Zen is the way to inner knowledge, understanding the self and the nature of everything. It’s pure awareness.

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It is when you realize that things are perfect just the way they are. It is when you start to feel joy and contentment in doing the same old things you’ve always been doing, with no changes in your outer world but a change in the mindset and perspective.

It’s a lifestyle dedicated to mindfulness, simplifying and appreciation. And once you give it a try and become a little more zen, you will see everything as you’ve never seen it before.
You’ll find purpose, meaning, pleasure and understanding.

I think everyone can benefit from being a little more zen-like.

In the list below I’ve summarized the general points of this philosophy together with Minimalism. I did it simply because the two ways of living connect on so many levels and when combined, form something even more beautiful, practical and simple.

I used the alphabet as a model to help me think of more of what zen represents. And I believe that if you do, stop doing and change the way you do certain things, you can find the peaceful and contented state of mind you’ve always been searching for and thus live simply and happily, to eliminate stress, effort and complexity once and for all.

All Things Zen

A

Appreciate what you have.
Awareness.
Awaken is the state you’re trying to reach.
Avoid distractions.
Accept the world as it is.
Adapt easily.

B

Breathe.
Be yourself.
Beware of your own desires, fears and doubts.
Balance.
Become a better person.
Break free from everything that’s holding you back.
Believe.

C

Create.
Cook simply.
Consume less.
Cut down on all processed foods.
Contentment.
Cultivate your energy.
Calm down.
Care for every being on the planet.
Consciously live each day.
Choose less.
Concentrate on the essential.
Connect with nature.

D

Declutter.
Do good.
Draw lessons.
Devote your time to meaningful activities.
Donate.
Decide deliberately.
Discover your potential.
Delete the negative version of yourself in your mind.
Don’t compare yourself to others.

E

Express compassion.
Eat clean.
Exercise.
Enjoy life.
Experience every moment.
Effortlessness.
Embrace insecurity.
Empty your mind.
Expect nothing.
Easy is how everything should be.
Eliminate the unnecessary.

F

Focus.
Forgive.
Free yourself from the burden of past.
Fear is an illusion.
Forget what is not important.
Find your passion.

G

Grow spiritually.
Go with the flow.
Give.
Give up all excuses.
Gratitude.
Go vegetarian.

H

Humility.
Help those in need.
Happiness comes from within.

I

Inner peace.
Ignore the inessential.
Inspire.
It’s okay not to know everything.

J

Joy.
Judge no one.

K

Keep relationships simple.
Kill your desires and fake needs.

L

Let go.
Love yourself.
Liberate yourself from negative emotions.
Listen more.
Leave behind the things that only waste your time.
Learn.
Laugh.

M

Move on.
Meditation.
Manifest plainness.
Mindfulness.
Make peace with yourself.

N

Need less and you will want less.
No blame, guilt, reasoning or argument.
Notice your thoughts and reactions and be aware of them.
Now is the right time for everything.

O

Oneness.
Organize your time.
Omit needless things.
Observe.

P

Positivity.
Pause every now and then.
Present is where you need to be.
Pay attention to what you do, think and say.
Patience.

Q

Quality over quantity.
Quit being in a rush.

R

Read.
Reduce selfishness.
Reclaim your time.
Rely on no other person but yourself.
Rid yourself of excess stuff.
Rethink your purpose.
Remind yourself daily of what you have.
Relax.
Resist temptations.
Realize where you are and where you’re going.
Reflect on your life.

S

Simplify.
Smile.
Slow down.
Stay present to your thoughts.
Savor your food.
Strengthen your will.
See the beauty in little things.
Share what you have.
Spend time contemplating.

T

Thank.
Trust your instincts.
Take time.
Turn off the autopilot and live consciously.
Take responsibility for your actions.

U

Use your mind.
Understand silence.

V

Visualize.
Value the people you have in your life.

W

Write.
Worries are pointless.
Wisdom comes from self-realization.
What you think, you become.

X

X-ray vision for the good and the beauty around you.

Y

You are the only one you need to impress, conquer and make peace with.

Z

Zen is everywhere and in everything.

I’d love to hear your suggestions. What can you add to the list? What else is Zen for you?

Lidiya K

Lidiya K

Author, blogger and podcaster in the fields of self-improvement and life hacking. Creator of Let's Reach Success.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
Lidiya K

59 Comments

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  1. I love the minimal and clear way you have done your alphabet, it’s pared down but says everything you need to know. I will re blog if that’s ok.

  2. “Zen is the way to inner knowledge, understanding the self and the nature of everything.”? The Zen teachings would not say “the” way but “a” way or “one” way. Be careful with the use of absolutes. 🙂

  3. Truly inspiring, motivational and uplifting post! I would like to turn this zen alphabet into post-it stickers and surround myself with them everywhere, all the time. You have my deepest gratitude, as this post could not come in a better time.

  4. Brilliant post, Lidiya. Glad I stumbled upon your site.

    Really inspiring, creative and thought provoking!

    Would love to read from you. Happy New years and cheers!

  5. Wow–what a great post! I will absolutely be coming back to this Zen Alphabet over the course of the next year. I am on Day 3 of a yearlong experiment in living simply. I see some very good guideposts here!

    1. Glad you liked the post! Minimalist lifestyle is one of the main topics I write about. Good luck on your journey to a simply living. I’m also on mine 🙂

    1. Great idea! That would definitely make everyone keep all these zen tips in mind for the whole day.
      Thanks for visiting and commenting. Glad you liked it 🙂

  6. Great post, really good detail and thought put into the words used.
    I would also have ‘Compassion’ under C’s, I think Zen makes you more compassionate towards others, rather than judging you come to realise that we are all one of the same, thus making you more caring and compassionate towards others.

    1. I have that under E: Express compassion.
      I agree that is indeed one of the most important elements of the zen teachings.
      Thanks for commenting.

  7. A wonderful list. I think of all those you named, laughter is at the top of my list. I might add, live and let live. I’ve had to learn to let go of trying to get others to see the error of their ways, and just work on my own. Thanks for sharing this, Lidiya.

  8. A man was ferrying across a river when his sword fell into the water. He lost no time in marking the side of the boat.
    “This is where my sword dropped,” he said.
    When the boat moored, he got into the water to look for his sword by the place which he had marked. But since the boat had moved while the sword had not, this method of locating his sword proved unsuccessful.

  9. This has captured the entire life’s guidelines and insights, just picking few and following it can change our life. Wonderfully articulated…

  10. What a wonderful post! I love this list that you put together. They serve as great reminders on how to be more zen. I would add “Just Be” because so many people feel like if they’re not doing something then they’re not getting the most out of life; whereas, I see it as if you “just be” then you’re experiencing everything on such a deeper level.

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