Here’s how Zen meditation changed Steve Jobs’ life and sparked a design revolution

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RocketNews 24/Business Insider:

When Steve Jobs showed up at the San Francisco airport at the age of 19, his parents didn’t recognize him.

Jobs, a Reed College dropout, had just spent a few months in India.

He had gone to meet the region’s contemplative traditions — Hinduism, Buddhism — and the Indian sun had darkened his skin a few shades.

The trip changed him in less obvious ways, too.

Although you couldn’t predict it then, his travels would end up changing the business world.

Back in the Bay Area, Jobs continued to cultivate his meditation practice. He was in the right place at the right time; 1970s San Francisco was where Zen Buddhism first began to flourish on American soil. He met Shunryu Suzuki, author of the groundbreaking “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind,” and sought the teaching of one of Suzuki’s students, Kobun Otogawa.

Jobs met with Otogawa almost every day, Walter Isaacson reported in his biography of Jobs. Every few months, they’d go on a meditation retreat together.

Zen Buddhism, and the practice of meditation it encouraged, were shaping Jobs’ understanding of his own mental processes.

If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is,” Jobs told Isaacson. “If you try to calm it, it only makes things worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things — that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.”

Jobs felt such resonance with Zen that he considered moving to Japan to deepen his practice. But Otogawa told him he had work to do in California.

Evidently, Otogawa was a pretty insightful guy.

When you look back at Jobs’ career, it’s easy to spot the influence of Zen. For 1300 years, Zen has instilled in its practitioners a commitment to courage, resoluteness, and austerity — as well as rigorous simplicity.

Or, to put it into Apple argot, insane simplicity.

Zen is everywhere in the company’s design.

Take, for instance, the evolution of the signature mouse:

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It’s the industrial design equivalent of the ensoor hand-drawn circle, the most fundamental form of Zen visual art.

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But Zen didn’t just inform the aesthetic that Jobs had an intense commitment to, it shaped the way he understood his customers. He famously said that his task wasn’t to give people what they said they wanted; it was to give them what they didn’t know they needed.

Instead of relying on market research, [Jobs] honed his version of empathy — an intimate intuition about the desires of his customers,” Isaacson said.

What’s the quickest way to train your empathy muscles? As centuries of practitioners and an increasingly tall stack of studies suggest, it’s meditation.

When you take that into account, it’s easy to see that for Jobs, growing his business and cultivating his awareness weren’t opposing endeavors.

When he died, the New York Times ran a stirring quote about what he did for society: “You touched an ugly world of technology and made it beautiful.”

We can thank that time in India and on the meditation cushion for that beautiful, rigorous simplicity — one that sparked a design revolution.

Can modern acupuncture really turn back the clock?

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 Audrey Magazine:

Having grown up with a physician father, antibiotics, not acupuncture, was more our family’s treatment of choice. But as people increasingly look to the East for health and lifestyle choices — from yoga to Buddhism to Ayurveda — I’ll admit to a growing curiosity about acupuncture, something friends and family swear by to alleviate all manner of problems.

So I paid a visit to Dr. John J. Kim, a licensed acupuncturist and former head of the California Acupuncture Board. His clinic, Re Nu Mi Wellness Center in Redondo Beach, Calif., is a spa-like office redolent of fragrant herbs and relaxing music. In addition to acupuncture, the Center offers cupping, Qigong and meditation classes, and herbal medicine specially created on-site.

A consultation with Kim involves analyses both scientific and holistic. A special weight analysis machine, brought over specially from Korea, reveals not just weight and BMI but fat percentages in various parts of the body, muscle mass, and intra- and extracellular water composition. A tongue and pulse analysis reveals the state of your Qi, the body’s fundamental energy, and which of the five key organs are in need of help. From there, Kim takes it one step further —he asks about your relationships. Because for Kim, he’s not just there to alleviate physical pain or to turn back the clock a dozen years, as he does in his cutting-edge Advanced Regeneration Therapy Facial Sculpting — he’s there to give you a “mind lift,” and thereby a “life lift.” Like the Center’s mission statement says, “The goal of our treatments is to enhance each person’s physical and emotional well-being in order to improve and maintain harmony with our inner and outer world.”

As much a therapist as an Eastern medicine practitioner, Kim believes that emotional healing is part and parcel to any physical treatment, whether you’re looking for weight loss, help with insomnia, a facelift or stress management. Yes, his holistic facelift works by stimulating lymphatic drainage and manipulating trapezoidal muscles to lift and create a more pleasing facial symmetry. (He’s even working on incorporating a platelet-rich plasma gel into the procedure to boost results.) But for Kim, the key is: “Have you ever asked yourself, ‘Am I beautiful?’ How can you present yourself as beautiful to others if you don’t even know it?” Indeed, we could all use a bit more of that type of healing.

 

 

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For more information on Re Nu Mi Wellness Center, go to renumi.com.