Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Living Zen

There are moments in life when the right thing comes your way at just the right time. For me, it’s discovering a blog called Zen Habits.

Zen Habits appeared in my Twitter feed last week. The article was called, ‘Achieving without goals’ and it presented itself at a time of personal crisis, as I’m discovering that my measure of happiness is hinged on achieving goals. Big goals or little goals, it doesn’t matter, so long as it’s tangible. Getting a new job, finishing a book, finding the perfect coffee machine, booking a holiday. It’s a familiar pattern that has followed my entire life. The problem is when I sit still, when I’m not doing and just being, I’m no longer happy. I’m anxious, judgemental and self critical. I panic and I get melancholic. And it’s self destructive.

Zen Habits talks about goals as being completely made up, fantasies we have of how we want the future to go, and unnecessary to achieving ‘something’. Importantly, when we fixate on goals, we can close ourselves off from amazing opportunities, discoveries and new directions. I urge you to read it.

But what intrigued me next was discovering the subsequent posts on the blog. Just days later, the author Leo Babauta posted, ‘Why you should write daily’ followed by, just yesterday, ‘The 7-day vegan challenge’. How did he know that my resolution on 1 January 2013 was to:

1.    Write more
2.    Be a better vegan
3.    Live happier

Sure the third one is a bit vague but those were the exact words I had written in my diary.

I am certainly trying to find balance and zen in my life. I tried writing about it this year here and here. To limited success. I’m guessing there are others out there asking similar existential questions and discovering more questions than answers. For now I’m finding Zen Habits incredibly comforting. I connect with the writing and the topics continue to resonate.

I hope you get something out of this post or Leo’s blog.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Biheng,

    I tried looking for an email to get in touch with you but there doesn't seem to be one available.

    I'm a contributor for a new Melbourne-based Chinese street magazine called KNOT and after reading your piece on Mamamia, I was impressed by your strong authoritative voice as a writer. It's something that the editorial team over at KNOT could use so I'd like to extend an invitation to you to join the team.

    If you're curious to learn more about this, please get in touch with me at

    I'd tweet you but 140 characters is not enough to proposition someone for a writing gig!

    Hope to hear from you soon.