This blog is written so you can read it like a book. Call it a blook.
Every post is a standalone entry, like a page out of a poetry or motivational book. There is no chronology to follow, so the posts needn’t be read in order. Each post is a poem or a Zen Observation from The Soft Chair. Pop around at will, and enjoy the read.
Armchair Zen is not a study of true zen teachings and religion. It embraces many social, ethical and moral philosophies and practices that have been developed by disparate cultures throughout the world over the course of human existence.
Nothing in Armchair Zen is new, nor does it follow any specific ways or teachings any more than it follows Henry David Thoreau’s advice to “Simplify”, President Theodore Roosevelt’s admonition to “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”, or Richard Bach’s observation that “Everything you know could be wrong.”
Here are some basic tenets:
Humans are inherently curious, and have desire for knowledge and understanding. Humans have the capacity for good and love, and the majority of people are good and loving. It’s the path of Armchair Zen to seek to be good and loving, and to live without fear and anxiety. Part of the goal is to help others to pursue this path.
We should question everything, in order to awaken ourselves and raise our awareness, to seek our own answers to the questions in life, to seek the truth.
To develop an appreciation of nature and our place in the natural order of things, to revere and study the wisdom of sages living and dead, to make the world a better place through love and compassion by being loving and compassionate.
To follow cultural and social rules that allow humans to live together in harmony, following these rules is a sign of respect for fellow humans.
All life is created equal, and has an intrinsic value and right to exist, even those forms of life we choose to kill. It is the goal to appreciate this truth in a world where we need to take and destroy, which is also part of the natural order. Enlightened taking and destruction is limited to only that which is essential (take only what you need).
Forgiveness and acceptance are within the power of the human mind and spirit, and are critical elements in achieving life without anxiety, in peace with nature, people and the universe.
Remember that “everyone is someone to somebody”. Though someone may be wrong or evil to you, in someone’s eyes and heart they are a son, daughter, father, mother, husband, wife, brother or sister. Though they may err or turn their back from good and enlightened thought and behavior, their errors or suffering affect the lives of their “somebodies”.
Mahatma Gandhi said it best: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Be at peace.
Comments on: "About Armchair Zen" (15)
love your blook!
So kind of you to say, thank you!
I love Gandhi’s words but they only started to make sense a short while ago. Until then I cunningly focused on trying to change others (passively or actively) which of course was a fruitless and frustrating experience. Changing our own behaviour is a much more difficult and effort-needing process, therefore sitting on the couch with crossed arms and waiting for the other to become that amazing and perfect person that we need him/her to be seems to be the more feasible option. So yes, I’m working on myself and it’s a long road but one worth travelling.
I think you may be much further down the road than you realize.
Start looking around for signs or something.
Anyway, as long as you’re enjoying the ride!
ahh-a book worth reading! loving my visit!
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Has it really been six years since we met?
Before grandchildren and moves and college and selling the ‘Patch.
I marvel at the joy derived from my vicarious visits to your home and family.
Finding and following your blog has been one of the finest and dearest treasures during a particularly visceral, tumultuous and introspective period in my life.
I have had the great good fortune to know just a handful of people which I refer to as “salt of the Earth”. With certainty I declare my life was better for having known them, and they have helped to shape me in deeply significant ways.
I count you among them.
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What a beautiful greeting your words are to the new day. I was telling someone about you the other day, for you too, have been in my own handful of ” folks that made a difference” to me. I was bragging on your poetic posts , music and now painting. Also the encouragement you have lent me throughout our “kinship”-I do not know a better word to use. I am so grateful we did meet, for the world seems a bit cozier knowing you are in it. x Michele-oh and thank you for one of the loveliest comments, ever.
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I like what Gandhi says about being the change, and that’s fine on the surface. But reading ”tomorrowdefinitely”’s comment in which she says she has decided to change seems to me to be quite unbalanced. For harmony to be achieved, surely all have to ‘be’ the change, not just one person in a relationship. You changing to fit the other person’s ideal is a compromise in which only one person seems to get the greatest benefit. Are we then to think that what Gandhi is in essence saying, that compromise is the way forward? What are your thoughts Pazlo? 🙂
tommorowdefinitely’s reply is somewhat tongue-in-cheek (sarcasm). It’s a humorous remark about two mutually exclusive contexts. (And it’s pretty funny.)
What Gandhi meant by his statement “be the change you want to see in the world” is really as simple as “lead by example”. He means that if you think the world must be kinder, more accepting or forgiving, more generous, more compassionate, then you need to be all those things yourself. In one sense it is giving an example for others to emulate, and also perhaps it is all you can do. If you want to help save the impoverished from starvation, you should do what is within your power to help relieve hunger. You can’t single-handedly save everyone that is suffering, but you can do your part to help with relief. He means you can’t force change on others, a facet to which tomorrowdefinitely addressed her humor. She talks of the classic “trying to change someone” in the context of bonded relationships. Gandhi implied the same thing, I believe, but more worldly and sociological in scope . If I go out and do what I can to help relieve suffering in the world (or work toward other goals, such as supporting veterans or aiding those stricken with disease), I will be making a change for the better, that which I would wish for the world.
If I run up and down the halls of Parliament, or carry signs in the street or throw myself from the tower hoping to change others to follow my course, I pursue only folly.
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Paz, I hear you and understand what you are saying. I also understood what Gandhi meant too about being the change and leading by example. However with respect to the other blogger’s comment – I re-read it and don’t think she meant her comment to come across completely tongue-in-cheek. Of course, I saw the humour but she made a valid point too. I’m afraid that we will have to agree to disagree on this one. I think she meant that she saw no point in trying to change someone to be the way you want them to be. So, she was going to be the one to change. She said this was not easily done, but that she thought it was easier to change yourself than someone else. That is the way I’ve read it and of course it would be wonderful if she joined in the conversation to clarify her position.
I think that lobbying Parliament for the change you want to see is not necessarily folly – the ‘crowd’ managed to change Margaret Thatcher’s tax on people (Council tax) by doing exactly that! So whichever way you try to make a change can be done if you are persistent and focused. Thank you for your opinion – I appreciate it.
Best wishes, Marie
No doubt democratic process can bring about change, of course.
I see your point, and I agree, we can change ourselves but changing others can be difficult to impossible.
Thanks for your well-thought and well-written comments.
Looking forward to future dialog.
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Thank you Paz. It’s been great getting your views and I look forward to future dialogue too.:)
Between Bach and Question everything, I do declare you are right. For life is filled with illusion.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
As my grandfather would say, “Believe none of what you hear, half of what you see, and three-quarters of what you think.”
Thanks so much for the link Paz, much appreciated.