The Zen Series: The Move

Parsi Times presents our readers ‘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. 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. To contact Kashmira, M: 9323874418 or Email:

In this fifteenth part of ‘The Zen Series’, a Zen master’s answer to a monk’s innocent question, reveals great wisdom to be applied in life!

Two men visit a Zen master.

The first man says, “I’m thinking of moving to this town. What’s it like?”

The Zen master asks, “What was your old town like?”

First Man: “It was dreadful. Everyone was hateful. I hated it.”

Zen Master: “This town is very much the same. I don’t think you should move here.”

The first man leaves and the second man comes in. He says, “I’m thinking of moving to this town. What’s it like?” Again the Zen Master asks, “What was your old town like?”

The second man responds, “It was wonderful. Everyone was friendly and I was happy. Just interested in a change now.”

The Zen master says, “This town is very much the same. I think you will like it here.”

 [Courtesy: Zen Stories For A Calm, Clear Mind – Personal Growth]

This story elucidates how your internal space determines your external space. When you are happy and at peace within, you are apt to find the same outside too. Often, when faced with inner turmoil, we perceive everything around to be in a state of disarray. A sad heart will find sadness in everything and the person will not be able to enjoy the good that exists.

Being comfortable in any environment depends on:

  1. How open and receptive you are to change.
  2. The speed and readiness with which you adapt to it.
  3. How easily you let new people into your life and mingle with them.
  4. Whether you try to control situations around you or go with the flow.
  5. Whether you are ready to look at a particular scenario in a different light.
  6. Your ability to focus on the positive, rather than the apparently less positive.

Ideally, if you are ready for change and focus on what works for you, everything will fall into place, like the pieces of a solved puzzle. Venture out and be open to change. Be prepared for new challenges. If you aren’t facilitating these processes, your happiness will be transient and depend upon extraneous factors.

Your energy should be so high and strong that things around you start working for you. If you are going to be skeptical, worried and unsure, you will attract the same kind of emotions and energy from people around you.

How do you shrug off emotions and feelings that don’t work in your favor?

  1. Strive for happiness. Try to derive pleasure from the simplest of things.
  2. Try and be as positive and optimistic as you can.
  3. Even if there are challenges that face you, rather than perceiving them to be mountains, look upon them as small stepping stones.
  4. Keep yourself constantly motivated and driven to make things work for you.
  5. Do not let yourself or others pull you down.

The circumstances may have been the same for the two monks or different, but the way they both handled them is what changed things. One monk was ready to adapt and take things in his stride. He lived positively and enjoyed life without being tied down to things of no consequence. The other monk got taken up with the disturbances of his daily life and consequently found his spaces difficult and inhospitable. For someone who wishes to move spiritually ahead, it is important to understand that it is all in the mind. It is all within.

Nothing external should affect you and make such a difference to your life. If we are able to harmonize with situations and people around us, it is thanks to the mastery over our own inner self. So, remember to first sort out your inner demons before you venture out to tackle those in your physical world!

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