Zen and the Art of Anything“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.” – Robert Pirsig. Some people can search for Zen their entire lives, and still never really know what the hell it is. They know it’s a feeling, and that it should make them happy, but that’s as far as they get. They seek a practical approach to inciting Zen, an emotional instruction manual to deliver them directly to a serene and mindful psychological space. Yet as far as I’m aware, there’s no specific algorithm for getting there. Not one that fits any two people anyway. Zen who? So, if Zen’s such a desirable emotion, what actually is it? Well, according to the dictionary it’s ‘A Japanese sect of Mahayana Buddhism that aims at enlightenment by direct intuition through meditation’. To most other people, it’s simply happiness. While such word substitution may anger Buddhist fundamentalists, the urban dictionary has spoken. So, if we associate the attainment of Zen with happiness, you’re probably thinking this whole endeavour is futile. I mean, no one has the answer to that right? Well, before we go lumping the two words together, let me give you my definition. I would argue that Zen is total contentment with the self, a togetherness of mind and body. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Those moments when you feel that everything is right, you’re breathing in time, and slotting squarely into place. It’s a tranquillity that transcends joy. Sustainable growth The reason I prefer Zen to happiness is that it’s more sustainable. Happiness is an extreme, and like any extreme, it must be tempered with its adversary. If perpetual happiness were the aim, the feeling would fade into perpetual normality. Zen is a feeling that can bridge the emotional spectrum.