Zen Blog

This blog collects various internet feeds aimed towards information, experience and technique exchange in support of our shared spiritual journey.....

”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

Using the Pandemic as Mental Training Ground

By Leo Babauta

This neverending pandemic hasn’t been the best mental health environment for many people — it has created raised levels of uncertainty, anxiety, loneliness, unhappiness, procrastination and feelings of dreariness for large numbers of people.

That’s understandable, and I feel tremendous compassion for everyone who is suffering right now.

I strongly believe that this is an opportunity for us all, to use this difficult environment to shift something for ourselves.

This can be our mental training ground, if we view it that way.

We can use this environment to learn how to:

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Energy Depletion & the Practice of Relaxing Our Threat Detector

By Leo Babauta

I’ve been working with a large number of people who are very often exhausted, not just from sleep problems but from their daily activities.

A lot of us are drained by being around other people, doing video meetings, going out in public … and so we start to avoid those activities to preserve our energy.

Setting boundaries and giving ourselves space to rest is absolutely an important thing to do. But too much of these kinds of self-restrictions over time can result in us not being able to interact with people, increasing our isolation and loneliness, which only drains us more.

Here’s an email from a reader the other day:

As a person struggling with burnout symptoms, I find it hard to resonate with the idea of antifragility and pushing your boundaries.

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Practicing with Zero

By Leo Babauta

When we’re creating a habit — say, meditation or practicing a language — we often try to encourage ourselves by creating an unbroken streak.

100 straight days of meditation! 30 straight days of practicing Chinese!

These are amazing accomplishments, and we should let ourselves feel encouraged when we have consistency like this.

However, what happens when the streak is broken? When the streak goes down to a Big Zero?

This can be incredibly discouraging, and we then often want to give up.

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Everything is a Practice

By Leo Babauta

I have a client who has completely changed his life — it’s been a complete transformation, and it is breathtaking.

One of the most powerful things he’s brought into his life is the practice of self-compassion. It changed everything, once he started bringing this into what he did.

But one of the next most powerful things he created for himself is the view that Everything is a Practice.

Man, what a ridiculously valuable way to frame our lives!

Every difficulty that comes up is simply something to practice with.

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Tackling Hard Tasks

By Leo Babauta

Generally we avoid hard tasks, putting them off while we either do easier tasks or distract ourselves. This is understandable, as a hard task might feel daunting or overwhelming, but spending our hours on urgent but easy tasks vs. difficult but important tasks is generally a costly choice.

So let’s talk for a minute about hard tasks. If we can focus on them and get them done, we can have a greater impact in a fraction the time.​​​​

The reason we tend to avoid hard tasks is usually because they are daunting — filled with uncertainty and filled with lots of sub-tasks to the point of being overwhelming. We also fear failing at them.

So what I’ve found to help are things people know but often dismiss:

Do a small bit of the bigger task. People dismiss this but underestimate how powerful it can be. Have a big report to do? Just do the first 2 paragraphs. It increases your ability to tackle the hard task by a hundred fold, because you’re much much more likely to start, and once you start, you’re much much more likely to take on the next small bit.Get into the practice of choosing and trusting.​​​​​​ If a decision freezes you up, you’ll likely stop doing the hard task. So don’t let yourself freeze up — just choose, and trust that you made a decent choice, or that you’ll be able to deal with whatever comes. This becomes a freeing practice, because you can just choose, choose, choose, and trust yourself without fretting too much. Choose quickly, move on, repeat.Think of “failing” as “learning.” When we think of the possibility of failing at something, we usually make that to mean something bad about us — we are inadequate, stupid, unworthy. But what if we frame it as part of the learning process, meaning nothing about us and everything about what we might learn? Let this free us.

These take practice. Start with the first item, and get into the practice of focusing on hard tasks in small bits. The amount of hard but important tasks you’re going to start crushing will be staggering.

(Originally posted by zenhabits)
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