Below you will find the main principles
we work with in Zen Coaching. These principles, when integrated in
our lives, have a profound effect on how we relate to ourselves and
From lack to abundance
Once we are in contact with the inner qualities that we tend to seek from outside ourselves, a shift happens in our life from a focus on getting what we believe we need, to a focus on sharing and celebrating all the gifts we have to offer.
The Power of Now
Everything real is Now; everything which is not related to the now is unreal, fiction. Thoughts, ideas, judgments and concepts disconnected from present feelings and needs have little energy and do not lead to a sense of connection and aliveness, and cuts us of from our true creative power.
Our main task is therefore to continuously return home to the present moment through awareness practice, and let our actions spring from our center rather than our beliefs and conditioned mind.
The mystery of life is contained in the word 'awareness'. I can not be limited to that which I am aware of - the awareness is prior to and greater than that which I am aware of. My true being is awareness, not that which I am aware of - such as my feelings, my body, or my ideas about myself and who I am. True freedom is discovering myself AS awareness, and as all the qualities of awareness, such as acceptance, peace, contentment, love, joy, strength, creativity, and in general all the qualities of the heart.
Based in awareness and meditative practices, we work with insights and practices from Zen and Non-violent communication to support a unique quality of listening to ourselves and others. As we learn to truly listen to ourselves, we re-discover our inner richness and start living more from our inner source of abundance than from lack, craving, fear and worry.
What we discover when working in this way, is that what we long for at a deeper level is available here and now within. What we think of as our needs (or longing) are in fact aspects of our being, essential qualities we carry within us. We are what we seek - peace, love, freedom, connection, trust.
In Zen Coaching we work with tools that give us a direct and transformative experience of this - and that enables us to support others in finding the same place in themselves.
The process supports deep transformation for the participants, and enables you to support others to reach the same place - effortlessly, joyfully and with a deep sense of connection with yourself and others.
Life is Yes
Every 'No' is a 'Yes' to a need/longing. Knowing this, we can meet whatever happens in us or around us with open curiosity. Nothing has to be rejected - every experience, every feeling and every thought can be a door to our deeper needs/longings. Every thought, feeling and experience that we fully embrace and say Yes to becomes a gift leading us to our inherent nature of peace, freedom and love.
'Jackal energy' (a term coined by Marshall B Rosenberg as a pedagogical tool) is a cultural programming of the mind, a pattern of thinking and communicating based on 'right' and 'wrong', 'good' and 'bad', blame and judgment that is easily triggered when we are afraid our needs will not be met. Jackal communication uses threats of punishment or offers of rewards as (ineffective!) strategies to meet needs. A core jackal belief is that human beings are basically selfish and violent, and that people must be threatened and/or rewarded into truly caring about others. Jackal energy is marked with feelings of separation, loneliness, mistrust and fear. The jackal is a giraffe in disguise; every jackal message is a hidden giraffe message about needs that are met or not met.
'Giraffe energy' - referring to the qualities of the heart, as the giraffe is the land animal with the largest heart - is our natural state of being. It flows and flowers when we are connected with the present moment. When we are in our 'giraffe state' we are connected with our own feelings and needs/longings as well as those of others, and naturally and effortlessly manifest our life energy through a free flow of giving and receiving. Giraffe is a flow of life marked by a natural longing to celebrate existence and contribute to the enrichment of life - our own as well as others.
Source of feelings
The inner cause of feelings is our needs/longings. Feelings tell us whether our needs/longings are being met or not. Feelings of shame, guilt, aggression and depression are caused by judgmental (jackal) thoughts directed at ourselves or others - and tell us that we are disconnected from our own needs and not in touch with the healing power of mourning (sorrow).
Self-Empathy - transformation of the heart
When we connect with the needs underneath our feelings or self-blame, sink into the needs and allow them to expand, we discover that what we long for is part of our essence. What we long for outside ourselves is already present within us. Connecting deeply with our needs automatically transforms suffering into freedom, love and peace. Healing and transformation happens through allowing the sadness and sorrow we feel when we are aware of needs that have not been met through our own actions or the actions of others. (As opposed to the jackal strategy of stimulating guilt and shame when needs are not met through our own actions or the actions of others.)
Empathizing with others
When people are upset with something or someone and express this through judging and blaming, they are disconnected from their true feelings and needs. We can support others in a deep way by hearing and connecting with the unexpressed needs in their messages. We can empathize in the same way with any type of feelings and needs, regardless of how they are expressed.
Needs and strategies
Needs/longings are positive, universal qualities inherent in our nature - such as peace, freedom, love and compassion. Needs do not refer to specific people taking specific actions. When we fully connect with ourselves, we discover that what we think of as needs are in fact our essence. There are infinite ways to concretely manifest each need/longing in the world - many strategies to fulfill and manifest each need. Everything we do or say - whether 'positive' or 'negative' - are strategies to fulfill or manifest our needs/longings. Our deeper and often hidden intention is always in the direction of enriching life - even with so-called negative actions.