Cultivate a Zen Mindset by Learning from the Best Spiritual Teachers of Our Time

The 5 Key Qualities of Zen People.

Karolin Wanner
Oct 9, 2020 · 7 min read

Have you ever been around a spiritual teacher? Their presence makes us feel calm and blissful. Our thoughts disappear and we don’t know why. Their energy is intoxicating in a good way.

Most topics spiritual teachers of our time talk about have been told many times in history by Buddha, Lao Tzu, and many others. Yet, it is difficult for us to comprehend the meaning behind these words. What if we stop waiting until we understand the wisdom of mindful people and start acting like them instead? Learning by doing.

What makes spiritual people so special? How are they, and how can we be a little more like them to make the world a better place right now?

They are Kind & Compassionate

Compassion is the natural state of our mind. — Gelong Thubten

The Buddhist monk Gelong Thubten explains during one of his talks that Buddhism believes the nature of human consciousness is unconditional love. When we are born we are conscious and kind.

Now, 2,500 years later, we can link this Buddhist principle with neuroscience. Oxytocin, the chemical for unconditional love, is found in mothers’ milk. When we are giving unconditionally like during breastfeeding, we produce oxytocin. It fosters bonding and a loving connection between mother and child.

Gelong Thubten sees this as proof that we are ‘hard-wired for love on a chemical level’.

The higher our level of consciousness is, the more compassionate and kind we are. Because this is how human nature has always been.

‘Finding yourself’ consists of peeling off years of social conditioning to find a self as it existed during childhood, un-masked. — Unknown

How to Become More Compassionate?

Gelong Thubten suggests a ‘compassion sandwich’. In the beginning and at the end of every meditation, take a few moments for compassionate thoughts.

What we practice becomes stronger. We can rewire our brains and peel off everything that does not serve us anymore. Use this dedicated moments to foster compassionate thoughts:

I want to bring peace and love into this world. I am kind and compassionate.

What is your motivation behind your meditation practice? Most of us started to feel calmer, to relax, or to increase our brain function and creativity. All of this is very selfish.

When we meditate for all beings, then we use the genuine power of meditation and make it last. The first time I tried the compassion sandwich, the beautiful feeling of oneness overwhelmed me.

If our meditation practice is self-motivated it dries out like a drop of water on my hand. If it is compassion motivated, it is like putting the drop of water into the ocean. And it will last forever. — Gelong Thubten

They are Patient & Calm

Do you also admire people who seem to have endless patience? I am working on my patience for my entire life, and I am getting better since I listened to one of Eckhart Tolle’s YouTube videos.

Just by watching him, I feel more patient. He explains being impatient is the desire to get out of the present moment. Being patient is being present.

When somebody makes us wait, we wish we would have a fast-forward button. Instead, we can use this time to grow and tolerate the discomfort. In every situation, we have the choice to choose happiness.

Eckhart Tolle has a point, nobody else can waste our time, we are the source of our suffering at this moment.

How to Cultivate Patience?

He recommends welcoming such moments as an opportunity to be present in the here and now.

When you feel the irritations focus on your breath and wait until the anger passes. Moments of waiting are a gift for every practitioner.

Boredom, anger, sadness or fear and are not ‘yours’, not personal. They are conditions of the human mind. They come and go. Nothing what comes and goes is you. — Eckhart Tolle

They are Masters in Self-Reflection

When you spend time with a conscious person, you notice they mention how experiences make them feel, but they never get entangled in their emotions.

They are constant observers of what is going on inside of them.

They also have negative feelings and thoughts, but they don’t engage with them. Mindful people observe first before they react.

Most of us do this the other way around, we get angry and start shouting and arguing. Only later, we reflect on our behavior.

Self-reflection is an important skill for self-improvement. Many people never reflect. They are unconscious of their own doing.

How to Practice Self-Observation?

Start observing your thoughts and feelings during the day in non-challenging situations. When the little voice comes up, tell yourself:

I am the observer, so I am not the voice in my head and I am not the mind.

Through this practice, you can detach yourself from your thoughts. When you are the observer, then you are present. You cannot get entangled in your thoughts and emotions.

When a challenging situation arises try to do the same. It is harder, but the more you practice, the faster you can jump into the role of the observer.

