Monday, April 15, 2013

Five Aspects of a Well Being Life

In Bernard Glassman's book, Instructions to a Cook: A Zen Master's Lessons on Living A Life that Matters, the author proposes that a life well lived consists of five aspects and that these five aspects constitute a zen life.  I define a zen life as a life of well being.The five aspects are:

Study and Learning
Social Action and Change
Relationships and Community

In elaboration...

*helps us realize the oneness of life
*provides a still point at the center of all our activities
*consists of certain spiritual practices, such as prayer, meditation, singing, taking walks, spending time alone, spend time with others, reading, listening,      discussing, creating, anything that reminds of the oneness of life

Study and Learning
         *provides intelligence and wisdom
         *before you begin things
         *never merely abstract
         *practical application to our lives
         *sustains us in the spiritual world
         *work and business-the meat and potatoes
         *taking care of ourselves
         *making a living in the world

Social Action and Change
         *grows naturally out of spirituality, study and learning, and livelihood
*once we begin to take care our own own basic needs, we become more aware   of the needs of the people around us
         *realizing the oneness of life
         *reaching out to people

Relationships and Community
*brings seemingly separate parts of our lives together into a harmonious whole
*the aspect that brings all of the other aspects into a joyous gathering of people

To paraphrase Glassman, all the aspects make up the supreme aspect of all our lives: well being.  It is not question of of trying to arrange our lives so that we have equal amounts of each aspect.  We all need different parts and different amounts at different times in our lives.  We have to look at our situation and find out how much of each aspect is needed at any given moment.

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