ZEN and The Art of Stress Management

After the resounding success of Sun Tzu e l’arte della Guerra nella vita quotidiana, Ballardini is back with a journey through Zen parables that teach us how to turn modern-day stress and anxiety into allies.

Stress is our daily bread. Not a single thing we do is stress-free; there isn’t a single area of our lives where our actions come without massive amounts of gruelling haste, tension and fatigue. In short, stress cannot be eliminated. It is more effective, then, to learn how to work around it, or even better to use it to our advantage so that we do not collapse under its weight.
Zen is not a drug, a lifestyle, a form of physical or psychoanalytic therapy; nor is it a preventive medicine, a diet, a detox technique or a powerful painkiller. If you want, you can decide that Zen is even just one of all these things; but in doing so, you will never manage to grasp the essence of Zen. Instead, you will end up chasing New Age delusions or fooling yourself into some dialectic trap.

The substance of Zen lies all in strict practice, with some latitude coming from the constant use of unforgiving paradoxes and thought-provoking riddles. The art of Zen maintenance is destabilising enough to make one prefer more convenient forms of Buddhism that gratify one’s Ego rather than challenging it and eventually demolishing it. But if you want to heal, then don’t do what kids do. Try a bitter medicine for once. You might find out that it’s not just good for you but that it’s actually delicious, too.

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