First, it will take a few minutes after the situation has passed. Next time, you’ll find yourself overreacting in the middle of doing it and one day you will notice before you react to a situation.

They Accept the Law of Change

If we like it or not, everything is constantly transforming into something else. We do. Your body just replaced 20.000 cells while you were reading this. We completely change our skin every two to four weeks.

Slight changes happening everywhere all the time. Minor changes lead to big changes. We cannot stop this process. So we are better off accepting or even embracing change.

But research shows most humans are highly resistant to change, even if it deteriorates their health. Only 1 in 7 heart disease patients will change their lifestyle habits to fight off the disease.

Mindful people don’t resist change. They go with the flow and have learned to tolerate the discomfort which comes with stepping out of your comfort zone.

When they feel distressed, they slow down and use the discomfort to grow. Every change offers an opportunity to practice.

How to Become Comfortable with Change?

The author John Kehoe says there are only 3 causes of change in our lives: choice, chance, and crisis.

Each of us will be faced with all three modes of change, but using choice allows us to navigate our life with greater dexterity, and it should be a whole lot more fun. — John Kehoe

We know everything is changing, and if we don’t improve things they will get worse. There is no state of keeping the status quo.

Focus on the areas you want to improve and make development a part of your life. If you feel discomfort, be aware of your resistance. It is natural for humans to resist change due. Observe the resistance to understanding where it comes from.

Every difficulty is an opportunity to grow. No challenge, no growth.

They Practice Self Care

Your ability to love another person, depends on your ability to love yourself. — Thich Nhat Hanh

We can only serve others when we keep our body and mind in the best shape we can. The Dalai Lama follows a strict morning routine consisting of exercise and mediation before breakfast.

He takes a walk or works out on a treadmill at 4 am to keep his body fit. Only when his body is healthy, he can attend the many meetings and conferences around the world to fight for a better tomorrow.

When he is not feeling well, he puts himself first and cancels appointments which don’t align with his self-care principles.

He lives what he preaches and shows us we always have the choice to take care of ourselves.

What counts for our bodies also counts for our minds. Being conscious in this distracting world is difficult. It is a skill we need to practice and nurture. If we don’t practice, our awareness will deteriorate.

Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health. — Dalai Lama

How to Practice Self-Care & Follow a Meditation Routine?

Self-care comes in many forms, and you need to discover the one which suits you best. Find a routine to keep your body in shape and to calm the mind.

Set one goal for each and stick to it over your life. Especially when times get tough, these established routines can save you.

Move your body regularly to keep fit. Find your favorite sport or keep it simple like the Dalai Lama and go for walks.

Meditation is a tool to calm your mind. You don’t have to meditate for hours like the Dalai Lama to develop consciousness. Studies suggest only a few seconds up to 10 minutes of daily meditation increase awareness.

Take just a few minutes every day to be present. This can be during a sitting meditation or a mindful walk in nature or even through your apartment. I enjoy the 4–7–8 breathing technique; it catapults me into the present moment in no time. (Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts, and exhale through the mouth for 8 counts.)

Only a few people on this planet had their spiritual awakening. Only a few had a glimpse of the truth, the essence.

They are the greatest spiritual leaders of our time. All of them have something in common: they are kind, compassionate, patient, calm, self-reflective, self-caring, and use difficulties to grow.

By adopting only a few of their habits and qualities, we can be part of the human evolution, the awakening of consciousness for a better tomorrow.

Peace comes from being aligned with the present moment. Wherever you are, you feel that you are home, because you are home. — Eckhart Tolle

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Karolin Wanner

Written by

Words to Inspire: Find Your Natural State of Being: Happy, Kind, Compassionate and Healthy. Sign up for my email list: IG: karo.wanner

Change Your Mind Change Your Life

Read short and uplifting articles here to help you shift your thought, so you can see real change in your life and health.

Karolin Wanner

Written by

Words to Inspire: Find Your Natural State of Being: Happy, Kind, Compassionate and Healthy. Sign up for my email list: IG: karo.wanner

Change Your Mind Change Your Life

Read short and uplifting articles here to help you shift your thought, so you can see real change in your life and health.

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