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How To Live A Life Of No Problems

For most of us our lives are a problem which have to be solved. Everyday we wake up under the burden of new challenges facing us. We seek counselors and all kinds of consultants all in the hope of "figuring out" the best way to deal with the endless choices and complications which arise daily.

Our faith is placed in the rational mind, which offers endless strategies for success and for conquering the obstacles we are sure to face. Armed with these strategies and forever seeking more, most of us go through life uncertain, monitoring our progress, blaming ourselves for the failures and wishing we had taken a different road.

But this is not the way of Zen. As we learn the essence of Zen practice, our obsession with being in control, and analyzing each detail of our lives, slowly fades. A larger harmony takes its place. As we ease into it, oddly enough we become more aware and able to see what's going on around us. New possibilities then open up.

No Problem

Zen practice is the way of no problem, of being fully with each step we take, not looking backwards or forward, just being with each step fully, one hundred percent. This is the way of not second guessing ourselves.

Rather than make life into a problem, we see it as a wonderful adventure in which we learn, grow and thoroughly enjoy. In order to do this it is necessary to release ourselves and others from demands, images and expectations that have little to do with who we truly are. All experiences are welcomed and fully digested, not judged good or bad.

Zen Story - Master Hakuin And The Baby

There was a great Zen Master Hakuin who lived in a small hut, doing zazen. He was greatly revered in the village and known as a wise and saintly man. One day a village girl became pregnant. The father of the baby left town and she was alone and frightened. As she did not know what else to do, she told the entire village that Master Hakuin was the father.

All the townspeople shocked. They stopped bringing food and offerings. Instead of praising Haikuin now they blamed him.

"You are the worst of all beings," they said.

"Is that so?" replied Hakuin.

The baby was born the the village girl brought the child to Hakuin to be cared for. "This baby is yours," she said. "Is that so?" Hakuin said and took the baby gladly.

Hakuin cared for the baby lovingly for several years. Then, one day, the father of the baby returned to the village and wanted to marry the mother and take back the baby. They told everybody the truth about what happened.

The people were astonished. They all began to praise Master Hakuin and return to his hut with offerings.

"Is that so?" said Master Hakuin.

Soon after that the couple returned for the baby. "Is that so?"Master Hakuin murmured and game them their child lovingly.

Master Hakuin did not see a problem. He accepted all that life brought him. What seems good turns bad, what seems bad turns good. It is an endless cycle.

Separating Good From Bad

Part of the natural human condition is to be subject to suffering, pain, loss, anxiety, sorrow as well as times of joy, fulfillment and delight. However, when happiness comes we want to hold onto it, to keep it with us forever. When painful times come we want to push them away, numb ourselves, withdraw. But this is not the way of Zen. From the Zen point of view we must learn how to hold all of life in the palm of our hands. When we judge something as bad, we cut it off and discard it, not fully learning the lesson it has for us. When we reject bitterness in life, we also grow unable to taste that which is sweet. We become one sided and block out much of what life brings.

When we call ourselves a failure, we stop ourselves from learning. We label a small part of the experience, unwilling to allow the full meaning of what has to be revealed. However, as we start to live by Zen, rather than reject large parts of our experience, we see whatever happens as our friend. Not only does this bring peace of mind, but step by step we become strong enough to welcome all of life, rather than live in fear.

MOMENT BY MOMENT

Don't Turn Life Into A Problem
Stop Judging Everything Good Or Bad
Release Yourself From Unnecessary Demands
Do Each Action Completely
Then Do Something Else
Watch What Goes On
Everything Changes
Take What Life Brings
Say To Yourself "Is That So?"
Rest In Uncertainty, Don't Figure It Out
Let Life Tell You What Is Needed Now

Exercise: No Problem

Take a problem that troubles you.
Find five things you like about having it.
Find five things it brings to your life.
Find five things it takes away.
Find five others who share this problem.
Who would you be without it? How would you occupy your day?
Find another problem you'd like to have to replace it?
What would life be without all this?
Try it and see.

Discover the 2000 year old Zen secrets for being calm, balanced and positive, no matter what's going on in your life in Living By Zen, by Dr. Brenda Shoshanna, http://www.livingbyzen.com

Dr. Shoshanna is a psychologist, speaker, long term Zen practitioner and teacher, relationship expert on http://www.ivillage.com and author of many books including, Zen and the Art of Falling In Love, Zen Miracles (Finding Peace In An Insane World,) and many others.

You may contact her at topspeaker@yahoo.com
Her personal website is http://www.brendashoshanna.com

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