ABOUT THE BOOK
The art of Zen involves living in the moment, something that's often difficult to do in our fast-paced modern world, where the media channels are always switched on and we're always running for the next target. Although most of us are lucky enough to live in a world of relative safety, our brains are still programmed for the fight or flight response that allowed our ancient ancestors to survive. When it comes to danger, our brains don't always make the distinction between a real threat, like a man-eating bear in front of us, and a virtual threat, like not hitting the deadline with that report we need to get finished by 4pm today. And of course, in some cases, not hitting the deadline may mean a threat to our livelihood and the security of our position. At that point, the virtual threat becomes a real threat, so the fight or flight response is completely understandable.
We live in a world where the rational, left-brained approach to life is celebrated, often at the risk of the imaginative, right-brained, holistic world. We've become very disconnected from the natural world and the rhythms of the earth, and as a result, many of us are finding it particularly difficult to cope with the synthetic, materialistic world we've created. The prevalence of stress-related illness is testimony to the fact that our world is, literally, making us sick.
Relaxation and escape have never been more important. And although there are spas and treatment centres galore, they're not always the cheapest option, nor conveniently located, and nor are they tailored to your particular needs. So to help yourself and your loved ones cope with the new kinds of threats we've created in our always-on, always-connected western world, use some of the techniques below to make your home a place where you can escape from the outside world.
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK
Another method of escape is to lose yourself in a good film. For maximum benefit, make it a feel-good option, like a musical or comedy, or an uplifting tale of pilgrimage and change like The Way. Other options are TV series that allow you to completely immerse yourself in another world, like Friends, Pride and Prejudice, or North and South. If you're a science fiction buff, the entire Star Trek, Babylon 5 or Firefly seasons will keep you occupied for quite some time. Turn down the lights and snuggle up on the sofa with popcorn or ice cream. You're bound to feel better at the end of the session.
You could also opt for a travel DVD or Internet stream that takes you to another country, another realm such as under the sea, or even another time and place, like ancient Rome. National Geographic and the BBC produce some particularly good programs, and YouTube is a rich source of excellent documentaries...
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