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.

  • What Does 'I Love You Unconditionally' Mean? How is Love Conditional?

    I am sure you have hear the term "unconditional" love, or 'I love you unconditionally' but what does it mean? How do we as humans apply 100% love in an unconditional way? How is love not unconditional? What conditions do humans put on love? Is unconditional love a practical teaching? When someone says 'I love you unconditionally' what do they mean?

    When I speak of unconditional love with people, the usual response I get is in one of two ways:
    1. People assuming that unconditional love is something that only a 'saint' would be able to master.
    2. Defining unconditional love, as the natural love they have for all their loved ones.

    What Does I Love Unconditionally Mean?

    The obvious definition is love without condition. Yet, that does not give it enough credit to accurately describe the meaning.

    Unconditional love is a state of consciousness which has qualities to it. Honesty, vulnerability, empathy and compassion are the qualities that stem out of unconditional love. Unconditional love is way of being or a way of life. It doesn't happen just between family or only in romantic relationships; if it's genuine, all living creatures are considered family.

    False Boundaries that Block Unconditional Love
    Unconditional love is not as challenging as it seems, all it takes is a shift in conscious perspective by unlearning preconditioned habits. We were all pure, vulnerable, raw, and innocent as children. We didn't know what it meant to not be honest. We got along with everyone despite race, country, beliefs, etc... we didn't discriminate these things as different because these borders are not really boundaries, except ideas of boundaries that were taught to us.

    Now we are conditioned to live our lives within these false boundaries. Color, creed, and race differences. democrat versus republican, the separation of countries, religion versus other belief systems, science against religion, spirituality against religion, your property and my property, your wife and my wife, your life and my life, your business and my business, success versus failure, education versus no education, productive versus lazy, who I am versus who you are.... etc.... the list is immense, but none of it is actually based on anything other than ideas.

    Unconditional love recognizes that the human essence in all humanity is the same. We all need healthy food, clean water, clean air, and a reliable shelter with a solid foundation. We all need a sustainable planet if are to survive. We all have the same emotions and feelings, we are all conditioned by our culture and how we were raised, we are all human.

    Unconditional love sees the human essence of everybody, no matter what. Any moment the human is not seen and an idea about that human is overlaying the human essence, then the human is no longer treated as a human essence. All that is seen is the boundary (separation, division, idea, label) that was place upon them.

    For example, if you were taught that a person is bad based on what he does, then you see "That person is bad." and now you give yourself permission to treat that person badly. We are conditioned to feel good about treating "bad people" in bad ways. If you question this, next time you watch a Hollywood movie, notice how you feel when the "good guy" physically punishes or kills the "bad guy".

    Unconditional Love is Natural, once Conditions are Deconditioned
    Unconditional love sees that punishing "bad people" doesn't undo the unwanted behavior. In fact, it reinforces the behavior. The behavior was conditioned within them based on false boundaries and false ideas of others and themselves, hence the conditioned behavior has to be deconditioned, then unconditional love is natural. When the condition is deconditioned, unconditional love is natural because that is who we were (who we naturally are) before we were conditioned by our collective cultural conditioning of society.

    Words are very tricky because words give the impression that if a person is labeled as a bad person, then they are wholly and fully bad in all situation and all times. First, nobody is bad. There are only words or actions that are unfavorable or unpleasant to the person calling someone else "bad".

    Unwanted Feelings because of Unmet Needs
    When you or someone else says, "That person is bad", what is really being said is "That person had done something to me that does not meet my needs and makes me feel unwanted feelings". Whatever has happened, the only thing that is trying to be communicated is about the experience of unpleasant feelings due to unmet needs by another.

    However, when the wholeness of the feeling and unmet needs are not expressed, it can cause the confusion mentioned above. We have been so well conditioned to hide what we feel and need, that we even deceived ourselves into thinking that it really is about other people.

    Honesty and Vulnerability
    We have been conditioned to hide our feelings and needs because as children every time we were honest and vulnerable about our feelings and needs, someone stomped on our expressing, so we learned the art of suppressing. Hence, we hardly ever know at any given moment what we are feeling and needing, we just know who to label and therefore who to blame if we are feeling unpleasantness. We insult people, instead of expressing what is within us. It's a very unnatural reaction (and strange), when you begin to notice it.

    Empathy and Compassion
    Once you begin to decondition your ideas of people (boundaries and labels are removed) and the human essence of everyone returns again, your conscious perspective is shifted and you start to treat people as the human essence that they are. When they speak, you notice what they are feeling and needing behind their words, and because you notice this, you begin to treat them with understanding, empathy, and compassion. Hence, you start noticing what you are feeling and needing.

    People are responsible for what they say and do, but we are responsible for how we feel about that. When we are taking responsibility for how we are feeling, we are not blaming others for how we feel. They may be the trigger and stimulus for the feeling but they are never the cause of the feeling.

    The cause of the feeling is how we are thinking about what is happening. It's the difference between "That mother is a bad parent because she just slapped her small child!" or "I feel angry at that parent because my need for that child's safety is not being met.".

    When you are conscious of what you are feeling and why, ONLY THEN are you capable of seeing what others are feeling and why. It's the difference between, "That parent is a bad parent!" or "Is that parent feeling frustrated because she needs to get her shopping done and the child is slowing the process down?".

    You see how punishing the parent for an unfavorable action will not solve the problem? The parent is unaware of how she is feeling and what she is needing. The unseen frustration is causing her to react towards the child as the cause of her unseen need being unmet. Her thought is likely "You are being a bad child!".

    The solution is to give the parent empathy by directing her attention to her feelings and needs. By feeling into the situation and asking if what you're sensing is correct, you are doing three things:

    1. You are directing the parent to notice how she is feeling and what she is needing. This direction helps solve the problem because the true nature of the situation is revealed and the label that was put on the child can be removed.

    2. You are giving the parent empathy; which helps her to feel understood and she is needing this because in this moment she is not understanding herself (what she feels and needs). You are bringing her back to her natural unconditional loving nature.

    3. Now that unconditional love is restored, the parent can sense into what the child is feeling and needing that is causing the child to react in unfavorable ways.

    Everybody wins.

    Being conscious of how you feel and what you are needing is honest and vulnerable, and when you can do this it's called giving yourself empathy.

    Being conscious of what others are feeling and needing is giving others empathy, which restores honesty and vulnerability within them.

    Empathy is the most compassionate path to enter into unconditional love, since it restores honesty and vulnerability through understanding.