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.

  • The Awareness Perspective

    This article is about what things look like from the perspective of awareness.

    Awareness is the foundation. It comes first before anything else, because it is the closest thing to pointing to your true nature.

    The Only Aware of Sight Exercise 
    Imagine that you were not aware of anything except for sight. If you were only aware of sight, then when the body walked, you would not feel it, therefore, you wouldn't think that it is you who is walking. It would look very much like you were not moving, but instead the images on the screen of awareness are changing. It wouldn't feel like you were going anywhere, it would seem to awareness that there are appearances passing the awareness but the awareness is still and unmoving. As if everything is coming to awareness, rather then awareness moving. Much like what this video is trying to explain:

    If all you had was sight, you wouldn't fear anything because you would know that no image, no matter how scary, could harm you because it's just an appearance coming at an unmoving, unchanging, unharmed, nondestructible, and always-present awareness.

    Notice in the video that what is being aware is shapeless and can't be recognized as anything because it is the seeing of everything. It can't see itself, it can only be aware of what it is seeing. If we had to name it perhaps words like void, blackhole, nothingness, empty, space, silence, timeless, etc. Have you ever heard "You are the space in which everything appears."? or "Everything arises out of nothing."? What is being pointed to here is that the awareness which is shapeless; is you. That shapeless space is what allows everything to be viewed, therefore everything is arising out of nothing; you. The paradox is that everything this nothing (you) views, is equally you too because what is viewing and what is being viewed is the same exact one thing. Hence you will hear that there is nothing here or that everything is here as one thing. Both are simultaneously the case.

    In the video he suggests that the world is moving and you are still. I would suggest that there is no world and nothing is moving. Much like a movie screen (everything is on the screen of awareness), what is seen does not take up any actual space; it is a just a series of changing images that look like motion. Thinking of it this way, helps to illustrate that it's all just images/appearances on the screen of awareness.

    Also notice that it is one screen and the images on the screen are like a picture, no images in the picture are actually separate, it just looks that way when other senses are viewing the picture from different angles. If all you ever known was the sense of sight, you would not think in separate terms.

    One more point here is that the screen and the images on the screen can not be separated. There is no way to turn off the screen or the awareness of the screen, they are both eternal connected as one because there is only one thing. What is looking, is the same thing as what is being seen. Obviously eyes can be closed or the apparent body can so call die, but that doesn't separate anything, the image is only changed again. Nothing, is still an image of nothingness. Just because you are seeing the image of nothing, doesn't mean that you are not aware. As far as awareness is concerned, "nothing" is still an image of something, it's the image of nothing. Nothing is being viewed on the screen of awareness. Again, there is no way to stop the screen or the awareness because there is only one thing there.

    The Only Being Aware of Sensations Exercise

    Now imagine that the only sense you had, was the sense of physical feeling. If you only had the physical sensations of body, you wouldn't be able to understand yourself as anything except random sensations. If the body was walking, you wouldn't think you were walking; all that would be happening are sensations arising and falling on the screen of awareness.

    This "only-the-sense-of-feeling" is a bit more difficult to imagine, but take a moment and really feel it out. If you had no idea what the body looked like, then swinging your arms and bumping it into something is not going to help determine shape. Neither is taking both hands and following the outline of the body because you wouldn't know that it is two hands with too separate sensations happening and another sensation happening on the body from being felt with your hands. There is only one awareness being aware of the sensations and therefore; depth, distance, and shape couldn't be known. All these sensations appearing and disappearing would be very random and would seem spontaneously. There would be no way to know how to operate. Eventually with enough patience and practice, the brain can recognize patterns in the arising and falling of sensations, but you would never recognize yourself as a body, only the awareness in which sensations happen.

    You also wouldn't notice a limit to yourself because there would be no way of knowing where you begin and where you end. You could feel how the sensations in the hand (although you wouldn't know it was a hand) spark another sensation in the body (no body known) at the same time giving two different sensations at one time but anything you feel, even an object, is still felt as an sensation, only difference is that only one sensation is happening when feeling an object (no object can be known). As far as awareness is concerned, sensations are always happening no matter what, so you are everywhere and everything, no beginning or end; you continuously feel sensations no matter what or where you are. The sensations of griping, motion, texture, etc... would have no meaning. You would only understand that some sensations are comfortable and other sensations uncomfortable.

    Have you ever had the experience of laying in your bed at night and feeling like your arms are miles apart? While laying in bed with your eyes closed; have you ever had the experience that you were really huge, then the next moment very tiny? It usually happens when the mind settles-down. This has happened to me a lot as a child. Many times I would have to open my eyes to make sure everything was still 'normal'. If you know the feeling, then you know what it would be like to only have the sense of sensations. Basically you feel like you are not limited by the boundaries of the skin and you feel like you are a bundle of random sensations that spontaneously happen without you; you are only aware of it happening.

