. I have to accept whatever 2015 brings. Nevertheless a mindful review of 2014 is useful, and thoughts about 2015, could be a guideline for how I prefer to conduct and prioritize the next year.





Connected Concepts

I exist. Existence is nothing but change. All change is interconnected, and comes from what is. All that is, comes from Tao. Mindfulness is an unconditional awareness of what is.

Zen is concentrated focus. Mindfulness meditation is unconditional and focused experience.

To my understanding.


Your Yin Yang Mind and Inner Child

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Raed more/listen at  http://davidjameslees.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/your-yin-yang-mind-and-inner-child/



End of a Vacation


The  Nordic summer is fading, – slowly, but unstoppable. We are hoping for a warm start of the Autumn, but mindfully we have to accept whatever emerges. This summer is the first in years that I have not travelled away, except for some minor “excursions”.

The Master understands without leaving,
sees clearly without looking,
accomplishes much without doing anything.

Tao Te Ching, McDonnald translation

This summarizes my summer pretty well. Apart from being a part time naturist this summer, i a very suitable weather for dropping the clothes, the summer has been a time for mindful approach towards all those minor incidents and experiences that we meet in our own houses and gardens.

Healthy food, physical fitness training, social life with friends, some relaxed gardening, fixing the house, emjoying the nature around my place (both dressed and undressed), sleep, being together with my family, reading and listening to music have made up my weeks away from my job. And the result is well being, a restoration of mind and body, and a longing for work and the usual daily rhytm.

I have all summer tried to remember a lost password, without sucesess until this morning. What happened today, was that I had accepted that I the password was gone for ever, but with that acceptance suddenly the password popped up in my memory. It was just like it had never been lost at all. Perhaps leaving all our efforts makes everything more possible, just as expressed in the last cited line for the Tao Te Ching.

My summer has been a wonderful summer, even without leaving home.

The Zen of .., the Tao of .., and mindfulness


Before the universe was born
there was something in the chaos of the heavens.
It stands alone and empty,
solitary and unchanging.
It is ever present and secure.
It may be regarded as the Mother of the universe.
Because I do not know its name,
I call it the Tao.
If forced to give it a name,
I would call it ‘Great’.

Because it is Great means it is everywhere.
Being everywhere means it is eternal.
Being eternal means everything returns to it.

Tao is great.
Heaven is great.
Earth is great.
Humanity is great.

Within the universe, these are the four great things.
Humanity follows the earth.
Earth follows Heaven.
Heaven follows the Tao.
The Tao follows only itself.

This is from Tao Te Ching, the McDonald translation.

We read about the Zen of …, the Tao of …, and it sometimes seems that the terms are used interchangeably. And also the terms Zen and Mindfulness often seems to express the same thing. That’s right, and that’s wrong. With the figure above, I have tried to sort things out a bit.

As a firm foundation we find the Tao, the way, or the principles behind everything that exists. Tao is the eternal laws, the sustaining force of the universe, of the earth, and of all life. We can not avoid it, because it is everywhere. We can try to fight it (humans do all the time, just look at what we do with the Earth), but we shall always loose in the end. What can seem like a victory, is a deception. It’s called Tao, some would say physics, others would call it God. Whatever it’s called, our existence is based on it, our daily life is controlled by it, and in that sense we are all “taoists”. And to my opinion the good life originates from harmony with the Tao.

The “Tao of ..” is unavoidable, but in daily use the term means how to live in accordance with “the Way”. That everything is interconnected, is not any longer just “eastern philosophy”, but reflected in the quantum physics. I shall not go in to the links between Tao and physics in this post.

But since “Humanity follows the earth”, we somehow should try to catch or own reality, and not live in deceptions governed by our experiences from the past, or our worries about the future. All there is, is this moment. Everything else is mental constructs with no actual or inherent reality. And to grasp our own reality, we have to be aware. If that awareness is open-minded, with no judgments, we call it mindfulness. Remember my definition of mindfulness?

Mindfulness is an unconditional awareness of whatever emerges

To reach that kind of awareness that we name “mindfulness”, we have to train our mind. Our brain is hard-wired to accept deceptions as reality, blocking the real experiences. The mind has to be trained, just as our bodies need physical training. And that training needs focusing, on the breath, on our body, on our thoughts etc. That is Zen meditation. Zen meditation require focus, not a forced focus, but an effort to stay in a focused mode, not letting the thoughts wander freely. Zen means a deliberate focusing. The “Zen of ..” means focusing on, and trying to grasp the reality behind whatever we focus on.

But there is a continuum between zen and mindfulness, and we can not experience the one without the other. There is awareness is zen, and there is focusing in mindfulness. The circles overlap to a large degree, and in practical life we usually shift between them, with the formal meditation being more of zen, and a life filled with awareness being more of mindfulness.

I don’t know if that makes any sense to anyone but myself. This reasoning helps clearing my own thoughts, and to me that is the most important.

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