More Zen in my life: my couple, my zendo

- through Henry Oudin

Published on

Make your romantic relationship a sacred space from which sloppiness, boredom and negative ruminations would be banished. A dream ? No, a project. Achievable if one agrees to leave his old habits and his old beliefs.

Let's have fun for a moment taking the zendo as a metaphor for the couple. We enter the dojo dedicated to meditation, slowly, consciously, silently, the rhythm of our steps set on that of those who precede us. Most of the time, this space is a white room in which floats a scent of incense, the floor is patinated by careful polishing. It wouldn't occur to anyone to be loud, scruffy. In contact with the sacred and the mystery, our back straightens, our conscience shakes, we feel gratitude to enter a place far from the hubbub and the violence of the world. In the zendo, everyone meditates in the middle of the others. The extreme attention paid to gestures and breathing makes possible what is a priori impossible, namely the alliance of promiscuity and harmony. In this space, I respect and I am respected.

Small breaches in small indelicacy

"The fault always lies in inattention", Zen tells us. Is it like this in my relationship? Don't I tend to confuse intimacy with familiarity? Do my movements, my gestures and my words make the difference between intimacy and letting go, intimacy and familiarity?

On the pretext that we share the bread and the bed, we allow ourselves discrepancies in language, little indelicacy, outbursts of selfishness and laziness. This is how, from small shortcomings to small omissions, the zendo is transformed into a desacralized space, where delicacy, respect and attention are absent. It is inevitable, we are told, the everyday kills love. What an illusion! You have to pull yourself together, take the trouble to think: what is everyday life if not just life?

daily sacred

Daily life is the very essence of life, the expression of its reality. And that reality is what we make of it. If our distracted eye scans the landscape and the faces, if our body reproduces automatic gestures without conscience or pleasure, if our words escape from our mouths like a tune sung a thousand times, then yes, everyday life is exhausting, boring and devitalising. But, as Zen invites us to do, let us adopt the beginner's view. If our gaze became curious and attentive, then we would realize that everything is eternally new. Never twice the same light on the wall, never twice the same child's laughter in the street, never twice the same kiss on the same skin. When we immerse ourselves totally in the present moment, attentive to the thousand flavors that compose it and renew it minute after minute, we are at the very heart of life, moving and eternally new. And we can't get enough of it.

What can we do to preserve the zendo of our couple? To act. By aligning his heart with his conscience and his actions with his heart.

Dare to say it and assume it, we are directly responsible for the boredom or carelessness that reigns in the zendo of our couple. And it is certainly not by lamenting the disappearance of happy days or by brooding over reproaches and recriminations that we will lighten the atmosphere and embellish the place… What to do then? To act. By aligning his heart with his conscience and his actions with his heart. Let's take a fresh look, a beginner's look at this sacred daily life and transform the sacred daily life. Let's meditate on this sentence from P'ang Yun: “My supernatural powers? My wondrous powers? It's drawing water and lugging wood! ".

Intense presence

In a collective work devoted to presence (1), Fabrice Midal writes that "the relationship to presence involves moving from a regime of use to another regime made up of attention and openness". It is by multiplying these appointments with the presence that we gradually become more sensitive and more open to our environment and to others. “So I discover that presence is really a present – ​​a gift that has been constantly bestowed on me for no reason and that signs the very beauty of being a living being. »

Let's extend this attention to the one who shares our life, let's stop considering his "global being" which is most of the time the habit we have of him or her, to dive without his singularity, here and now. Be fully attentive to his voice, his words, his gaze, his physical and energetic presence. Be fully attentive and receptive to what is happening between oneself and the other. From positive to negative. The sharper the awareness of being, the more routine loses its meaning, the more boredom recedes, the less letting go has room to settle. The more we can also make, over time, the adjustments that we find necessary. In the full attention that we grant to the present moment, it is the unexpected that arises, the beauty of the ephemeral that seizes us, the fragility of life that moves us. This attention is cultivated, day after day. Two conditions are required: to want it and to persevere. Let us leave with this sentence of Buddha: “This wavering heart, inconstant, difficult to keep, difficult to control, the sage rectifies it as the arrow maker straightens an arrow. »

photo of author

Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

Leave comments