If you're interested in conscious living, then likely you're just as equally interested in Zen but simply not knowingly interested.

Usually Zen is associated with Japanese culture and religious or Buddhism practice, but true Zen (or at least the way this site uses the term) is emphasizing the value of conscious living.

Zen and conscious living come together and go hand-in-hand. Hence, conscious living without Zen is a huge oversight and vice-versa because these are not two.

"Conscious Flex: Zen & Conscious Living" is designed to offer a partnership of how these seemingly two are actually one movement.

Zen is the foundational spaciousness or presence from which conscious living derives. In the same manner that an artist, inventor or intuitive actions come from the stillness in the silence of non-movement.

In other words, Zen is a resting in the powerful space of not thinking about thought, not doing anything about doing, not trying to be the solver or understander, the knower collector but simply allowing the intelligence of life to flow through you and as you.

What is described can be thought of as meditation or accessing our intuition, but it's actually just natural living.

Often you will see kids in a natural resting space or presence and we tell them "snap out of it" because we think they are in "lala land" or "fantasy land" and not paying attention but actually they are simply being completely present with what is. It's natural to just rest and be, that's the flow from which insight and wisdom arises from.

Hence, conscious living is also the natural flow of how life organically expands upon itself. Consequently, conscious living is Zen living, when it's pure and without conceptual overlays.

  • How to Access Unshakable Happiness

    We tend to relate to happiness through relative experiences. As a result, when we have an unfavorable experience, we are overcome with feelings which relate to the unfavorable experience. Hence, our experience with happiness appears to be in direct relationship with the outer environment, and since experience is constantly changing, so is our happiness.

    We'll arrive at how happy people access unshakable happiness, but first, let's lay a foundation of understanding about the nature of experiences and how the relating factor of perspective alludes us into a constant experience of changing feelings.

    What? Unshakable Happiness?
    Our experience with happiness, due to our relative perspective of changing feelings, is not only subject to the changing environment, but also the term "unshakable happiness" would be perceived as impossible and anyone who suggests this quality is seen as naive, mumbling spiritual nonsense, or trying to sell something.

    We are conditioned to believe that what we experience is a product of reality, not perspective. Especially if we have decades of experiences which seem to appear predicable and common or normal to every human we come into contact with.

    And yet, the amazing thing about perspective, is that, even if we met someone who has a unique or different way of being, we convince ourselves that their perspective is wrong or lacking reality. We are not even open to questioning their perspective or our own, we simply assume we know they are fake or delusional. Thus, it can be quite a challenge to open to change, possibility, potential, learning, or growth.

    The shocking reality about this is that everyone has access to unshakable happiness (since it's always happening), but most of us simply keep ignoring our direct and actual experiences in favor for our perspectives about our experiences. In other words, our perspectives about reality, stop us from experiencing the true nature of reality. We can only experience what reality really is when we directly open to it, without filtering it through our perspective of it. We filter our experiences of reality through our habitual perspectives, which have been conditioned within us by culture since we were small children.

    Feelings Guide Us to Happiness 
    The nature of experience is to simply show us what is there within us. If we feel something unfavorable within us, it's our opportunity to examine our perspective. Unpleasant feelings are the wisdom and compass of life, they tell us when we are viewing reality through an unnatural perspective.

    Thus, we don't have problematic experiences, which result in unfavorable feelings. We have unnatural perspectives, which lead to unfavorable feelings. Experiences are neutral , there is no such thing as an unfavorable experience, only an unfavorable feeling. You may not want certain experiences to happen, but that's because those experiences feel awful. It's not the experience itself that feels awful, it's the feeling that feels awful. Experience alone doesn't feel. You can't feel an experience, you can only feel feelings about experience. A feeling is an overlay that covers the surface of experience. We don't have feelings about experiences, we have thoughts about experiences, which produce feelings. Feelings give every experience a flavor, based on how natural or unnatural the perspective of that experience is.

    Experience + perspective of that experience = feeling.

    However, we were conditioned to relate to experiences as problems that need to be solved and once we solve all the problematic experiences, then our experiences as a whole will be fuller. Hence, by this conceptual framework of perspective, happiness is a result of getting what we want (fuller experiences = the feeling of happiness).

