Cracking the Zen code Bianca GheorghescuSeptember 10, 2013Art & Culture7 Comments406 views Micaela Hoo Photography It was still very early when she got out of bed and tiptoed through the long corridor on the way to the kitchen. She craved for a hot cup of coffee and while she poured the black elixir in her old cracked porcelain cup, she stopped and thought: “This is not Zen. Drinking coffee…I should have tea instead.” Then she opened her notebook, one of the many she possessed, and wrote down: “Good morning! Good morning, World! Good morning, Life! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” This was Zen indeed. Later that day she had a meeting – not one of those rigid business ones, but still a formal gathering, with people she never met before. She did some research the night before, but still wasn’t sure what to wear to the meeting. Or what to say. Or what to leave unsaid. “You can never control what others may think of you”, she thought, “and you can never really know how this will affect a future business deal. Will the real you be a deal-maker or a deal-breaker? Should you go along revealing the genuine you or should you rather sweeten everything up, by pretending?” And while she was chewing over these existential ideas, she was also running late. This wasn’t Zen either. The meeting went great, indeed: she met some interesting people, who came into the meeting with a warm heart, an open mind and the determination to build up a partnership. A genuine, solid, collaborative partnership. How Zen is that? No hidden agendas, no double standards, no multiple meanings of words. Afterwards, someone proposed they went out for lunch. The food was tasty, the music playing in the background was smooth and serene, and the company was just great. They talked about everything – personal plans and dreams waiting to be fulfilled, families, babies, careers, latest read books, traveling and food cravings. But the best thing about this meeting was that people liked her for who she was: her ideas, her beliefs, her frank opinions, her jokes, her witty remarks. And it had nothing to do with the peripheral aspects and egocentric appearances she sometimes fought to keep. After goodbyes and a really meant, sincere “It was very nice meeting you!”, she walked out of the restaurant and changed her mind about taking a cab home. She walked instead in order to take the subway. “What a silly thing to do”, she thought and smiled, “sticking labels on things: Zen vs. Not-so-Zen. Zen is exactly this: it’s the amazing liberty of being who you are, as you are right now and the happiness that comes from within. Zen is the real you stripped out of social pretense.” And on the short-long way home, while looking at people’s faces and trying to decrypt their lives, their stories based on their facial expressions, she had one of those aha-moments when everything falls into the right place and a simple thought becomes a long-awaited truth. Zen isn’t about whether you practice yoga or not, drive a car, walk to work or take the subway; whether you are a vegetarian or you eat meat, whether you drink green tea or prefer coffee, whether you are wrapped in organic cotton or whether you are covered in silk, whether you feel like walking barefoot every day or rather take your high heels to bed. It’s not about food preferences, books on your nightstand or music on your iPod. It’s not about material possessions, academic background, civil or social status. Zen is about feeling good about yourself, feeling free and content with who you are and where you are in life; it’s to be attuned to your emotions, to be in line with what you think and feel and then to release this unmasked you to the world. Zen isn’t about proving something to someone. Zen is for everybody and within everyone’s reach. It’s about your inner purity and clarity of the soul and the message you choose to give out to the world. In a nutshell, Zen is about accepting everything you already have in life and make the most and the best out of it.