knowhwnetoactYou’ve got this Zen stuff down.

You are calm and responsible. You approach problems logically, without letting emotions take over. You treat people with respect and honesty. You meditate regularly and your mind is trained to be able to relax in the face of any stressor.

You are completely satisfied with your ability to soothe your mind and settle your emotions when you are upset.

And that is commendable.

That is basically the aim of every stressed, western person who takes up meditation. They want to be able to bypass the emotional turmoil most people face.

It’s not an uncommon or an unreasonable skill to want.

But it is one you have to keep in check.

It is one those things you can be too good at.

Being able to stop yourself from feeling stressed at a moment’s notice is a wonderful thing to be able to do, but only if you then use that calm you’ve generated to deal with the situation appropriately. If you successfully relax your mind in the face of an unpleasant event, only to waste that attitude on ignoring the cause of your discomfort, you’re wasting all of the skills you’ve spent so long developing.

The point in training yourself to do this is to be able to relax yourself so that you can act with reason and sense. It is not so that you can avoid an unpleasant situation. It is so that you can focus on it with a positive, proactive demeanour. So that you can more easily find a solution to your problems. So that you can take them on without getting overwhelmed. So that you can choose your actions logically. So that you can behave rationally when your gut doesn’t want you to.

It is a great advantage to your mental wellbeing and an enormous benefit to your ability to deal with serious issues if you can quickly relax the anger and upset broiling inside you.

But if you waste that calm then it will be pointless that you ever learned it at all.

Think about the reason that things bother you. Think about what exactly has made you feel the need to employ the difficult techniques you’ve worked on. Especially if you feel the need to use them frequently.

But coping with problems is not just avoiding the stress they cause. It is also fixing the root of them and ensuring that you – and maybe others – don’t have to deal with them again.

Don’t let yourself get so calm that you forget this. It will help you and anyone else dealing with similar issues, even if the only benefit to them is seeing someone else handling them so well and being a good role model.

It is not enough just to endure. To be able to lay back and remain passive despite things bothering you.

If you have the ability to keep calm when everyone else is overwhelmed, use your calm to make things better.

Make things right.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen