Instant gratification. We all want it. Especially in recovery – we want to jump right to the comfort and satisfaction of having 20 years sober, skipping all those difficult 24 hours in between. We want to get a good job, without all the extensive resume-editing and application-filling. We want to master a new skill or trade, without putting in the long hours of practice to get there. We want the hardships of life to immediately give way to pleasure and fulfillment.
This is why I aim to embrace the concept of “zen,” and achieve balance in life. Living in the now, from moment to moment, helps alleviate mental projections of the future. I cannot control what may happen in a year, but I do have influence over what I’m doing in the present. Straying too far into the positive in life can lead to unrealistic expectations and complacency; too far into the negative may yield depression and anxiety. It it best to stay balanced between the two, keeping oneself grounded and mindful.
“Strangers and my pocket watch /
Speeding off /
Every time /
Tick-tock in my wonderland”
Last Lynx – Killing Switch
Adopting this lifestyle has vastly improved my anger management skills, and general demeanor from day to day. I am stressed less; I find things that used to upset are of little to no worry now. Meditation also goes a long way to accomplish this. Focusing on the right breathing patterns and techniques provides spiritual relief for the mind and body.
One of my Top 5, if not Top 3, films of all time has an underlying theme of zen mastery, through the form of general non-action (re: laziness). I speak, of course, of the Jeff Bridges classic, “The Big Lebowski,” directed by the renowned Cohen brothers. The film in and of itself has inspired multiple volumes of literature that analyze and study the many philosophical quandaries that The Dude faces.
As it were: The Dude Abides.