Well OK Zen
Writer Leo Babauta’s popular blog provides instant access to living Zen.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Leo Babauta is insistent. “I’d be happy to talk to you, but honestly, I’m not a Zen master…I don’t feel like I’m a good representative of Zen,” he emails.
What the San Francisco resident is, though, is one of Zen’s most passionate “civilian” practitioners, a father of six, a writer, a runner, a vegan—and the owner (a non-Zen word if ever there was one) of one of the most popular websites in the world.
More than 200,000 subscribers regularly turn to the reader-supported Zen Habits (www.zenhabits.net) for advice on everything from how to be still, how to rise early and the comprehensive “simple living manifesto,” featuring 72 ideas to simplify your life. (Or he says you can go with just the top two: “Identify what’s most important to you. Eliminate everything else.”)
Time magazine named Zen Habits one of the Top 25 blogs of 2010. Perhaps most interesting, though, is a combination of highly deliberate moves he’s taken with the site he launched in 2007.
Babauta doesn’t take advertising. He doesn’t want to promote any product, book, website or service (“Please don’t ask me…or I will karate chop you,” he writes), and he has also yanked the copyright from his site. He doesn’t care if others appropriate his work, reprint it with or without credit, improve on it or “put in a bunch of swear words,” he says.
“You can’t steal what is freely given,” he adds.
He appreciates attribution, but he’s fine without it too.
He recommends newcomers to the site go slowly, absorbing one or two posts at a time. Here is some quick Zen advice from the accumulated wisdom of more than 1,000 posts:
1. How to Stop Acting Like Such a Big Baby: Make it a priority to notice every time you complain or unnecessarily criticize. This includes judging others. After you notice, ask yourself: Is there anything I can do about what I’m complaining about? If there is nothing you can do, let it go.
2. The No. 1 Habit of Highly Creative People: Solitude. With quiet, you can hear your thoughts, you can reach deep within yourself, you can focus.
3. How to Become an Early Riser: Start slowly, put your alarm clock far from your bed, do not rationalize, take advantage of all that extra time.
4. The Zen of Doing: Just do. The rest of the world becomes meaningless distraction. It’s just you and your doing.
5. The Elements of Living Lightly: Think of nothing that happens as either good or bad. Stop judging and stop expecting.