17 life lessons from a zen Meditation teacher

Meditation Teaching

We all are living fast-paced lives with so much happening every day. Work, family, friends – all these occupy a major part of our day, and we are left with very little time or no time to relax. Our days have become hectic with never-ending to-do lists. When we are leading such busy lives, stress is inevitable. How to handle stress and lead a better life? How to find inner peace and calm in such a fast-paced life?

Here is a book offering us answers to these questions. Book’s name is ‘The things you can see only when you slow down.’ This is authored by Haemin Sunim. Haemin Sunim is a Zen meditation teacher whose teachings transcend religion, borders, and ages.

Below are 17 life lessons derived about Zen Meditation from this beautiful book

1. In many scenarios, it is not the actual scenario, but it is our perspective about the scenario that causes us happiness or sadness. The author says – when our mind rests, the world rests. When our mind is at peace, we find the world peaceful.

2. Most of our negative thoughts and emotions are either because of what happened in the past or because of what is going to happen in the future. But we have no control on either past or future, and we cannot change them. The only thing we can control is our present moment and what is happening now. So, release the thoughts about the past and future. Focus on the present moment.

3. Practice awareness of the present moment. What does awareness mean? If you are stressed out, you are aware that you are stressed. If you are angry, you are aware of your anger. Awareness brings clarity, and it can dissipate the negative thoughts and emotions.

4. When you are stressed out and overwhelmed because of too many things to do, make a list of all the tasks you need to perform. Write down all your tasks and your worries. Writing down removes the feeling of stress, and it gives clarity as to what you need to do.

5. Realize that you are not your feelings. It is common to experience various negative emotions. Many of us try to suppress these emotions. But a better approach is to allow them to flow and be aware of them. Awareness helps us realize that we are bigger than our feelings.

6. When you are feeling low or negative, take some time to sit quietly with your feelings and observe your feelings. Don’t judge them, control them, or label them. Just observe them. When you do this, you see a change in your feelings.

7. Change is inevitable in life. Life and the world around us keep changing every day. That’s the nature of life. When we resist the change, we suffer. But the moment we accept the things as they are and ever-changing life as it is, we can relax. Our acceptance of the change brings in peace.

8. Choose happiness over success. When we chase success, we are using a benchmark handed over by someone else to define whether we achieved our goal or not. And when it comes to happiness, it is something which we define ourselves.


9. Don’t worry and be concerned about what the world says you should do or achieve. Figure out what you really want in life and pursue it. At the end of the day, what matters is your own joy and happiness in life.

10. In relationships, don’t tell things you don’t really mean, to make people like you. Speak from your heart and speak only those things that you really mean. When we speak from the heart, we are guided by honesty and humility, and we will be free of fear.

11. When you are confronted by someone you dislike, instead of fighting back or teaching a lesson, take a deep breath, and walk away.

12. Every relationship needs space to grow and blossom. So, give space to others in relationships.

13. When intimate relationships end, it is painful. Instead of being engulfed by this pain, be aware of your feelings of pain, anger, and hurt. And when you are ready, forgive the person. Forgiveness is important for your own self to release the negative thoughts and emotions.

14. True fulfillment and meaning in life come from within. Many of us look towards our careers or relationships with others to find fulfillment in life, but real fulfillment comes from within.

15. When we look back at our life, we generally tend to focus on extraordinary moments and achievements. But extraordinary moments in life are rare, and life contains many ordinary moments. So, unless we learn how to enjoy these ordinary moments and be happy, we cannot find lasting happiness in life. So, the key to a happy life is to enjoy ordinary moments of life, and we start enjoying ordinary moments when we take ownership. Taking ownership improves our feelings of importance and self-worth.

16. Many of us go through the fear of ‘what will others think?’ Stop caring and fearing about what other people think about you because the truth of life is everyone has their own set of problems to solve, and no one is so interested in another person’s life for a long time. So, live your life without this fear of what others will think about you. It’s one life, and it’s not worth living with imaginary fears.

17. Realize that not everyone has to like you. You cannot control what others think about you. Everyone is entitled to have their own opinion about you.

These are some of the great insights this book offers. 

The book offers wisdom on various aspects of life like love, purpose, career, dreams, etc. It also comes with tools and techniques that can be used in daily life to improve the quality of life. The author shares his real-life experiences, which makes the teachings more relatable and understandable. His wisdom is simple and yet profound. Reading this book is a journey of its own that can be relished.

Wish you peace and love!

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