    Another thing that you would notice is that there wouldn't be the distinction of sensations verse no-sensation. The sensation of no-sensation would still be the sensation of "nothing". From the perspective of only awareness, there is always only the appearance of sensations changing. Just because you are aware of the sensation labeled no-sensation, doesn't mean you stop being aware. Sensations are just another image on the screen of awareness, another view point of the screen; you can't separate the screen from the awareness.

    Like with the image of viewing nothing, is still viewing something on the screen of awareness; the sensation of sensing no-sensation, is still sensing something called no-sensation. If the view went to nothing and the sensation sensed no-sensation, it doesn't mean that that view or sensation are turned off and it also doesn't mean that there is no awareness there. What is being pointed to, is that what you are, you were this before so-called life. The only difference is that you were aware of viewing the screen of nothing and sensing the sensation of no-sensations. You can return to that viewless view and that non-sensation sensation at any time, through meditation or deep sleep.

    If death was real, you would die every-time you did meditation or went to sleep. What is seen from here, is that this body is not my identity, this body and this keyboard are equally me. Since they are both EQUALLY me, then how can this body be more me then the keyboard (or anything else awareness can be aware of)? Breaking the keyboard to bits can arise and whatever I am will still be here and since this keyboard is EQUALLY me as the body is me, then it only makes sense that if the body breaks (also known as dieing), whatever I am (which I am labeling awareness) will still be here. It seems that the awareness will be taking form from another space (since I am not only form, I am the space in which form arises), rather that be another location, body, or place (or all locations, all bodies, and all places everywhere; why should it be limited when there is only one thing and I am that?). How can I die, when everything being viewed and the viewing of everything is me? From here, what is seen is that the only death that can happen, is the death to the idea that I am only the body.

    The Only Being Aware of Sounds Exercise

    You can also imagine what it would be like to only have the sense of hearing. You would have no way of knowing sounds as distance because every sound would be instant. You would only notice loud or soft sounds but every sound would sound as if it were connected to you and just randomly appearing in you. You would be aware of the sounds not as something outside you, but as you. It takes a little practice but if you close your eyes, and listen, you can hear sounds as if the sounds were the ears themselves, there is no distance to sounds, just different pitches that cause one to think there is distance by the way the sound is coming through.

    If you were only aware of sounds, you would not think of silence as the opposite of sound, you would think of sound as different pitches of silence. You wouldn't think of sounds as sounds at all because you would notice that silence is the backdrop of every sound and based on that logic you would think sound is nothing more than a foreground of the silence that you are. Basically, whatever sounds were happening, you would be able to still notice the silence because there would be no distinction of sound verse silence. In other words, silence is constant and sounds arise out of the silence. There is no way to create silence, silence is always there as a continuous constant. You can create sound in the foreground but the backdrop of silence never actually vanishes, even in the foreground of loud noisy obnoxious sounds. It is all on the screen of awareness.

    Awareness and silence are different words for the same thing because they both are never-changing and ever-present. You could drown your awareness in sound and still be aware of silence because silence is not the opposite of sound, it's as much you as awareness is. In fact everything you describe awareness as, you can also describe silence as: unmoving, unharmed, undestructible, never-changing, always-present, void, blackhole, nothingness, empty, space, timeless, etc..

    Why the Exercises?
    So why did I break everything down into what it would be like if you (as awareness) were only aware of one sense at a time? Basically, I wanted to share with you in an understandable way, the perspective that is seen from here.

    It's going to look odd, silly, naive, and paradoxical by just outlining the key points, but if you forget how the key point fits in, go back and read the above part that relates again, to make sense of it.

    Therefore, let's review each sense:
    ►1. Sight
    • There is no fear of any changing image.
    • The body walks but it's not me who is walking, the picture is changing on me (the screen).
    • Nothing is separated from me, the picture is always whole and complete.
    • What is looking, is the same thing as what is being seen: Whole and complete.
    • Everything changes except me. I am unmoving, unchanging, unharmed, nondestructible, and always-present awareness.
    • What is being aware (me) is shapeless and can't be recognized as anything.
    • I am the space in which everything appears.
    • Everything arises out of the nothing that I am.

    ►2. Sensation
    • I can't know myself as any depth, distance, and shape. Everything is random and spontaneously happening without me.
    • When walking happens, I am not walking, the sensations on the screen of who I am are changing. I am the screen, not the change.
    • I am everywhere and everything, no beginning or end to me.
    • I am not limited.
    • Anything I touch (even objects) are me because everything I touch is felt. Sometimes it is one sensation and sometimes two, but everything is me because everything that is felt gives me a sensation.
    • I am only aware, everything else is spontaneously happening.

    I am eternal, immortal, and can't die; everything I see is equally me.

    ►3. Sound
    • There is no distance. I am as much here and there as anywhere, there is no distance into here and there at all. Everything is instantly me.
    • I am the silence in which everything happens.
    • I can be found even in the most loud noisy and obnoxious appearance because I am that in which all things appear.
    • There is no opposite to me. I am the backdrop and the foreground.
    • There is no distinction of me verse anything else.