The Zen Life Hack You Didn’t Know You Needed

Getting to decide how you feel decides how your life will shape up.

The Zen Life Hack You Didn’t Know You Needed
Image from the author’s Instagram

Getting to decide how you feel decides how your life will shape up.

I was hanging out with a few friends the other day, when one girl remarked, “Ana, you’re the most drama-free person I know.”

I don’t know what exactly she meant by “drama,” but to me, a life that’s lived in connection with your core values can never have any space for unnecessary upheavals, unmet expectations, and passive aggressive behaviour.

If you know who you are, what your expectations from the world are, and how you’re meeting the expectations others have from you, there’s no room for discontent or unnecessary toxicity.

I know it sounds preachy, and it’s impossible to be drama-free about everything all the time, but as humans, the best we can do is try.

Today, I want to talk about my idea of the ultimate Zen mode, and how it’s helped me live a drama-free life rooted in my core values.

My idea of Zen

I’m currently reading Dale Carnegie’s How To Stop Worrying And Start Living, and this quote caught my attention -

“No one can humiliate or disturb you and me, either-unless we let him.”

This reminded me of a conversation a friend and I were having a few weeks back. I was telling her about my exploits with spirituality, when she asked me what my biggest takeaways are.

When asked about spirituality, people often talk about religion, minimalism, or kindness. But for me, the biggest gift spirituality has given me is the ability to be Zen about people and things.

I’m so rooted in my perception of myself, that I don’t let others’ views affect me at all.

Yes, as humans, we’re social animals, and it’s natural to crave for acceptance. But if you can detach from that, you take away the possibility that any other person can hurt you. I call this quality as the ultimate Zen mode.

In this article, I want to invite you to try welcoming some Zen into your life, and observe how it changes your relationships and expectations from yourself.

The generalized idea of Zen

Zen is such a broad term, every person will have their own perspective on what it means to be Zen. To me, it symbolizes the ultimate freedom from judgment, harsh words, or unrealistic expectations from the world and othe people.

Let’s start with a few examples of how Zen might look like in your life.

  • When you’re Zen, you don’t care what others think of you. Offhand comments or overheard snippets of conversation stop affecting your mental peace, irrespective of how demeaning they are.
  • You quit trying to please others by sacrificing your own happiness. You understand it’s not possible to influence how other people think, so you might as well do what you want.
  • Other people cancelling on you or making you feel bad in any way never disturbs your mental peace. You know they have their own trials and tribulations, and taking things personally will get you nowhere.

I could go on, but you get the gist.

Being Zen means accepting life as it comes to you.

It means not attaching any value to other people’s opinions about you.

It means you’re the only person who gets to decide how you’ll feel on any given day.

The Buddha talks a lot about this in ancient Buddhist scripture.

So do the Stoics of ancient Rome.

You tell me, what’s your take on being Zen?

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More on being connected with your inner Zen here — 

Time Travel is a Life Hack
A mental exercise that gets me through bad days
The Art of Detachment (From Sadness and Happiness Alike)
What you, me, and the ancient Stoics have in common
Are You Needlessly Pessimistic About a Beautiful World?
Cognitive biases can make our lives harder than they have to be.