Sunday Zen: The Zen Inside You

“The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.”
― Robert M. Pirsig, author of the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values

I am learning that a feeling of Zen can happen anywhere — because I bring it with me. Certainly a serene environment can make a feeling of calm and centeredness more possible, but I have found Zen on a crowded subway in Tokyo; at the tail end of a panic attack, just when my nervous system lost its grip on my terror; at hospital and hospice beds of dying loved ones; in traffic waiting to cross the 520 bridge on the way to my physical therapy appointments; and in front of classes of 30 college students who wished they were anywhere but in the classroom.

I have sensed it inside of me while making breakfast, doing laundry, entering insurance claims for clients, brushing the cat, and even, dare I say it, shaving my legs.

Do I always feel Zen during stressful moments? No. Do I always feel Zen during mundane moments? No. But do I sense it there inside me, as part of me, waiting as a potential, sometimes calming me to the core?  Yes.

Can you feel your inner Zen?  Scan your body. Where does it live right now?  After you have found where it’s located in your body, sense what it feels like? Is it small or large, still or moving, clear or foggy?  Is it a particular color, shape, texture?

Right now I feel my inner Zen lives in the center of my sternum, close to the surface. It is flat, about the size of a penny, but it’s light in weight. It’s yellow and gold and its light radiates out in all directions. When I focus on it, it calms my nervous stomach.

While it is magnificent to find places of peace and serenity to accentuate your feeling of Zen– the forest, a creek, the ocean, a spa, a quiet chair in your home — see if you can also cultivate it inside of you and remember to bring it along with you wherever you go.  It’s there. Touch it with your mind. Sense it with your body. Listen to it with your heart.


About Courtney Putnam

I first came to healing work through art and writing. Creating collage art and poetry in particular allowed me to deeply understand the benefit of self-expression in the healing process. But, I also began to see the benefit of bodywork (manual work in the form of massage and energywork in the form of Reiki) as keys to unlocking the emotional stresses we hold in our bodies. I became a Reiki practitioner in 2002, received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2003, received my massage license in the spring of 2006, and became a Reiki Master in 2010. In my practice I bring together these three areas -- the body, the mind, and the spirit (or energy body) -- so others may experience profound and positive change in their lives.
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