Find Love The Zen Way

"If he comes we welcome,
If he goes we do not pursue"
Zen saying

We all want love. We are all searching for some lasting relationship. Yet it always seems as if relationships are difficult, difficult to find, to keep and to enjoy. Though many do all they can, problems, complications and disappointment arise.

But from the Zen point of view, struggling to find and keep love is the opposite of what is needed. First we must learn 'do nothing'. We must learn how to let go of control.

Rena started Zen practice after losing two important relationships. Devastated, she was convinced she could never hold onto love.

She told the Zen Master, "I can't bear losing even one more person."
"You will lose many," the Zen Master said.
Rena gasped.
"Inevitable."
"What can I do about it?" Rena shot back.
"Do nothing,: the Zen Master said.

This 'do nothing' is active and vital, the very opposite of passivity. In order to understand this, we must take a step back.

We are born wanting to control our world and the people in it. We scream to get food from mother, smile to receive the attention we crave and, when our needs aren't met kick up a great fuss. As infants we feel that others are here simply to care for us and keep us content. This kind of attitude can be very hard to outgrow. In fact, it can be said that 99% of our precious life energy goes into controlling others so that our desires can be fulfilled.

What we call love in relationships is often no more than having someone who makes us feel good.

The Zen way is the opposite. We do not try to use others, control events, or demand that life fulfill our dreams. Instead, we grow aware of and accepting of all that is given, and learn to take care of the world we live in. As we do this, an odd thing happens, we become more and more fulfilled. As we grow in compassion and simplicity, all we truly need then comes naturally.

Doing Nothing
The only real miracle is to stand still. -Henry Miller

Unfortunately, the idea of 'doing nothing' has been greatly misunderstood. It does not mean be passive. Just the opposite. Do nothing is the most challenging, demanding, revolutionary instruction that can be given. It means, when faced with life's challenges - let go of control.

In order to learn how to do this in Zen meditation we are given this instruction - "Don't Move." Usually we move (and react) all the time. When something bothers us, we shift, change our position, do anything we can to fix it. Although our behavior alters the condition for a little while, it usually comes back again, sometimes more intensely, sometimes in another form. Likewise, no matter what action we take in relationships, often there is nothing that will cause the trouble to go away.

As we surrender control over the condition, we allow things to be as they are. We allow the entire world to play itself out in front of our eyes. This profound action implies an immense respect for the intrinsic nature of people and events, for a larger design in the universe, which brings our good to us, and removes that which no longer belongs.

How often we try to grasp and hold onto that which is no longer suitable, or to desperately maneuver to obtain that which may be entirely wrong. When we do not control, but rather appreciate what is happening, (or who is coming our way) we are yielding to a higher wisdom, permitting life to take its own course.

True Action
When we're in a difficult situation, most of our actions create more upset and complications. These are not truly actions, but reactions. True action is something different. It is clear, spontaneous, purposeful, direct.

In order to arrive at true action we must, first, do nothing. This means we must stop doing what we used to do, cease our knee jerk reactions, stop living like Sisyphus, rolling the same rock up the same mountain. We must be able to bear the temporary discomfort of stopping our usual ways.

As we do this, many upsets dissolve naturally. We do not fan the flames. We do not turn a summer rain into a violent thunderstorm, which can tear an entire relationship apart.

When you are faced with a difficult knot in a relationship, or when you are trying to find someone new to love - don't squirm and wrestle, don't enter into a struggle. "Do nothing" give up control. Stay centered and immovable in the middle of the storm and see what the life is truly bringing to you. Keep clear and compassionate. Let the situation unfold as it will. Don't get picked up and whirled around like a leaf in the wind.

Relax Your Grip
Zen teaches us how to relax our grip. As this happens we begin to see each person as they truly are, not as we wish or demand. We also realize that it is not an act of love, to try to change and control another. It is an act of love to discover and appreciate who they truly are.

When we let each moment, each person be exactly as they are this is the great work of doing nothing. It is the work of non-interference with the primal wisdom of the universe, which runs through all things and beings, including ourselves.

When we step back and allow this harmony to take over, our entire lives are healed and enhanced. That which is right for us comes naturally, and difficult situations find their own healing as well. When we honor and uphold life as it is given, then inevitably, life honors and upholds us.

Brenda Shoshanna, Ph.D., psychologist,workshop leader and author is a long term Zen practitioner whose work integrates Zen and everyday life. This article is based upon her most recent book, Living By Zen (Timeless Truths For Everyday Life) http://www.livingbyzen.com. Take a minute to go to the site to find out more about the book. Dr. Shoshanna, the relationship expert on i.village is also the author of Zen And The Art of Falling In Love, (Simon and Schuster), Zen Miracles, (Finding Peace In An Insane World) and many other books. She can be reached at [email protected] Her personal website is http://www.brendashoshanna.com

In The News:

Building relationships  Mount Airy News
Relationships Where More Means Less  The Wall Street Journal

Is The Internet A Miracle Cure For Loneliness?

A few years ago a surprising survey discovered that people... Read More

The Womans Guide to Younger Men

I often awake to find Beverly, my older wife, wrapped... Read More

Dating Women From Russia: Important Tips The Marriage Agencies Never Tell You

I want to share with you information that the Russian... Read More

What You Should Know About Domestic Abuse

What is domestic abuse?There are many forms of domestic abuse,... Read More

Relationships: Last a Lifetime

Stepping into a new position brought along a few surprises.... Read More

How to Handle a Cheating Partner

Most people do not understand the nature of cheating within... Read More

Conflicts Dont Have to Mean a Fight to the Death

Although conflict in marriage is inevitable, fighting is optional.The secret... Read More

Affairs: What an Affair Really Is and What an Affair Really Does

We hear about it all the time - in magazines,... Read More

Has The Magic Gone From Your Relationship?

Kathleen and Dan have been together for several years now.... Read More

Secrets To Get To The Heart Of Your Loved One

The other day, I was home with my sweet love... Read More

How To Tell If Someone You Meet In An Online Profile Or Advert Is Married/Partnered Or A Troll - 3

Liar, Liar! Pants On Fire!Today, you'll learn about 2 yellow-flag... Read More

Lobster - The Food Of Romantics

Summer has arrived! Woo-Hoo! Do you know what always comes... Read More

Romantic Gifts ? 10 Sizzling Ways to Give Them

When it comes to giving a romantic gift, it's not... Read More

Essense of Infidelity

On one very popular web site there were 260 posts... Read More

Rhubarb Romance: A Little Honey Works Wonders

Spring is in the air. It is a time of... Read More

The Unfairly Judged Professor

An All Too Familiar TaleShe takes her teaching responsibilities seriously;... Read More

True Friendships - How to Get True Friends and Friendships

True Friendship - RecognitionHow can we find true friendships in... Read More

Honesty Accepted - Deception Denied

We've all done it at one time or another, or... Read More

When Someone You Love is Moving

Your best friend moves a thousand miles, your aunt retires... Read More

The Evolution of Dating at 40 and 50

I am sick of the dating scene at 40. The... Read More

A Womans World

Women are simply wonderful don't you think? This question is... Read More

Sacred Relationships: Divine Source

Questions and Answers from Divine Source Through Barbara Rose1. What... Read More

Russian Brides - Who Are They?

In recent years, thousands of young Russian and Ukrainian women... Read More

The Top 10 Ways to Keep Passion in Your Relationship

All long-term relationships go through a variety of phases. There... Read More

Setting Boundaries: Business Clients and Boyfriends

Setting boundaries is necessary in any human relationship.Whether you're dealing... Read More