Zen: A Crash Course

After reading almost 3000 Zen tips, koans and pieces of advice in a book I was hesitant to begin but ultimately found quite beneficial, I did the last thing I imagined myself doing; I read the book again.

Barbara Ann Kipfer’s book, Self-Meditation: 3,299 Mantras, Tips, Quotes, and Koans for Peace and Serenity, was something I found incredibly useful, and reading it gave me a new appreciation of the wide spectrum of what mindfulness entails.

I also appreciated it’s formula for making a characteristically hit-and-miss topic foolproof; make about three thousand potential hits and no one will remember your misses. These are the 10 anecdotes that I found to be the most useful and insightful, most as as they appeared in Barbara Ann Kipfer’s book but a few reduced to their simplest forms.

  1. Focus on reality itself rather than your intellectual or emotional reactions to it.
  2. Take a long walk. Appreciate your freedom. There are millions of people in prisons and hospitals who would take profound happiness in your walk to class or your drive home.
  3. No two trips (or days) are ever the same. Appreciate the diversity of experience.
  4. Stop and fully allow yourself to grasp the situation you are in. Realise that you have the ultimate choice about what to do and not to do.
  5. Each day, spend some time quietly appreciating your wealth of talents and knowledge.
  6. You are a human being, not a human doing. You do not need to be in action or ‘busy’ to feel valid or comfortable.
  7. Counting your breath occupies your mind so that your mind does not occupy you.
  8. When you find yourself losing interest, just pick one thing to focus on. One sentence, one step, one breath. Your mindfulness will take you back into the present moment and carry you back into your activity or surroundings.
  9. See if you can drop everything for a moment.
  10. Disregard what you think of yourself. Act as if you were absolutely perfect. Behave in accordance with your own best standards. Do what you think you should. Do not be afraid of mistakes, they can always be corrected. Only intentions matter.

Get a hold of the book here; http://www.amazon.com/Self-Meditation-Quotes-Reminders-Wake-Up-Serenity/dp/0761139281

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