Whenever I’m taking the time to focus my attention on “Zen-ing up My Day”, people around me notice and I’m always being asked : ” . . . WHAT do you do?”  The effects are that obvious, and I AM the teacher!
“Zenity” is my term for the beneficial effects that a zen practice and a regular routine have on us.
So, sanity by zen.

I’m “Zen-ing up my Day” | there’s a story here :

Our Zen Sangha met one weekend in Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland. [The Sangha is the “community” or meditation group]. We’d been having a chat over tea, as usual after our meditation sit, and the conversation once more turned to “Beginner’s Mind” a constant topic for us.

I’d been reading You Have to Say Something Dainin Katagiri’s book over the last year or so, and the consensus of opinion was that Master Katagiri talks so well with the beginner in mind, about daily routine. Beginner’s Mind is the open, eagerness of the new meditator: everything is possible. When you start meditating in the zen-way, which is an initiation, you’re starting out on a path and your life becomes your meditation : and the initiate goes thro a process of change of mind-set.

Living simply and in the moment becomes the daily ordering principle which brings not only a peaceful tranquil mind, but also the tremendous joy of being able to bring the sacred into life on a daily basis. Sounds more than sane to me.

We start with small, easy things.


First practice : Get up with “no mind”

So, your new daily routine, here is the essence of what Master Katagiri says: “Getting up is only a tiny activity. It is not unusual – everyone does it. Although there is nothing outstanding about it, the goldenness of the earth is found in just such activities in everyday life. But instead of attending to such details, we form habitual ways of behaviour by attending to our desires. This is no way to live. We will never satisfy ourselves through such means. If you really want to please yourself, just forget your longing and attend to your daily life. In this we find “goldenness”.

“. . . no thought, no mind . . . only attention . . . “

“When it is time to get up, just get up. Free your mind from the thinking about having to get up. This is the way to enter the doors of a golden, peaceful world.”   When we take care of all the little details of life we call it “living in vow”.  Little details like getting up in the morning.

“Taking hold of the tiller of the boat of life, grabbing an oar” is what I mean when I say living in vow – aspiring to awaken each moment of your daily life.

I have precis’d the above but in essence what Master Katagiri was referring to is a saying of Dogen Zenjo, the founder of the Soto Zen school in Japan:

the wind of Buddhism makes manifest the great Earth’s goldenness, and makes ripen the sweet milk of the long rivers.”

Zen Master Dogen likened life to riding in a boat. Most people just “ride” the boat of the Universe, but this is actually just drifting. And in order to sail across the ocean of human life, we must see the earth as golden and taste her rivers as sweet milk.



So much of Zen is simply beautiful and sweetly poetic

Now, add some regular daily practice

And the beautiful simplicity of a regular practice, which gives the ordering principle daily to your life, is that we get the space and time to unify opposites: for example, the boring mundanity of much of daily life is brought together with the sweetness and freedom of breathing.

Our internal qualities as human beings can be brought together in practice, like for instance, emotional strength and also emotional ease that comes with regularity. Try this:

A simple introduction to zen practice | Practices in, zen and ancient teachings make our life simpler and more heart-based. 7 daily teachings . . . which will take you a long way.

When our life is simpler and more heart-based, we can live as a Total Person – from your intuition as much as your intellect, from your instinct as much as emotion: balanced and happy.

Take time out for tea

How could a day be complete living with Zen, without taking time out for the art of the tea ritual? Tea Drinking is an Art in Zen – we drink tea to de-stress, to have a ritual and it is so revered it is known of as “The Tea Way” in Zen.

It might sound too simple for words, but the world “stops” – all those concerns get distant temporarily – and everyone’s equal when we take time for this ritual. What we’re doing, with some very simple elements, is:

. to accept,
. appreciate
. and revere


what naturally occurs, exactly as it is – in an atmosphere of harmony, tranquility, purity and reverence.


just as we appreciate our tea, we’re appreciating nature and all that is



Keep the moment very simple : stay in tune with the earth and planet daily

And here’s a final word from Master Katagiri on practice: “When you sit in zazen. Just sit .  .  .

“But you sit and how many thoughts, and emotions, memories, physical sensations appear from moment to moment and sit with you? Yet this moment is very simple. So why not take care of it with all your heart? To live our lives simply from moment to moment is zazen . . . the essence of zen. The manifestation of ultimate Reality.”

I have this very, very simple daily practice for you to connect you with life, our Planet and our love for Nature: meditate for 10 minutes with the Heart Beat of the Earth.

Respect your own Buddha mind

In living with Zen, and with a regular practice, we’re acknowledging and respecting our innate [natural] Buddha mind, our individual Buddha hearts and of course our own Buddha nature. So the essence of our life becomes in regularly placing ourselves in a silent, simple place of harmonising with humanity.

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