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Daily Zen

The zen diary, june : pass an exam and stay zen.

A Zen chronicle written with the journalist François Busson for the Swiss magazine L’Illustré.

Month by month, a journey through the little worries of everyday life – practical exercises to modify our relationship to existence.

The author of this text, Kankyo Tannier, is a Zen Buddhist nun far from the clichés of spirituality. A very active blogger on social networks, she offers an inner journey of humour, optimism and simplicity. She is also the author of two bestsellers: “The gift of silence” ( Yellow Kite publisher ), already translated into 14 languages, and “In search of the present time” ( 4 translations). Kankyo Tannier is interested in everything that can give meaning to our lives: those little things of everyday life, those joyful rituals, those magical moments that open the doors of heaven. Her approach is accessible to everyone, without dogmas or beliefs. It is part of a modern spirituality, in touch with real life. Open yourself to the meaning of existence… but keep your feet on the ground.

YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/DailyzenFr ( videos in english or french with english subtitles )
Her monastery: www.meditation-zen.org/en

June : pass an exam and stay zen.

June is the month of exams and other trials for school kids. A true passage from the riverbank of adolescence across the river to adulthood. During this period, and in view of all the issues, there is a tendency for stress to mount up. A situation that their parents could have experienced during a job interview, or a request for a pay increase, or the first talks about your sister’s wedding.

Our brain is very quick to see everything in disaster mode. Each one of us is capable of envisaging one by one all the possible catastrophe scenarios, in great detail, ending up with a racing heart and a lump in the stomach. Twice the pain. But since you are so gifted at imagining the worst, why not try to anticipate the best? For this, two pathways are offered to you.

Start to direct your brain.

That is, present it with clear objectives, that are precise and measurable. For example : reflect on the ideal state of mind , emotions and body that would precede your speaking. Remember moments in your life when you have felt this ideal state. Then imagine your double entering the exam room, the boss’s office or the parish church. And then? Let your inner Steven Spielberg go to work: let him dream, put together the best scenario for D Day and embody the self assured person you have imagined.

The key : When we present something to our mind, it prepares our brain for completing the task.

In addition : anticipate the scene, not only in mental images, but also with agreeable physical sensations.

Stay in the present moment.

Fix yourself solidly on your present daily routine: that’s to say, your revision plan, the choice of concrete arguments as to why you deserve an increase , or sliding some humour into your presentation where you can laugh along with the people present. It’s an ideal moment to incarnate “for real” that key element of Buddhist wisdom: the possibility of living without projecting into the future, just being in the moment.

The key : as the future hasn’t yet arrived , the only place you can be present is right now.

In addition : take some deep breaths to anchor yourself in your body.

Drawing : Guilllaume Long. Picture : Katy-anna Gibbe, Stan Wang-Genh



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