5 Ways to Find Urban Zen


Zen Master Daizan Skinner Roshi spent almost 20 years training in Zen Monasteries in Europe and Japan, where he eventually received Dharma Transmission and permission to teach. Today, he lives in London and travels all over the world teaching a unique style of Zen yoga and meditation creating wellbeing and spiritual development. Here Daizan Skinner Roshi gives us five Zen-inspired tips to remain calm in chaotic cities…

  1. Keep Cool in Traffic Jams

Filling yourself with frustration won’t get you to your destination any faster. If you’re going to be late, why not be cool and late? Simply do your best to inform those waiting for you what’s happening and then treat the time as your secret urban retreat. Life is telling you to slow down, come to your senses, breathe and enjoy. Turn off automatic pilot mode and allow your mind to be here and now. Do your best to relax, focus on something, anything in your immediate environment that is pleasurable or beautiful. Listen to some music or just watch the world go by. Everyone else around might be seething but you can quietly chill out.

  1. Let Go Of Stress

Living in a city can be hectic. Accept whatever state you’re in at the moment and realise this feeling is only fleeting. Make friends with your body. When we’re anxious, our body becomes tight and tenses up – stress can get trapped and stored in our tissues. The best way to release this tension is to physically let it go – do some yoga, go for a run or cycle somewhere. When something triggers us, we can choose to react calmly. Try to act as a witness and resist the temptation to respond straight away. Reactionary behaviour only creates greater levels of stress. Simply step back from your thoughts and try to dis-identify with them.

  1. Meditate at Work

If you can find even a few minutes every day when you sit still and bring your attention to your breath, letting all the thoughts and feelings arise and pass, you’ll lower your heart rate and blood pressure, sharpen your mind and tap into a very nourishing source of inspiration. You can practise mindful abdominal breathing anytime and anywhere. By meditating frequently, your wisdom naturally grows – you become more aware of your emotions and how you can use your breath to manage them.

  1. Practise Being Present  

Life happens here and now. There is no other place to live a fulfilling life. The more present you are, the more resourceful you can be in facing the tough stuff and the more pleasure you can find in the joyful moments. Being present with friends and family also enhances your relationships. One of my students says to himself multiple times every day, “This is my life.” Try it.

  1. Replace Multi-tasking with Mindfulness

The benefits of multi-tasking are a myth. Experts say it’s an unproductive habit that quickly increases anxiety levels and drains focus. City living has plenty of distractions – make a commitment to putting your energy into doing one thing at a time. For instance, it’s best to turn off your phone while you’re driving. You’ll be more efficient, effective and satisfied.
Daizan Skinner Roshi is teaching Advanced Meditation and Mindfulness Training from 3rd until 10th October in Sahasrara, Spain. For more information or to book go to Zenways.org

BOE Magazine


Urban Ladder Says Sorry on Email. Why?


Urban Ladder is an online furniture store and has seen a loyal fanScreen Shot 2015-03-12 at 1.18.59 pm growth through a strong digital and social media strategy, before they went big with a television commercial a few months ago. There are many things that interest me about Urban Ladder’s way of communication and marketing. Today was just another example of their simplistic way of execution. Here’s what happened:

I am subscribed to the Urban Ladder email newsletter. Today, in the morning, I received a flash sale email from them. But it had a prominent mistake – the price tag of a product was wrongly slashed. Here’s what it looked like ->

As a user, I noticed and realised it’s an error. I am not used to this from Urban Ladder, but I didn’t take it too seriously. But it seems like they did. Just a few hours later, I received another UL email subject – Oops, we made a mistake.

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The communication was quick, interesting, smart and meaningful, all at the same time. Plus, it acted as a reminder of their brand culture – transparency. Even a simple mistake will deserve an apology and correction. Here’s what the second email looked like –

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  1. A brand needs to humanise itself.
  2. A brand needs to have a strong process of internal quality checks and monitoring.
  3. A brand must treat its corporate communication as a part of its culture, than marketing tools.
  4. A brand should be as open and as transparent as can be. Users realise that mistakes happen. What makes them happy is to see that mistakes are acknowledged and acted upon. It shows the brand is sensitive enough to bother.
  5. A brand needs a definitive culture, so the writers, designers, even the accountants know how to respond in a certain situation. Turnaround time gets way better.
  6. Bonus point – If someone missed the morning email, this subject was inviting enough for a user to check both this and the morning email.

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