As we edge out of January and into February, the cold of Vermont seems to creep into one’s bones and it’s hard to remember the warm summer sun. This is the perfect time for a Zen Break-a calming pause that helps to restore balance.
My favorite activity at this time of year is lying on the couch or bed and soaking in the mid day sun as it streams through the windows. My cat will often join me in this practice, so I figure it’s a very Zen thing since cats are the ultimate Zen masters- they spend the majority of their day in silent contemplation.
Before I go further, it’s worth taking a detour to talk about Jon Stewart’s- “The Daily Show”-“your moment of Zen.” He uses this to reflect on an aspect of today’s news in the same way one would contemplate Zen koans. If you aren’t familiar with koans, these can be a puzzling short story or statement that transcends normal thought patterns. “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” is an example of a Zen koan.
In case you’re wondering, Zen is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhist, which emphasizes the value of meditation and intuition.
Below are a variety of “breaks” or “moments of Zen” to try out.
• Zen Moments: I particularly like doing Tone Matrix and there are some good links in 10 Instant Moments of Zen
• The Importance of Finding Your Zen Moment: This is written by a lawyer who advocates: Taking a walk and let your mind wander; Affirm the things in your life you are thankful for. Forgive yourself. Become a tea drinker. Keep a journal.
• The Science of Breath: Provides the research on various types of breathing exercises, most of which are designed to reduce stress.
• From past Take a Breaks
Not interested in today’s activity? Check out the Take a Break Pinterestfor lots of Take a Break ideas.