Zen is both a way of life and a philosophy. When people get absorbed in a beautiful scene or find serenity in the midst of a hectic life, they may describe the experience as Zen. People talk about living in the moment as Zen. If you are able to appear calm and rational when all hell is breaking loose around you, you may be described as Zen. These are a few examples of how Zen has crept into our language and our way of thinking. If you don’t practice Zen Buddhism, there are lots of ideas that come out of Zen that can help to bring you peace and happiness.
The idea that we are not separate from the universe is a helpful idea. People struggle with self esteem and they feel all kinds of angst and sadness because they think that what they are is damaged, flawed or just not good enough. Imagining that you are continuous with the universe and that the moon is as much a part of you as your foot, can help you see beauty and splendor in yourself that you might otherwise miss.
The idea that happiness is available to you, no matter what your situation, is a good Zen idea. It’s kind of like looking for the ketchup in the refrigerator. If you think that you may be out of ketchup you will stop looking and never look behind the milk. If you know that you have ketchup, you will keep looking until you find it.
The idea that a root of suffering is desire can help anybody learn to live with their wants. People confuse suffering with not having rather than wanting. When you realize that you can satisfy a desire by not wanting something, it gives you an option in trying to live with cravings.
If you don’t practice Zen, Zen ideas can enrich your life. If you want to practice Zen, meditate. See for yourself just what it is that you are.