Even though I’ve always been interested in Eastern philosophies, yoga, Zen, and Buddhist thought, it’s only been in the last six months or so–since officially committing to a lifestyle of peace and serenity generated by Zen-inspired techniques–that I’ve truly learned how beneficial pursuing Zen can be.  

My journey began as a need to stay sane in a profession that had gone a little nutty, but I’ve gained so much more than that since last summer.  It has made me calmer, more serene, and genuinely happier.*  I’ve also noticed a direct and positive impact not only in my performance in the classroom, but in my personal life as well. I know, because people have mentioned to me that they’ve seen the difference, too.

In the last sixth months, I’ve learned:

1. That everything starts with, and can be traced back to, The Breath.

2. That I don’t have to change my religion or spiritual beliefs to find my Zen (I identify as Christian).

3. That if I adopt a sense of Beginner’s Mind, I can learn from anybody, anywhere.

4. That birdsong in the backyard, which I’ve always loved anyway, can be rapturous and transcendent, if I let it be.

5. That meditation can happen anywhere and doesn’t have to take very long at all.

6. That I don’t just have to sit to meditate.  

7. That walking meditation is a thing. And I love it.

8. That Non-Doing is not laziness and, moreover, in healthy amounts can send you back to your life even more productive, because you are energized and renewed.

9. That subtraction is key. Sometimes it’s what we leave out that reconnects us to the essential.

10. That simplicity, as an overall approach to life and teaching, is freeing.

11. That discovering (and connecting to) The Present Moment leads to a sense of profound tranquility.

12. That it’s okay to start wherever you are and with whatever’s in front of you.

13. That creating space is a form of creating peace.

14. That not only is silence underused and underrated, but it is often in silence where we hear the deeper rhythms and longings of our souls.

15. That I don’t have to eat the whole muffin.

16. That listening to my body is a skill worth fine-tuning.

17. That detaching from anticipated outcomes leaves me open for even better potentialities.

18. That cleaning something can be a meditative experience.

19. That fast breaks are good breaks.

20. That small victories are good victories.

21. That there is a world beneath our world.

22. That everyone has five minutes.

23. That Zen isn’t a destination, but a way of traveling.

24.  That physical de-cluttering has mental and emotional ramifictaions. Good ones.

25. That everything starts with, and can be traced back to, The Breath.  TZT

*If this sounds appealing to you, I hope you’ll join me on this journey.  Please feel free to contact me, ask a question, leave a comment, or start a discussion.  I welcome all feedback.  At the very least, I hope you’ll keep reading because I am genuinely interested in helping you create your own place of peace and focus in the classroom.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Peace.  Dan