Four things to frame your life.
Devote time to sitting. In the life of a Zen monk, sitting meditation (zazen) is one of the most important parts of his day. Each day, there is time designated just for sitting. This meditation is really practice for learning to be present.
Smile and serve others. Zen monks spend part of their day in service to others, whether that be other monks in the monastery or people on the outside world. It teaches them humility, and ensures that their lives are not just selfish, but devoted to others. Smiling and being kind to others can be a great way to improve the lives of those around you.
Think about what is necessary. We often lose sight of what we really need beyond basic clothing, shelter, food. Now, I’m not saying we should live exactly like a monk — I certainly don’t. But it does serve as a reminder that there is much in our lives that aren’t necessary, and it can be useful to give some thought about what we really need, and whether it is important to have all the stuff we have that’s not necessary.
Live simply. If something isn’t necessary, you can probably live without it. And so to live simply is to rid your life of as many of the unnecessary and unessential things as you can, to make room for the essential. Now, what is essential will be different to each person. For me, my family, my writing, my exercise and my reading are essential. To others, yoga and spending time with close friends might be essential. There is no law saying what should be essential for you — but you should consider what is most important to your life, and make room for that by eliminating the other less essential things in your life.
“Before enlightenment chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” – Wu Li
Peace and Love, Jim