    Since we don't question our perspectives, all we notice is experience

    (Good/ bad) Experience = (happy/ sad) feeling.

    Controlling experiences, or fixing them, is our only measure to access happiness. We assume that what we are experiencing, is what life is. There is no perspective to consider or notice. Thus, only the experience is seen and therefore fixing experiences seems like a logical solution to experiencing happiness.

    Self-fulfilling Prophecy
    It's strange because what we think we are experiencing, turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy, because we are not noticing what we are thinking about what we are experiencing. We are only noticing the experience. Yet, what we think about our experiences is the foundation of the perspective which generates the feeling.

    Next time you're angry, notice the thoughts you're telling yourself about why you're angry. Those thoughts that justify the anger, are the cause of the anger. It's those thoughts, that are producing the feeling of anger. You're not feeling anger, then having true thoughts about why you feel that way. You're having false thoughts, a false perspective about reality, which is manufacturing a feeling that is directly related to those thoughts you're telling yourself.

    It's only natural that when you tell yourself false thoughts, you will feel unnatural feelings.

    For example, how to do you feel when you believe that your boss doesn't like you?
    How do you feel when you realize that your boss treats everyone the way he treats you and that how he treats you is not personal?
    Did your boss change, or your perspective of your boss? It was your thoughts about your boss that changed the feelings you were having. The experience didn't change, the boss didn't change, you didn't change to get your boss to like you; the false perspective was simply noticed and now you don't take it personal.

    When we don't question, investigate, examine, notice, become aware of our perspectives (what we're thinking about the experience), we miss the opportunity and invitation to experience something new. So, we continue to experience the same reality of changing feelings, for decades, and assume it's because this is the way life is. This is why existence feels to be a roller-coast of ups and downs, the same mundane life, familiar, predicable, common, normal and exhausting. Instead of something more natural and effortless with automatic ease, flowing with grace, and unshakable happiness; the way life is intended.

    Examining our Perspectives
    If we can consciously work at examining our perspectives every time we experience an unfavorable feelings, our experiences would be more natural because this type of learning and growing is natural to life, and the wisdom of feelings make it easy. Unfavorable feelings = invitation to examine our perspective; what could be more simple and obvious than that?

    Using the method above is one method to overcoming the habitual conditioning of false perspectives, by means of habitually becoming conscious, which will eventually ease the unconscious perspectives into light and be automatically dropped (usually when seen over and over again).

    However, there is another way, that is more instantaneous:

    Noticing Unshakable Happiness
    Since the purpose of experience is to show us what is within us, it's a simple matter of just noticing what is already there within us.

    It's common to think that what is within us is temporary and passing based on the experiences we are having. But experience is constantly here, it's been here all your life. Experience is not a changing phenomenon. What bubbles up from within us changes, based on our perspectives. Perspectives change with time because they're not real (they are false). What is real, doesn't change, it's not temporary. What's real is permanent, constant, unchanging, it can't go anywhere. Truth doesn't change, it's timeless.

    The only thing you can ever be experiencing; is experience. Everything else is changing perspectives. And since, every unfavorable feeling is only experienced through a false perspective, then all unfavorable feelings are also false (generated by the falseness of the mistaken perspective). Thus, you are always experiencing a content happiness, until a false perspectives arises. The perspective is thought to arise out of changing experiences, but it's actually arising out of changing thoughts about experience. Thoughts change, those thoughts are believed, hence ups and downs feelings are generated through the changing thoughts (perspectives).

    Thoughts (when believed) are like overlays that cast a shadow on the surface of experience (the shadow comes in the form of an unfavorable feeling). Much like clouds block the view of the Sun. But the Sun has not vanished, it's merely behind the clouds. As a result, a thought happens, it's thought to be what life is, and a unfavorable feeling bubbles up to the surface. This surface feeling comes to the forefront and can appear to cloud your happiness, but the happiness is still there in the background. The uncomfortable feeling is noisy since it's on the surface and in the forefront, but become aware of the background, focus your attention to the aspect which is still content and calm, in harmony and silence, just be present there in that unchanging presence.

