Dean Sluyter is the Buddhist chaplain at Northern State Prison in Newark, New Jersey, and also a film critic and author of several books, including The Zen Commandments: Ten Suggestions for a Life of Inner Freedom.
Dr. Oz talks with Dean about the meaning behind each of his Zen Commandments:
Rest in openness: Dean says "resting in openness"—meditating and doing nothing—for an hour a day will help you always focus on the present moment. "Whatever is going on in the present is fine, it is deeply okay," Dean says. "It is just our constant looking to change something that creates our dissatisfaction; there is not anything inherent in what is going on right now."
Act with kindness: Compassion is not about pity, it is the gut knowledge that the distress of another is real, Dean says. "It is very difficult to feel someone else's pain," Dean says. Meditation is one way you can develop compassion.
Notice the moment: Many people only notice the moment when they experience intense pain and pleasure, Dean says. Those moments of pain and pleasure can feel like an eternity because you are noticing the moment. Dean says paying attention to being in the moment will keep you from seeking intense experiences that could be destructive.
Recognize teachers: This suggestion mirrors the Bible's fourth Commandment, which says to honor you mother and father. Dean says if you are at war with your parents, you are at war with yourself, and that creates stress. Dean says you should thank your parents and show them gratitude, even if they are no longer alive.
Keep it simple: Life is pretty simple, but somehow we make it complicated and can tie ourselves into knots, Dean says. Getting in touch with simplicity through the other Zen Commandments will help you sort through life and keep it simple.
Be devoted: "Devotion is the opening of your heart," Dean says. For example, in marriage, the object of devotion is another person and being in a state where you are committed to one another. That type of devotion and commitment will help you find enlightenment, he says.
No appointment, no disappointment: We spend our lives making appointments. By living a life not caught up in expectations, Dean says you will experience and enjoy life more.
Bless everyone: Dean says we should bless people, extend to them the wish to be happy and free from suffering. You can start blessing people you love first, and then bless strangers, and finally people you don't like. "I don't think it makes much difference to those people you are blessing, [but] I think it saves you from getting mired in negativity," Dean says.
Disconnect the dots: While everyone tries to seek the truth, we sometimes end up being blinded by our own opinions, Dean says. When it comes to politics, people often think their political orientation is right and the other side is wrong. Loosening your grip on your opinions and trying to see the other side will help you see truth, Dean says.
Be a mensch and enjoy the joke: Dean's book outlines how to enjoy life and live it to the fullest, and still be a good, nonjudgmental person.