By Kristen Manieri

Staying Centered in Turbulent Times

The world is a very unsettled and uncertain place at the moment. And while we all look to someone or someplace for answers, perhaps we have an opportunity to look no further than the very next moment for refuge. This week we welcome Karen Maezen Miller, a Zen Buddhist priest, who shares her guidance for staying centered and calm in these turbulent times.

Karen Maezen Miller is a Zen Buddhist priest she teaches about spirituality in everyday life at the Hazy Moon Zen Center in Los Angeles. She is the author of three books: Momma Zen, Hand Wash Cold and Paradise in Plain Sight.

Learn more about Karen Maezen Miller at karenmaezenmiller.com.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Here are a few of my favorite moments and key takeaways:

  • “It’s our essential, true nature to be calm and quiet. To be alert, to be present. That’s really what the state of our original mind is. But we have cultivated on top of that, lots of tricks, lots of devices, lots of escape routes. The busyness and even the panic that we feel that in many times is brought on by our own pattern of thinking. It’s difficult to do something that we’re not in the habit of doing, and for certain in our culture, and in this time, being still and quiet can really seem like it’s punitive. It can really seem like it’s the sickness instead of being the medicine. But this truly is the medicine. What we’re being given to do, is a profound prescription for health.”
  • “This is the same place we always live. We always live in a state of not knowing what will happen next. It’s easy to pretend that things will stay the same as we’re accustomed to. And so we rush to those behaviors that we think will protect and secure us. When in fact, what we’re being called to do is make ourselves comfortable with discomfort with the unknown. And like it or not, we are going to be able to handle it, and we’re going to be able to get through.”
  • “Do what needs doing right in front of you. Care for what appears in front of you. I’m sorry that it doesn’t sound more interesting than washing the dishes, or doing the laundry or walking the dog or making the bed. Somebody may expect me to say, well now, sit down on a meditation cushion and face the wall for 30 minutes. Those of us who do that, that’s fine. But those of us who don’t do that can find the same attentiveness, the same steadiness in simply taking care of what appears in front of you. Sometimes that’s hanging up the towel after you take a shower. It’s cooking, or reading. I don’t care what the activity is. If you engage in it whole heartedly, with your complete attention, then it will be a gateway to repose and bliss.”

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Until next time,