The Art of Zen

How I Lost and Found Myself

Chris Soschner

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All pictures are CANVA Pro Images

It was back in the early 2000s. I got my master's degree and signed up for a job in Merger & Acquisition. It was exciting and fun and completely changed my life.

From an active lifestyle with a mixture of sport, work, and education, I entered the realm of 9 am to 9 pm jobs. On the first day on the job, I explained that I would get penalties when I come past 9 o’clock to the office. And I need to check out before 9 pm — even when I need to work longer hours.

It was a stark contrast to my life at university. Sometimes I worked, and in some months, I only focused on studying. I was the master of my time planning. This changed with my first job after I finished my degree.

I remember well that in no time, I put up 30 kilograms in weight. It took me a year to get there. The thing was in these days, and I didn’t really understand what was going on. Everybody loved this post-university lifestyle.

The narrative we got was, we need to work long hours to gain more experience. Yet, very often, we didn’t work at all. We just were present in the office. The funny thing was that everybody who went home first got a lot of group pressure not to be the first to go home.

One of those days, when I felt unhappy about life, the universe, and everything, I went to a bar with a friend. The idea was to have a couple of drinks and chat a bit about other things.

My friend looked at me and asked: “You look different. What’s going on?” We haven’t seen each other for more than a year. And 30 kilos more — well, it was an obvious difference.

So, I started to talk about my job and life. The thing was, it wasn’t a bad job. The people were also nice. Yes, they had their shortcomings, like everybody. But, overall, there were no horrible people that I could blame.

And yet, I was not at my A-Game. More at my Z-game. It looked to me like, for no reason. After chatting a while and my friend listening, he said:

“You know what. Come with me on Saturday. I joined a Zen group recently. Just try it…

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Chris Soschner

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