Zen Brush

I have bought Zen Brush and I really enjoy it.

Enjoy performing zen art on your iPad or iPhone.
Zen Brush is an app that allows you to easily enjoy the feeling of using an ink brush to write or to paint. It allows anyone to easily perform fluent strokes while not compromising on the fascinating texture of a real ink brush. Create works that radiate the right atmosphere by choosing the best background template from our large collection. You can even post your works easily on twitter.

So far what I do is more like doodle with a brush but it’s fascinating. It’s mindfulness, full focus on what you are doing, and work as a tool for meditation too. Since it’s digital it’s easy to erase and start over again. I practice with my non-dominant hand too, it’s good to use both hands.

LESS – Accomplishing More by Doing Less

I got a copy of LESS – Accomplishing More by Doing Less by Marc Lesser at Øredev 2009. The book is described like this:

Discusses the benefits of doing less in a world that has increasingly embraced more – more desire, more activity, more things, more exhaustion. This book is about stopping, as well as the possibility of finding composure in the midst of activity. It is also about the power of accomplishing more by doing less.

I like this book, it is well written and it’s summed up nicely in the epilogue:

This book is a collection of tools as well as a manual for doing more of what is important and less of what isn’t.

Another quote from the book that descibes what it’s about:

You will accomplish more of what matters to you. Doing less and accomplishing more is about aligning your actions with your values and your particular passions.

The book is about the Less Manifesto and has chapters on its five categories:
• fear
• assumptions
• distractions
• resistance
• busyness

I like the way Marc writes about these categories, I found inspiration and tools to work with. Marc brings up meditation and mindfulness as useful tools. The book also has some interesting exercises, questions to work with. Under busyness Marc writes that:

A life of busyness is often the result of trying to escape facing our fears.

One part of the book that stuck with me is about paradoxes, like Marc’s own example “I am shy and solitary, and I love speaking in front of people.” It’s an interesting way of seeing that it’s not either-or, we can be both without conflicts.

Embrace paradox and you increase self-acceptance, tolerance of others and your own possibilities.

A question from the book that’s worth thinking about:

What is one change you could make in your life today that would have an impact on the quality of your day?

Read more:
An 18 Minute Plan That Keeps You Focused
The jar of life – stones, pebbles and sand
Start Managing Your Attention

Your teacup is full (Empty your cup)

The teacup story is around in different versions, here is one version:

Once, a long time ago, there was a wise Zen master. People from far and near would seek his counsel and ask for his wisdom. Many would come and ask him to teach them, enlighten them in the way of Zen. He seldom turned any away.

One day an important man, a man used to command and obedience came to visit the master. “I have come today to ask you to teach me about Zen. Open my mind to enlightenment.” The tone of the important man’s voice was one used to getting his own way.

The Zen master smiled and said that they should discuss the matter over a cup of tea. When the tea was served the master poured his visitor a cup. He poured and he poured and the tea rose to the rim and began to spill over the table and finally onto the robes of the wealthy man. Finally the visitor shouted, “Enough. You are spilling the tea all over. Can’t you see the cup is full?”

The master stopped pouring and smiled at his guest. “You are like this tea cup, so full that nothing more can be added. Come back to me when the cup is empty. Come back to me with an empty mind.”

Here is another version:

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era, received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

Like this cup, Nan-in said, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?

I like the tea story a lot, it is a great reminder that in order to learn we have to be humble, to empty our mind and make room for the new.

Here are some quotes about learning, I love the one about beginner’s mind.

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are few. – Shunryu Suzuki-roshi

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn – Alvin Toffler

When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before. – Henry David Thoreau

Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting something go every day. – Zen Proverb

This was originally posted at Zen And More, another blog of mine.

What The Bleep Do We Know!?

I know I am late on this but last night I watched the movie What The Bleep Do We Know!? and I loved it. The movie is an interesting mix, sharing knowledge and ideas but also raising questions.

The following quote stuck in my mind, it fits perfectly with my inquisitive mind.

Don’t be in the know, be in the mystery.

I got so interested that I have ordered the book which is an extension to the movie. In this case the movie came first.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Wherever you go there you are

A while back I finished a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever you go there you are – Mindfulness Mediation in Everyday Life. I love Jon’s low key style. The book which consists of very short chapters, most of them only a few pages long, covers different aspects of mindfulness and meditation. There are also practices in many of the chapters. The easiest way to describe the book is to take part of the introduction:

In this book Jon Kabat-Zinn maps out a somple path for cultivating mindfulness in one’s own life. It speaks both to those coming to meditation for the first time and to longtime practitioners, anyone who cares deeply about reclaiming the richness of his or her moments.

Here comes some quotes from the book, texts that hooked me:

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgementally.

Meditation is not about feeling a certain way. It is about feeling the way you feel.

Non-doing simply means letting things be and allowing them to unfold in their own way.

Meditation means cultivating a non-judging attitude towards what comes up in the mind, come what may.

Being whole and simultaneously part of a larger whole, we can change the world simply by chaing ourselves.

There is no successful escaping from yourself in the long run, only transformation.

And finally this reassuring quote:

You are already perfect.

See also:
Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness for Beginners
Arriving at your own Door

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Arriving at your own Door

I am reading Arriving at your own Door – 108 lessons in mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn. The book consists of qoutes (verses) that are compiled from Coming to our senses: Healing ourselves and the world through mindfulness. On the back of the book it says:

A quiet trust in awareness sometimes requires inspiration and gentle reminders. These 108 insightful verses offer just that. Compiled from Coming to Our Senses these pointers and reminders will provide much needed encouragement for cultivating greater mindfulness in every aspect of daily life.

I like this little book and read a lesson or two almost every day. They are great reminders that help me get better at mindfulness.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Mindfulness for Beginners

Mindfulness for Beginners is a set with two CD’s with Jon Kabat-Zinn, each CD lasts around 70 minutes. The first CD is an introduction to mindfulness, awareness and to MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. The second CD has five guided meditations.

The first CD has sessions about:
• The only moment we have
• What is mindfulness
• Awareness, a sixth sense
• Being present in our lives
• Mind and heart
• An ethical foundation
• Non-judgementing, patience, beginner’s mind, trust
• Non-striving, acceptance, letting go
• Thinking and awareness

I think this is a great introduction to mindfulness plus that you get some meditations.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn

Google has a collection of company videos at YouTube. There are a lot of sessions worth watching.

I came across Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn which is terrific. The workshop is an hour long but is well worth that time, it also includes a meditation session. Jon Kabat-Zinn talks about mindfulness and meditation, awareness, non-doing, beginner’s mind, to bring doing and being together, to be fully present.

Jon reminded me of the value of just tuning in to our own breathing as a simple way of bringing as back to here and now. Not with the intention to control our breathing, just to follow it and become more present.

I liked this presentation so much that I have ordered some of his books. Now I am looking forward to “Arriving at Your Own Door: 108 Lessons in Mindfulness”, “Mindfulness for Beginners” (CD) and “Wherever You Go, There You Are”.

See also: The 5-minute Meditator.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Mindful eating

I came across the post Mindful Eating which has a great quote:

And when you chew, chew only the carrot, not your projects or your ideas. You are capable of living in the present moment, in the here and the now. It is simple, but you need some training to just enjoy the piece of carrot. This is a miracle.
Thich Nhat Hanh

This is the same way of thinking as in The 5-minute Meditator, a book about ‘spot meditations’. Living in the present makes life calmer.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