Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Z- Zen

Wow, one more day in the A-Z Challenge. Though I do love writing, I am not used to writing everyday and my creative flower has had stunted growth as of lately because of the all too common- family commitments, kids, time, other interests - other things demanding my time. I chose to do this challenge because I love a challenge- creative, physical, mental- I'm up for it! And they always say, don't wait for a good time to do something, because that perfect time will never come. (We're talking about a blogging challenge here, not some other major life events :) 
So I am closing the challenge on Zen. 

Zen is a form of buddhism, simple meditation as well as a whole life state of mindfulness. 
From the everyday man's urban dictionary: Zen is a state of focus that incorporates a togetherness of body and mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without the distortion created by your own thoughts.  

Steve Jobs was a buddhist. He took meditation retreats and spent weeks "facing a wall" in an attempt at observing the activity of his own mind. He was married in a buddhist ceremony and was well read on all things zen. 
When the 15th century poet Ikkyu was asked "What is the meaning of Zen?" he replied, "Attention." It means moment to moment awareness in every ordinary thing you do. And just as Zen monasteries and centers are constructed and designed with mindfulness and simple, beautiful detail, Jobs spent meticulous attention and precision to all aspects of the user experience of Apple devices. From the cases, to the fonts, to the layout of the store, to the commercials, Jobs was said to have paid attention to every detail giving Apple an image and a "feel". He brought something so new, but so strangely intuitive to the market (for those who can afford it). Essentially, the devices are meant to do their job so seamlessly so that our creative energies can flow uninhibited by pop-up boxes, user difficulties, error messages and other unidentified failures. 
Jobs created products that look calm and ready for your input, like a little metal monk, always open minded and centered. Of course he had other influences and lacked kindness at times, but the attentive philosophy of buddhism and zenfulness likely had an impact in his iconic career. 
He found his passion and approached it with many aspects of Zen ideas like, question everything, and have a "beginners mind". These are ideas which can really be brought to any profession and practice.

(It makes you wonder about all those Apple circles - not unlike the buddhist practice kinhin of walking in circles while meditating...very reminicent of the revollutionary "loading" circle of steps on apple devices...)

It takes time "staring at the wall" and noticing life before the calm exudes over you like an uncased iphone sitting alone. Sometimes the busyness just makes life messy, unlike all the hours and ideas and tinkering that led to an apple product into which we see no guts, no mechanisms, no wires - even on the products with wires, these "flaws" are almost pretty.

Zen doesn't have to be a reclused onslaught to your life, but everyone of us can find a bit more peace in ordinary moments, just noticing them. Here's to Zen.


  1. Congratulations on completing the challenge. I've enjoyed the journey from A-Zen!

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