The difference between life and a chicken thigh



I love grilled chicken thighs.  The white-meat-eating, chicken breast crowd doesn't know what they're missing.  The crispy skin is my favorite part so I save it for the end. 

This strategy doesn't necessarily make sense for life.  I'm fairly certain that I'll live to taste the chicken skin, but beyond that....?

Enjoy life.  Live, be mindful, and pay attention to the present moment.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living


We are starting a meditation center in our new hometown of Frisco, Colorado.  Starting from zero.  Any ideas or helpful tips please contact me.  Any donation by Paypal appreciated.  See below.

You may notice that there are NO ADVERTISING BANNERS on Zen Presence.  Mainstream advertising and consumerism go against my values so if you find any value in my work please support Zen Presence by making a donation via Paypal below.




Red Alert - Slow Down

photo: Clement127@flickr.com


A hurried life is a stressful life.  A hurried life is unhealthy.  Studies in neuroscience show that being hurried for an extended period of time puts the brain on red alert and activates the same chemicals - primarily adrenaline and cortisol - as if you were being charged by a grizzly bear.  This results in a weakened immune system, general fatigue, and a foggy head.

Busyness seems to be the norm these days.  Although slowing down your everyday life is the goal, start small.  Try slowing down on small tasks.  Mindfulness and being in the present moment reduce stress and returns our body chemistry to normal.  Drink your tea or coffee slowly and notice how it tastes.  Take the time to actually look at your spouse or friend next time they are speaking to you -  notice their facial expressions and let them know you are listening.  Spend some time in the moment and feel the difference.

Now it's time to reduce your activities and commitments so that you can slow down and enjoy life.  You will have more to give in the long run.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

We are starting a meditation center in our new hometown of Frisco, Colorado.  Starting from zero.  Any donation appreciated.

You may notice that there are NO ADVERTISING BANNERS on Zen Presence.  Mainstream advertising and consumerism go against my values so if you find any value in my work please support Zen Presence by making a donation via Paypal below.




It will

If you let it hurt you, it will.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

Gorilla Compassion

There once was a man that fell into a deep hole while hunting in the jungle. After three days a gorilla happened by and the hunter asked for help.

"Hey, I'm starving.  Please help me out", pleaded the man.

"I'm not sure I can safely get you out with those steep sides" the gorilla replied, "but let me toss a large rock down and if I can climb out of the hole with the rock I'll pull you out."

The gorilla tossed a large rock down the hole, jumped in and easily pulled it out.

He then recovered the man and delivered him safely to the jungle floor.

"I really do thank you, but if I may trouble you further, I'm afraid I'm too weak to make it out of the jungle alone.  Would you mind assisting me back to my village?", the hunter asked.

"I'm exhausted", exclaimed the gorilla.  "Let me get a quick nap and I'll be glad to help you home."

While the gorilla was sleeping the hunter thought to himself, "If I take this large rock and kill the gorilla for food then I'll be strong enough to get out of this jungle alone."

The hunter lifted the rock, teetering under it's weight, and smashed the gorilla in the head.  Amazingly the gorilla did not die.  With his face disfigured and blood flowing from his face the gorilla looked at the man and cried "Poor man.  Why did you have to do that?  Now you'll never be happy."

Adapted from an ancient Buddhist tale.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living




Please  consider donating.   We are starting a meditation center in our new hometown of Frisco, Colorado.  Starting from zero.  Any help appreciated.

You may notice that there are NO ADVERTISING BANNERS on Zen Presence.  Mainstream advertising and consumerism go against my values so if you find any value in my work please support Zen Presence by making a donation via Paypal below.




Self Adhesive Labels



If you are mean, you can become kind.
If you are lazy, you can become industrious.
If you are timid, you can become bold.
If you are ignorant, you can become educated.

You can never be other than you, which means you never were mean, lazy, timid, or ignorant were you?  Behavior and aspects of our personality are choices, beliefs, and opinions.  They never are who we are.  We are who we are, but we are free to behave however we choose.  Our labels are self adhesive.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

Please  consider donating.   We are starting a meditation center in our new hometown of Frisco, Colorado.  Starting from zero.  Any help appreciated.

You may notice that there are NO ADVERTISING BANNERS on Zen Presence.  Mainstream advertising and consumerism go against my values so if you find any value in my work please support Zen Presence by making a donation via Paypal below.




One Skill to Change Your Life



Reacting is instinctual.  A reaction comes from the most primitive part of our brain.

Responding involves conscious thought with decision and is an ability we have only fully developed as human beings.

We don't have much control over our reactions.  They are mostly automatic.  We can respond with our reaction or we can pause and use our full mind.  There is a gap where we decide how to respond.  This gap and the choice we make during that gap is what makes us human.

The nice thing is that like anything else, we can get better at responding with practice.  Studies show that life-long criminals who are taught to pause before acting will learn to think about the consequences of their actions and over time make better decisions.

Almost every regret in my life was due to reacting instead of thoughtfully responding.  Please pause and choose wisely.

p.s.  Meditation and mindfully watching your emotions will help to improve your ability to choose your response.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

Please HELP.   We are starting a meditation center in our new hometown of Frisco, Colorado.  Starting from zero.  Any donations appreciated.

You may notice that there are NO ADVERTISING BANNERS on Zen Presence.  Mainstream advertising and consumerism go against my values so if you find any value in my work please support Zen Presence by making a donation via Paypal below.




Action Required




If life is a play then the story is written in your head, felt in your heart, but needs to be acted out on stage.  Don't forget that it's a live performance and anything can happen.  That's what makes it exciting.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

HELP if you can.  We are starting a meditation center in our new hometown of Frisco, Colorado.  Starting from zero.  Any donations appreciated.
You may notice that there are NO ADVERTISING BANNERS on Zen Presence.  Mainstream advertising and consumerism go against my values so if you find any value in my work please support Zen Presence by making a donation via Paypal below.




Cheated

Be careful about allowing yourself to feel cheated or shortchanged - in a job, a relationship, or anything.  The desire to be treated fairly rates high in the human psyche and once we allow ourselves to feel cheated it is generally a long downward spiral that can last for days.  Joy and excitement are replaced with anger, bitterness, and frustration.  History has been filled with stories of people willing to die for justice.

The problem is that we are easily fooled by our brains.  Once the limbic system has been triggered we can become a bit paranoid and may not see things clearly. Once we feel cheated, well we feel cheated and that's how we see things no matter what the truth is.   While we can't control how others treat us, we can control how we react.  If we aren't careful we may end up cheating ourselves of a lot of happiness.

One practice that I have found useful is to periodically vow not to let anything anyone says or does offend me.  Easier said than done, but it's a start.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

HELP! We are trying to establish a meditation center in Frisco, Colorado.  Starting from zero.  Any donations appreciated.
You may notice that there are NO ADVERTISING BANNERS on Zen Presence.  Mainstream advertising and consumerism go against my values so if you find any value in my work please support Zen Presence by making a donation via Paypal below.




Tout comprendre

photo: D.Munoz-Santos


Tout comprendre, c'est tout excuser.

To understand all, is to pardon all. (Including yourself)

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

HELP! We are trying to establish a meditation center in Frisco, Colorado.  Starting from zero.  Any donations appreciated.
You may notice that there are NO ADVERTISING BANNERS on Zen Presence.  Mainstream advertising and consumerism go against my values so if you find any value in my work please support Zen Presence by making a donation via Paypal below.




When Everything Sucks

If the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off!


When your relationship has ended, you've lost your job, your dog has died, and everything sucks....being mindful doesn't seem helpful.  Meditation doesn't work.  You sit quietly and think of how shitty life is.  You read an article on being grateful and think "Grateful, for what?"

