Zen and the Art of Life

I happened across a book that I’ve had for awhile now, yet have never fully read in detail: Zen and the Art of Cooking, by Jon Sandifier. I have always loved the Yogi-esque title, and have always known the premise behind the book-that cooking should be an art form; what you eat should take time and effort and knowledge. But because I already strive to eat and take care of my body in such a way, I found myself telling myself that it was ok to put off reading it, that I would be ok without the extra words muffling up my spare time.

But something told me last night that I was quite wrong and that I needed a refresher on just what Zen really was.

Hurts when I exhist

That refresher was enforced all the more when I received Time Magazine’s daily e-mail concerning the top stories and reports; one of which being Your Life is Fully MobileWhich made my mind immediately connect the Zen from my book to the Zen of all aspects of life.

Zen is described by Mr. Sandifier as “occasions in our lives when we have felt completely at one with ourselves and the world…our mind can open to new possibilities.”  This is a very difficult state to reach for most people, including myself. For all of the yoga I do, and for all the times I conquer, or at least try to conquer fear and negativity, I still find it extremely difficult to meditate or even focus on just one task at a time. My mind is constantly revving up something new and trying desperately to answer every question I come up with.

My question for you is, what do you think our world today-with endless technology, information at our fingertips, and where the phrase “there’s an app for that,” can be applied to anything, even this very post! (Zen Apps) is doing to our ability to become one with ourselves and the world around us?

Time puts it oh-so-perfectly: “In many parts of the world, more people have access to a mobile device than to a toilet or running water; for millions, this is the first phone they’ve ever had. In the U.S., close to 9 in 10 adults carry a mobile, leaving its marks on body, mind, spirit. There’s a smart-phone gait: the slow sidewalk weave that comes from being lost in conversation rather than looking where you’re going. Thumbs are stronger, attention shorter, temptation everywhere: we can always be, mentally, digitally, someplace other than where we are.”
{source: http://techland.time.com/2012/08/16/your-life-is-fully-mobile/?xid=newsletter-daily#ixzz23iov6ExH}

And I don’t think it could possibly get any more accurate than that. I am extremely guilty of using my iPhone to distract me from my surroundings, and not even because my surroundings are less than gorgeous! I assume it’s more to do with the fact that I, or society, has trained my brain to concentrate on letting the world know what I’m looking at via InstaGram and what I’m thinking via FaceBook or Twitter, and should something absolutely stellar come up, I’ll of course have to find it, Pin it, and share it with my loyal Pinterest followers. Or, hey, Blog it to my loyal Blog followers!

In Japan there’s a saying “shojin ryori,” which means “food to develop spirituality.” When’s the last time Mickie D’s or Sonic fulfilled your spirituality?

For me, that’s the whole point of this blog. Not to make you feel silly or ashamed of yourself for being constantly checked in to your social media and endless bits of knowledge received via fingertips, but rather to make sure that when you are checking in to these cyber-worlds, you’re also making sure to check in to the real world that’s around you at that very moment. Noticing the small things, the big things, the smells, the sounds, the sights-and noticing them for yourself. Not just so you can share them on FaceBook, InstaGram, and Pinterest. We’re all guilty of doing it, and guilty isn’t even the proper word, because in all honesty, I think it’s pretty kickass that our world has become so advanced that knowledge can come directly from our fingertips. I just think that we need to work on becoming knowledgable from the inside out.

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