    You will notice that just because a strong emotional and unfavorable feeling is there on the surface, doesn't mean that your contentment and unchanging happiness is gone, it's just more subtle due to the wisdom of feelings trying to bring consciousness to the fact that a false perspective is running unconscious.

    Accessing Unshakable Happiness
    This is also the reason why there seems to be a variety of happy feelings that range from intense and blissful to subtle and relaxing. Unshakable happiness, doesn't have a variety of feeling sensations to it. It's just a constant flow, like life itself.

    In this sense, unshakable happiness is not a happy feeling based on a relative sense of experiencing happiness. It's not produced by anything. This unshakable happiness is more closely described as a way of being, than a feeling. It's a state of being that comes naturally through consciousness. Consciousness itself doesn't change, it's like a camera that views everything equally, hence the unmoving happiness is a quality of this same consciousness, which is also the same unmoving presence. As a result, the range of different intensities to happy feelings are the side-effects of being consciousness, not the consciousness itself.

    We tend to think that happy people are relatively more happy than not happy and that can happen too, but the type of happiness that's being addressed here is something much deeper. Unshakable happiness is a way of being, a way of life, the whole of consciousness in which itself is an unchanging happiness. The quality of this happiness is not your usually variety, it's something more present and vast, but extremely accessible, since it's the most closest aware presence that we are. It's so obvious and intimate that we can easily ignore it as not being there at all, yet we are always this consciousness. It's just this awake and alert awareness that is conscious of reading these words right now.

    That, that is the unshakable happiness. Feel into it right now, while there is no unpleasant feelings, and notice how it feels, what it's like to be conscious; that content feeling is this unshakable happiness. You can fall deeper into it and feel it more fully and intensely by bringing more consciousness to it, but mostly as we live our daily lives, it's just this active hum that quietly penetrates all experience. Even if it's more in the background, it's always there as this.

    At first, it can seem strange because it comes as a contradiction, in which, you can be extremely upset but simultaneously unmoved in joy, even while in upsetness there is joy there too. Some unpleasant or changing feelings can happen on the surface in the forefront, but simultaneously, you remain unshaken by the forefront. Much like a hurricane, the eye of the storm is centered, calm, quite; while simultaneously the meat of the storm is twisting around the center eye and causing chaos.

    The Conscious Toolbox
    These two methods can be used as tools to access unshakable happiness:

    1. The first one, you can become aware of the unconscious perspective which is triggering the unpleasant feeling. We must eventually go through every false perspective and notice how it works, what's believed, why it's so convincing, what triggers it, when is it triggered, etc... If we don't become conscious of our false perspectives, they will continue to show up time and time again because it's unconscious. Unconsciousness must be noticed, or it eludes us. We must learn its tricks, or it will continue to trick us.

    2. Begin to notice the unshakable happiness, which is unmoved by the unconsciousness of strong false feelings moving through your body. This is useful when we want to calm down. It's difficult to notice what is happening on the unconscious level when we are overtaken and lost in the strong unconscious feelings, so accessing the unshakable happiness that we already are, can be useful in these situations. Usually the stronger the emotion, the less it wants to be examined and the greater the resistance to method one.

    There will always be resistance because unconsciousness wishes to remain unconsciousness, but once we understand the benefits, we don't see an alternative. It's challenging, but it's the only challenge that life is asking of us. Everything else is delaying the inevitable. Life only wants us to be happy, unshakably so, because that's what it naturally is. Just discovering this alone, is in itself, a powerful tool.

    Adding these tools to your conscious toolbox will dramatically increase your potential for experiencing unshakable happiness, which will ultimately help you to remain abiding in the always present unshakable happiness. Also, there is nothing wrong with trying to improve your situations by fixing them with solutions. This is sometimes the tool that is needed, especially when you're conscious to the unconscious tendencies of this tool. But there is a time and place for each tool. If you listen within to the same place where the unshakable content happiness resides, in that vast silence, there is an unspeakable presence of wisdom which will know which tool to use and when.