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The Truth About Life's Challenges (Living By Zen)

By Brenda Shoshanna

"The great gate is open, but travelers seek everywhere Eshin

In the midst of our lives, hungry, thirsty and often weary, there comes a moment when we stop and wonder, "Is this all there is? Is there another way to live my life that will bring the joy and contentment that eludes me? Caught in the patterns of our lives, each of us has an intuition of something beyond the way we are now living. This something has the power to dispel sorrow and transform our lives into one of wholeness and joy. It has the power to heal division and offer the strength, compassion and refreshment we all desire.

This is what happens as we live from the wisdom within, our true nature, the essence of who we are. Rather than seek to fulfill everyone else's beliefs and expectations, when we turn within for wisdom and guidance we have a way of seeing things differently. Rather than respond automatically, we are true to ourselves, to our own perception and vision and then have the opportunity arises to look at the world through fresh eyes. As we do this, we can often grow like flowers, planted in the soil of our daily concerns.

This may also be called, living our lives from the inside out, trusting ourselves and our own intuition. As we begin to do this, we develop a new way of knowing and of being in the world. We do not analyze, explain or justify what happens. Rather than try to mold or control our experience, we simply make friends with it, become acquainted, let it instruct us and be our guide.

First Steps

As we embark upon this pathway, there are certain pointers and warnings which are helpful. Some are listed below: As they become part of your daily lives, you will easily and naturally see how your relationships benefit as well.

Pointers and Warnings

Take a deep breath. We are not going anywhere fast. In fact, we are returning - back to our original home. Put down fantasies, hopes, expectations for a moment. Just simply learn to be where you are. Sit still without moving, and take in all that is going on now. Don't judge it, hate it, push it away. Be with everything, just as it is. Including yourself.

Pointer 1 - Stop Looking For A Quick Fix

A great danger in our lives is looking for a quick fix, believing there are all kinds of wise ones around who have the answers for our lives. That is not the point here. As they say, "Don't put a head on your head. What's wrong with your own, anyway?"

Pointer 2 - Give Up Unnecessary Pressure

Most of the time we create all kinds of goals and drive ourselves crazy to reach them. We measure our progress, compare ourselves to others, judge ourselves relentlessly. This is not our way. Here we focus upon each breath, each day, each moment and experience it totally. One complete breath brings the next. This path is made by walking.

Pointer 3 - Go Back To The Beginning

Many are constantly seeking more and more, exploring new territories, ideas, relationships. They then feel they are advancing and gaining ground. However, many rush forward without really knowing where they are going. Once they arrive, they quickly set a new destination and start rushing to it again. Our way is to return to the beginning. We stop, sit down, look within. We remember where we came from, who we are and where we are headed. We also remember to take care of our simple lives as well as the lives of others along the way.

By returning to our original nature, we remember how to sit, breathe, eat, play and re-claim the excitement, joy and adventure we felt as children, but lost along the way.

"The plum tree of my hut, It couldn't be helped, It bloomed."

Copyright 2005 Brenda Shoshanna

About The Author
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. Dr. Shoshanna is a psychologist, speaker, long term Zen practitioner and teacher, relationship expert on and author of many books including, The Anger Diet, Zen and the Art of Falling In Love, Zen Miracles (Finding Peace In An Insane World,) and many others. You may contact her at Her personal website is


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