the dilemmas of career and ambition—bringing Zen to love and work—is the core of “an amazingly pure and lively Zen”* as taught by Charlotte Joko Beck. From Everyday Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck–Inspirational and motivational article from Living Life Fully. Living Everyday Zen. Charlotte Joko Beck. 6 Review(s) | Add Your Review. Suitable for any level of experience, a three-CD program to embody Zen practice in.

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She may worry if she doesn’t get her breakfast, but she doesn’t sit around worrying about whether she will get fulfilled or liberated or enlightened.

As long as she gets some food and a little affection, her life is fine. But we human beings are not like dogs. We have self-centered minds which get us into plenty of trouble. If we do not come to understand the error in jok way we think, our self-awareness, which is our greatest blessing, is also our downfall.

To some degree we all find life difficult, perplexing, and oppressive. Even when it goes well, as it may for a time, we worry that it probably won’t keep on that way.

Depending on our personal history, we arrive at adulthood with very mixed feelings about this life. If I were to tell you that your life is already perfect, whole, and complete just zdn it is, fveryday would think I bwck crazy. Nobody believes his or her life is perfect. And yet there is something within each of us that basically knows we are boundless, limitless.

We are caught in the contradiction of finding life a rather perplexing puzzle which causes us a lot of misery, and at the same time being dimly aware of the boundless, limitless nature of life. So we begin looking for an answer to the puzzle. The first way of looking is to seek a solution outside ourselves. At first this may be on a very ordinary level. There are many people in the world who feel that if only they had a bigger car, a nicer house, better vacations, a more understanding boss, or a more interesting partner, then their life would work.

We all go through that evedyday. Slowly we wear out most of our “if onlies. Then we shift our search to everhday subtle levels. Finally, in looking for the thing outside of ourselves that we hope is going to complete us, we turn to a spiritual discipline. Unfortunately we tend to bring into this new befk the same orientation as before.


Most people who come to the Zen Center don’t think a Cadillac will do it, but they think that enlightenment will. Now they’ve got a new cookie, a new “if only.

Living Everyday Zen

Our whole life consists of this little subject evryday outside itself for an object. But if you take something that is limited, like body and mind, and look for something outside it, that something becomes an object and must be limited too.

So you have something limited looking for jok limited and you just end up with more of the same folly that has made you miserable. We have all spent many years building up a conditioned view of life. There is “me” and there is this “thing” out there that is either hurting me or pleasing me.

We tend to run our whole life trying to avoid all that hurts or displeases us, noticing the objects, people, or situations that we think will give us pain or pleasure, avoiding one and pursuing the other. Without exception, we all do this. We remain separate from our life, looking at it, analyzing it, judging it, seeking to aen the questions, ‘What am I going to get out of it?

Is it going to give me pleasure or comfort or should I run away from it? Underneath our nice, friendly facades there is great unease. If I were to scratch below jokl surface of anyone I would find fear, pain, and anxiety running amok. We all have ways to cover them up.

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We overeat, over-drink, overwork; we watch too much television. We are always neck something to cover up our basic existential anxiety. Some people live that way until the day they die.

As the years go by, it gets worse and worse. What might everyda look so bad when you are twenty-five looks awful by the time you are fifty. We all know people who might as well be dead; they have so contracted into their limited viewpoints that it is as painful for those around them as it is for themselves.

The flexibility and joy and flow of life are gone. And that rather grim possibility faces all of us, unless we wake up to the fact that we need to work with our life, we need to practice. We have to see through the mirage that there is an “I” separate from “that. Only in that instant when we and bexk object become one can we see what our life is.


Enlightenment is not something you achieve. It is the absence of something. All your life you have been going forward after something, pursuing some goal. Enlightenment is dropping all that.

But to talk about it is of little use. The practice has to be done by each individual. There is no substitute. We can read about it until we are a thousand years old and it won’t do a thing for us. We all have to practice, and we have to practice with all of our might for the rest of our lives. Charlotte Joko Beck offers a warm, engaging, uniquely American approach to using Zen to deal with the problems of daily living— love, relationships, work, fear, ambition, and suffering.

Everyday Zen shows us how to live each moment to the fullest. Admitting our limitations can make us feel vulnerable, yet it is very freeing. We just have to be ourselves as we are now, accepting the mixture of enlightened awareness and human limitation that is in each of us.

Through this self-acceptance, we find a deep peace and self-love. We have some inspiring and motivational books that may interest you. Our main way of supporting this site is through the sale of books, either physical copies or digital copies for your Amazon Kindle including the online reader. All of the money that we earn through them comes back to the site in one way or another.

Just click on the picture to the left to visit our page of books, both fiction and non-fiction! This is the simple, daunting truth that has been staring back at me from the eyes of countless seekers over the years.

from Everyday Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck–Inspirational articles from Living Life Fully

My dog doesn’t worry about the meaning of life. If we pretend to be more enlightened than we really are, we will miss an opportunity to heal ourselves. Everybody wants to get enlightened but nobody wants to change.

Last modified: June 22, 2020