Pillars of a Good Life


There are four pillars of life. When they are all well developed and well balanced, life is good. When they are underdeveloped, life is probably not so good. Whey they are not balanced, if one aspect is much more highly developed than each other, maybe life is pretty good, but not as good as it potentially can be.

The pillars are:

  1. Health
  2. Ethical life
  3. A method to quieten the mind (eg meditation)
  4. Framework, knowledge, purpose

We’ll look a bit deeper into each one.

It’s pretty obvious that life is better when we’re healthy. We can enjoy life. We can interact with life. We are at ease with ourself, without dis-ease. So staying healthy is one of the most valuable investment for ourself. How do we stay healthy? Basically feed the body with good nutrition, enough movements to stimulate the body & organs, and enough rest.

Ethical life means leading life according to ethics and moral values. Most of the religion’s moral values are similar in some way. Yoga have the yamas & niyamas. Siddharta Gautama taught the eight noble path. Christian have the ten commandments. And so on. The moral values boil down to ‘Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.’ When one lead a life ethically, it will contribute to the next pillar – a quiet mind.

A quiet mind means a mind that is aware of it’s own fluctuations, and not getting carried away by the fluctuations. One of the method is through meditation. In meditation we train the mind to stay with one anchor for a period of time. Through practice we develop the endurance to sustain this focus for longer and longer. And the longer we can stay there, the quieter the mind become.

When the mind is sufficiently quietened down, there’s a sense of direction that comes from within. Perhaps at the beginning we can’t pinpoint or detail which direction does it want to go – but usually we can tell if the direction is wrong. If we are receptive and open we’ll find many teachers and lessons in our lives that provide you with knowledge. With this knowledge we develop framework, like a map. With a framework we know where we are, why we are here, and where we are going. And slowly find the answer to the perennial question “Who am I?”


Based on a talk by my yoga philosophy teacher Swami Pujan

Image: Rio-Antirio bridge by Spiros Vathis


Wannabe Zen is live!

Definition of wannabe:

one who aspires, often vainly, to emulate another’s success or attain eminence in some area.

Definition of zen:

One way to think of zen is this: a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts.

The description above is from Urban Dictionary.

Merriam-webster dictionary define zen as:

a Japanese sect of Mahayana Buddhism that aims at enlightenment by direct intuition through meditation

Online slang dictionary entry on zen:

to be at peace… back to wholeness, so to speak.

I like the last one, a simple and direct definition of the word. The word zen can portray many qualities, such as elegant, relaxed, modern, chic, spiritual, practical, among many others. The word has evolved so much that now people say ‘Zen Buddhism’ when they meant the original zen meaning, while zen on it’s own have much wider contemporary usage.

Wannabe Zen means aspiring to be at peace, aspiring to go back to wholeness.

I originally thought Wannabe Zen as a brand name for my yoga-related business (see about WBZ page), but since the beginning I haven’t clearly defined anything for it. I just liked the term because I thought it’s catchy. I had a vague idea of Wannabe Zen as a collaborative blog, something like TinyBuddha. I also thought of Wannabe Zen as discussing meaningful things like Brainpickings. I wasn’t sure where to start, almost two years passed and nothing is happening on Wannabe Zen. I have my own personal blog where I write weekly on various topics in somewhat random fashion.

A few days ago Christine messaged me saying “Let’s write a blog together”. I thought what better way to use Wannabe Zen than for this purpose? A collaborative blog about being here now and remembering our true nature. So here it is, Wannabe Zen, live.

Me and Christine will take turns in writing something here once a week. We will share our thoughts about happiness, spirituality, mindful living, self enquiry, love, meaning of life, meditation, etc. We hope you’ll enjoy this website as much as we enjoyed creating it.


Below is a picture of my running race bib for Jakarta Marathon, last Sunday 25 October 2015. I registered and entered the name ‘Sil @ Wannabe Zen’ to be printed on this bib back in April, and never really thought about it again, until last week when I picked it up. I normally use my own name or ‘Running Yogi’ for race bib. Perhaps it was a hunch that Wannabe Zen will come alive this month.