The art of romance and the art of Zen are actually very similar. By romance we mean the feeling of love, happiness, joy and delight in just waking up in the morning. We mean being able to be excited about our day, our lives and the people we meet along the way. This is usually the way we feel when we are with or have met someone we particularly care for who cares for us that way as well.
When we are with someone we care for and who cares for us there is a heightened sense of being beautiful, valuable and seeing the other that way as well. We feel we have found a person we can trust, share with, be open with and intimate. We no longer have to live in the straight jacket we have placed ourselves in. What a wonderful way to feel about life,oneself and another person. In Zen as we practice, we become to feel that way about everyone and about each of our days, no matter what is going on.
Most feel that romance just comes out of the blue, there is no way to know when, or how to hold onto it. Some say it is a gift and a blessing, bestowed upon us when we are lucky, or in the right place at the right time. Some say romance comes only to the fortunate few. Some even refuse romance, because they feel the happiness it brings cannot ever last. They'd rather not get their hopes up and experience a let down later on.
While romance is certainly a gift and a blessing, and we all want to live the enhanced sense of life it brings, there are actually many steps we can take to prepare the way for it. Each individual has a part in welcoming this state of being into their lives and a part in keeping it going. Romance is not just for the lucky few, but can come to all at any point in life, to anyone, at any moment.
The real question we must ask ourselves is are we willing to let it in? Are we willing to give ourselves and another this most precious gift of all? As we engage in Zen practice we see that there are certain ways in which we keep romance from our doorstep, and other ways in which we invite it in. Here is an exercise to start with: More can be found in Living By Zen (Timeless Truths For Everyday Life)
The One Beside You Now
Look at a person who is close to you right now ? anyone it happens to be. Notice the ways in which you push him away. Stop doing that for a moment. Become still. Stop thinking of what you want from the person and just become aware of what he is offering and what he is not. Allow the two of you to be together in whatever way you are. Just be with it all for a little while and let it be fine the way it is.
Do the same thing tomorrow with someone else. We discount so many people who are in our worlds, while waiting for "the right one" to appear. As we take on Zen practice and principles, we soon discover that the romance we want, the heightened sense of beauty and happiness is right within ourselves. It comes alive when we see each person truly.
Dr. Brenda Shoshanna, is a psychologist, relationship expert, author and speaker. This article is based upon her most recent book, Living By Zen, http://www.livingbyzen.com. Dr. Shoshanna offers talks and workshops and is also the author of Zen And The Art of Falling In Love, (Simon and Schuster), Why Men Leave, (Putnam) What He Can't Tell You and Needs To Say, (Putnam), and Zen Miracles (Finding Peace In An Insane World), (Wiley). You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her personal website is http://www.brendashoshanna.com