Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.

Monday, April 30, 2012

A-Z: Zen - Much Like Obscenity

I find the idea of the Zen mind, of "Zen" in general, to be a lot like obscenity. It's hard to describe, but I know it when I see it.

This is a Zen thought, for example.

Source: via Pinterest

Too often we churn over the past, playing the game of "If only I had done/said this," beating ourselves up for whatever mistake we believe we've made. To what end? We didn't do or say that other thing. And if it was truly a mistake, certainly, let's take steps to repair any hurt we caused to others, but we can't undo the past.

(Mind you, it's not okay to keep hurting another person in the same way, and then using the excuse, "Hey, let's not linger on the past." If we truly can't stop continually hurting someone in a particular way, because of mental illness or bad habits or anything else, we need to get help.)

One way to "be Zen": To connect with a Higher Entity: Buddha, Jesus, God, Allah, Mary...

One thought: "Being Zen refers to meditating, reaching a peaceful state; to be one with the world around you and yourself."

In this video clip, there's reference to the stream. The idea of being Zen is to not be swirled up in the stream (of thoughts and emotions), but to be sitting peacefully beside it. "Look, there's a leaf, how interesting." To be a calm observer, who mindfully decides what, if any, actions or speeches to make.

Let's say someone says something to you that is terribly insulting, and your immediate feeling is hurt and/or anger.

If you are operating "in a Zen way," you don't immediately respond. You examine the feeling ("Oh, I feel very, very angry," or "Oh, I feel terribly hurt,") and then, after carefully observing and understanding the feeling, choose what action you want to take.
  • You may let the insult slide past, like water off a duck's back.
  • You may punch the other person in the nose.
  • You may tell the other person how angry you feel.
  • You may cry.
  • You may ask the other person for clarification, "What you said sounded very insulting, but I know, given the kind of person you are, you wouldn't deliberately insult me. Could you explain what you meant?"
  • You may turn your back and walk away.
  • You may calmly tell the other person how hurt you feel, and why.
  • You may do any number of things. Point being, you are deliberately, thoughtfully choosing what you want to do, not simply reacting without thinking.
I'm working on trying to "be more Zen," but I'm thinking, it's the work of a lifetime.

So, we've made it, from Anosognosia to Zen. Phew! Next week, May 8, we'll return to Too Perfect Tuesdays and the regular blog posts.

My A-Z theme is Issues related to Mental Health or Mental Illness.

Do you have comments on the idea of being Zen?
Is there a subject you'd like to see on this blog in the coming months?
Did you have a favorite post for the A-Z posts here?