You reflect on life and all that you can think of is how he or she screwed you over.  Then you remember how stupid you were to ever take that job instead of the other job.  What a catastrophe life has become.  Why did it turn out this way?

Where do you go now?  What do you do?  How do you get out of this shit-trap life has dealt you?

Once the negative thinking of the amygdala has been triggered it's a negative spiral.  It's a lot of work to pull out of the tailspin.

Sometimes you just need to STOP.  Just stop and catch your breath.  Don't dig the hole any deeper.

Remove any negative influences from your life.  Now isn't the time to deal with the people, places, or things that bring you down or drain your energy.  Take a few minutes to identify the black holes in your life and distance yourself from them.

Purge.  Take out a tablet and have a bitch session for yourself.  Go ahead and be a cry-baby for a few minutes or hours - just don't stay there.  Write it down and be done with it.  BURN the pages when you are done.  Let it go - get the poison out of your system.

When you begin to feel rested then get out and do something relaxing.  Take a walk, a drive, play golf, or whatever...just get out of your head.   Do something that helps you to forget your worries.

Make sure you are taking care of yourself:  getting rest, eating properly, and getting some exercise.  Often when we are stressed or things aren't going our way our self care goes out the window.  WRONG ANSWER.  Move, eat, and sleep.  Do it whether you feel like it or not. Things will only get worse if you don't.

Now that you have rested and given yourself a break, maybe... just maybe,  you'll see a little sunshine, notice someone's smile and there'll be room for a little gratefulness, a little meditation, and a little healing. 

Then you can think about crawling out of that hole.


Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

HELP if you can.  We are starting a meditation center in our new hometown of Frisco, Colorado.  Starting from zero.  Any donations appreciated.
You may notice that there are NO ADVERTISING BANNERS on Zen Presence.  Mainstream advertising and consumerism go against my values so if you find any value in my work please support Zen Presence by making a donation via Paypal below.




What we hear

It's not what you say that's important, it's what we hear (and how it makes us feel) that matters.


Zen Presence -  Ideas for Meaningful Living

HELP! We are trying to establish a meditation center in Frisco, Colorado.
You may notice that there are NO ADVERTISING BANNERS on Zen Presence.  Mainstream advertising and consumerism go against my values so if you find any value in my work please support Zen Presence by making a donation via Paypal below.



Permission to...




There are thousands of books and internet pages on how to: make money, be happy, be fit, be healthy.... If you are reading this post I'm sure that you are intelligent enough to find a proper guide and follow the instructions.  You probably don't even need instructions.  So why are there areas in life that you can't seem to reach your goals?

Is it possible that you haven't given yourself permission?  Probe deeply into your thoughts and beliefs.  Why aren't you giving yourself permission to be what you want to be?  I'll bet there's not a good answer.  Don't let false shame and unworthiness hold you back.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living


You may notice that there are NO ADVERTISING BANNERS on Zen Presence.  Mainstream advertising and consumerism go against my values so if you find any value in my work please support Zen Presence by making a donation via Paypal below.



Never Enough

Never enough in the way that we keep pushing, learning and evolving is good.  It's the way the dynamic universe works.

Never enough becomes a problem when we let negativity and feelings of malcontent creep in and hijack our minds.  This type of thinking is an obstacle, an evolutionary hiccup in the way that our minds operate.  The negativity bias of the amygdala portion of our brain can snowball and make us even more sensitive to the negative.  This is what the Buddha called suffering - the stress and negativity in our daily lives. 

Mindfulness, gratefulness, and acknowledging the positive in our lives can help to counteract the negative bias of our brain.  This is only important if you care about your happiness and quality of life.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

HELP! We are trying to establish a meditation center in Frisco, Colorado.
You may notice that there are NO ADVERTISING BANNERS on Zen Presence.  Mainstream advertising and consumerism go against my values so if you find any value in my work please support Zen Presence by making a donation via Paypal below.