The Zen Series: Inner Harmony

A Zen-like state of mind is where you connect to your higher self or go within and see things in their actuality. Parsi Times presents our reads ‘The Zen Series’ by PT Columnist, Kashmira Shaw Raj – a professional Taichi and Qigong practitioner and teacher, as also a sought-after clinical psychologist and healer. These Zen stories will resonate with you and help you connect within, at a deeper, inner level to encourage and empower you to reflect. These stories make for good reading across people of all ages and speak to the reader at several levels. If you’re looking to bring about a positive change in yourself, ‘The Zen Series’ will inspire, motivate and facilitate you in realizing truths about yourself and life, to ultimately set you on the path of growth, wisdom and happiness.

We start off with the story of a young martial arts student, under the tutelage of a famous Master…

One day, the Master was watching a practice session in the courtyard. He realized that the presence of the other students was interfering with the young man’s attempts to perfect his technique. Sensing the young man’s frustration, the Master went up to the young man and tapped him on his shoulder, asking, “What’s the problem?” 

“I don’t know”, said the youth, with a strained expression. “No matter how much I try, I’m unable to execute the moves properly.” 

“Before you can master technique, you must understand harmony. Come with me, I will explain”, replied the master. The teacher and student left the building and walked some distance into the woods, where they came upon a stream. The Master stood silently on the bank for several moments. Then he spoke, “Look at the stream. There are rocks in its way. Does it slam into them out of frustration? It simply flows over and around them and moves on! Be like the water and you will know what harmony is.”

The young man took the master’s advice to heart. Soon, he was barely noticing the other students around him. Nothing could come in his way of executing the most perfect moves!

[Courtesy: Buddha Groove]

Doesn’t this happen to us often? Many times, we get affected by what is happening around us. We get distracted from carrying out our plans and promises made to ourselves and other. We find ourselves lost and not able to perform well or deliver. Why is that? Because we get fazed by things around us. When we see others doing well, a sense of insecurity creeps in and leaves us feeling inadequate and under-confident. We often forget the difference between a Need and a Want. A common issue we all face is looking for approval from outside. We all want to be perceived as good and be in everyone’s good books! We measure our worth by the look in the eyes of others because impressions matter most to us. What people think of us matters. Therefore, we try to put up a front. However, this often becomes the reason for our downfall. 

Like the Master in the story pointed out most importantly, try to ‘Flow Like Water’

Water is powerful; it can be soft and gentle and still blunt with jagged edges. It can be unstoppable and uncontrollable. Just as water can flow through any crevice and even over the largest boulders, so should we be able to look at any challenging situation and yet make our way forward. Just as the Master showed the power and strength of water, we can also tap into our inner resilience and make things work smoothly for us. Water harmonizes and finds its own level and so we too, need to harmonize from within, to be able to be calm. When we are calm, we can block out any external distractions.

Exercises On How To Not Get Affected By External Circumstances:

  1. Focus on yourself and try to forget everybody and everything around you for a few minutes. Imagine that you are alone in that situation and that is all that matters. 
  2. Now focus only on your goal ahead.
  3. Visualize the end and your successful triumph over the situation. What are you doing this for? What is your take-away?
  4. Stop comparing yourself with others. Start comparing yourself with your own previous self.
  5. Know and believe that nobody is perfect. It’s ok to make mistakes – that’s what makes us all human and provides us the opportunity to better ourselves.

Instilling Self-Confidence:

  1. Remember it is not about them but about you.
  2. Take the onus for whatever happens in your life – all success and failure.
  3. It is ok to fall and rise again.
  4. Talk to yourself. Motivate yourself. 
  5. Most importantly, keep your self-respect. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, put you down wrongly. Mistakes are your learning ground, not an excuse to beat yourself up! 

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