I often write as if Zen and relaxation are the same thing, but they’re not. Using relaxation to enter the idea of Zen is a good touchstone, though, because if people are not relaxed, they will never understand what Zen has to offer. 

It’s impossible to define a philosophy that started in 6 A.D. in the roughly 250 words I give myself here, and yet I hope each of my posts sheds a bit more light on the cave wall so we can at least see the drawings.  

Some of Zen’s attributes include:

–paying close attention to the present moment
–attention to the breath
–seeing things as they are
–experiencing life undistorted by thoughts, biases, worries, and judgments
–meditation and reflection
–compassion and gratitude
–recognizing intuition
–understanding that Right Now is all we have

But in our Facebook, Twitter, texting world, starting with relaxation is kind of a necessary abbreviation that–while not completely accurate–can lead us toward a larger vision of Zen.  So if you’re new to Zen, you might want to start by:

–listening to music
–going to a park
–watching a sunset
–watching the ocean 
–being still

I have often presented these activities as a short-hand for learning to place your attention on peace and the present moment.  I hope the purists will forgive me.  TZT