Zen and the Sacred Art of Journalism
“If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.” ~ Chinese Proverb
Interpretation of the above quote: We can’t change the world unless we change ourselves.
Life is my teacher and it was life that brought me to journalism.
Journalism, mainly photography, became my weapon of expression. Through it, I was able to learn my rights and document it. Through it, I’m able to dive deeper into my Sufi path.
Excited about teaching myself how to better use this new weapon of choice to transform my life of injustice into one of compassion, I embarked on a mission of seeking other voices plagued with a life of injustice. My aim was to not get stuck in a vicious cycle of self-pity.
By harnessing the art of journalism and storytelling I’ve been able to share what I’ve learned. While living in Lebanon I conducted several workshops with children of migrant workers and refugees on how to use interviewing techniques to deal with racism and stereotypes.
The idea came about when one of the Sudanese kids started making fun of the Iraqi kids and vice versa. I quickly interrupted them and asked, “what do you have in common?” They didn’t know how to respond.
For me they’re bond was the fact that they had both been forced from homelands and were now in an environment that neither accepts or wants them.
I paired them in groups of two and I quickly became unpopular when I opted to select their partners. The reason being that I wanted them to go outside of their comfort zone.
The end result was friendship. Even the director of the school told me that before the kids used to fight each other all day and after the workshop they get along. See how stereotypes keep us apart?
Imagine if the world were to do a massive interview with one another. We might discover that we have the same pain, desires and hopes. After all – we bleed, cry and love the same.
The Four Noble Truths of Journalism
1. Let Go of Your Ego
Although I’ve experienced a lot of hardships, being a journalist allows me to step outside of myself. To leave a life of misery. The human community is suffering at many different levels and one way to free oneself of their ego is to step outside of one’s comfort zone and listen to someone else’s story.
Go to a community not of your own and do an interview. Listen without judging and then blog about it to share what you learned.
You might be surprised and find that you have many things in common with your new found acquaintance.
2. Freedom From Mental Slavery
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting events, issues and trends in a timely fashion. The main idea is to inform the people. Zen is all about using meditation to go deep.
How informed are you? How often do you sit and investigate your life? Really dig deep into the issues that keep you from being the individual that you were meant to be. The idea here is to become informed.
Resolving the world’s issues starts with resolving our own.
3. Let Go of Attachment
Mainstream media outlets who encourage their journalists to focus on what’s hot rather than the truth, are almost always failing the public.
People want to tell you what you can and can’t do because of their fears. Let go of your attachment to society’s opinions of you, which are solely based on what’s trendy and polite. Become a citizen journalist of the self.
With a little research into your true path you’ll not only become informed but you’ll also be able to build a strong foundation with the bricks that others throw at you.
4. Path of Self-improvement
Zen Buddhism, Sufism and Hinduism all encourage practitioners to seek out the wisdom of trained mystics and healers to really taste life’s pearls. Journalism offers a similar wisdom. In this case, the pearls are the individuals we meet on a daily basis.