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Earthen Zen

Integration after Kensho: How Daily Practices and Community Help

Earth, Nature, Zen Buddhism

– Composed by Duane Steffens and Glenn Nangaku Leisching


In the realm of spiritual awakening, Kensho represents a profound moment of realization and transcendence. However, the true journey begins after this transformative experience. Integrating Kensho into our daily lives becomes crucial to align our newfound insights with our actions, relationships, and overall well-being. This article explores the changes that occur after Kensho, the significance of integration, and how daily practices and community support aid in this process.

Understanding Kensho

Before delving into the integration process, it’s helpful to have an understanding of Kensho. Kensho, derived from Zen Buddhism, refers to a direct experience of awakening or enlightenment. It involves transcending the illusion of the self and gaining deep insights into the nature of reality. Kensho can be a life-altering event, shattering preconceived notions and revealing the interconnectedness of all things.

The Importance of Integration

While Kensho itself may be a powerful moment, true growth lies in integrating the experience into our daily lives. Integration ensures that the insights gained during Kensho become embodied wisdom rather than fleeting glimpses. It aligns our inner transformation with our external actions, enabling us to live with greater authenticity and purpose.

Changes After Kensho

After Kensho, individuals often experience profound changes in their perspectives, priorities, and behaviors. The realization of the impermanence of existence and the interconnectedness of all beings can lead to a shift in values. Priorities may shift from material possessions to meaningful experiences, and the pursuit of success may be replaced by a deeper yearning for inner fulfillment.

Daily Practices for Integration

After Kensho the varied stimuli of our lives begin to have a different quality to them. Our habitual responses to those stimuli also begin to shift, creating more space for conscious choices.

Daily practices play a vital role in the integration process. Engaging in mindfulness meditation, journaling, taking full responsibility for the state of love and compassion you have for yourself and others, or reflective exercises allows individuals to anchor their Kensho experience and insights into their daily routines. These practices cultivate present-moment awareness, enhance self-reflection, and provide a space for processing emotions and thoughts that arise during the integration journey.


The Role of Community

The support of a community can be invaluable during the integration process. Engaging with like-minded individuals who have also undergone Kensho fosters a sense of belonging and understanding. Sharing experiences, insights, and challenges within a supportive community creates a nurturing environment for integration. Community resources, such as workshops, retreats, or online forums, provide opportunities for learning and growth. In a practicing community, breakthroughs like kensho, are vulnerable moments and are welcomed, honoured, and validated.

Techniques for Integration

Several techniques can aid in the integration of Kensho. Embodied practices, such as yoga, tai chi, kinhin (mindful walking), or mindful work, help ground the transformative experience in the physical body. Breathwork techniques, like pranayama, facilitate emotional release and energetic balance. Engaging in creative outlets, such as art or music, allows for self-expression and deepening of the integration process. Rest plays a crucial role too.

Balancing Spiritual Experiences and Daily Life

Integrating Kensho requires finding a delicate balance between spiritual experiences and the demands of daily life. It involves maintaining a connection to the awakened state while fulfilling responsibilities and engaging in relationships. Here are some strategies to achieve this balance:

Establishing Rituals: Create daily rituals that anchor you in the present moment. This could include a morning meditation practice, setting intentions for the day, or engaging in mindful activities like walking or eating.

Setting Boundaries: Learn to set boundaries and prioritize self-care. Understand that it’s okay to say no to commitments that don’t align with your values or drain your energy. Protect your space for spiritual practices and personal growth.

Integrating Mindfulness: Infuse mindfulness into everyday activities. Whether you’re washing dishes, commuting, or having conversations, bring a heightened sense of presence and awareness to the moment. This allows for a seamless integration of Kensho into your daily experiences.

Honoring Reflection: Take regular moments for reflection and self-inquiry. Journaling, contemplating life’s deeper questions, or seeking solitude in nature can help maintain a connection to the insights gained during Kensho.

Overcoming Challenges

The integration process may present challenges and obstacles along the way. It’s important to acknowledge and address these challenges to ensure a smooth integration. Here are some common challenges and strategies to overcome them:

Emotional Turbulence: After Kensho, intense emotions may arise as you navigate the integration process. Practice self-compassion, seek support from loved ones, teachers, or professionals, and explore therapeutic modalities that facilitate emotional healing.

Loss of Connection: There might be moments when you feel disconnected from the awakened state or struggle to maintain the insights gained during Kensho. Remember that these experiences are natural and impermanent. Engage in practices that reconnect you to your inner wisdom, such as meditation, contemplation, or seeking guidance from mentors.

Resistance from Others: Integrating Kensho can sometimes be met with resistance or misunderstanding from others who haven’t experienced similar awakenings. Seek out supportive communities or individuals who can validate your experiences and provide a nurturing environment for growth.

Deepening the Integration Process

Integration is an ongoing journey that evolves over time. Here are some strategies for deepening the integration process:

Cultivating Mindfulness and Self-Reflection: Regularly engage in mindfulness practices, meditation, and self-reflection to deepen your understanding of the Kensho experience. This cultivates a sense of inner awareness and facilitates the integration of insights into daily life.

Nurturing Relationships: Foster meaningful connections with individuals who support your growth and understanding. Surround yourself with people who are open-minded, empathetic, and willing to engage in conversations about spiritual awakening.

Seeking Support: Don’t hesitate to seek support from spiritual teachers, mentors, or therapists who can guide you through the integration process. They can offer valuable insights, tools, and perspectives to help you navigate challenges and facilitate integration.

Living Authentically: Embody the insights gained during Kensho by living authentically. Align your actions, values, and intentions with the awakened state, allowing your true self to shine through in all areas of life.


Integrating the profound experience of Kensho into our daily lives is a transformative journey. It requires dedication, self-compassion, and a willingness to explore new practices and perspectives. By embracing daily rituals, seeking support, and cultivating mindfulness, we can navigate the challenges and deepen our integration process. Through integration, we align our inner awakening with the outer world, fostering greater harmony, purpose, and fulfillment.


1. Can anyone experience Kensho?
Kensho can be experienced by individuals who are committed to their spiritual path and engage in practices that cultivate self-awareness and insight. While it may not be a guaranteed outcome for everyone, the potential for awakening is inherent in all beings.

2. How long does the integration process take?
The integration process varies from person to person. It is a unique and personal journey that unfolds at its own pace. Some individuals may experience a more rapid integration, while others may require more time. Patience, self-compassion, and acceptance of the process are key.

3. What if I face resistance from my existing community or loved ones?
Resistance from others is not uncommon, as the awakened state can challenge established belief systems and norms. Seek out like-minded communities or individuals who can provide support and understanding. Engaging in open and compassionate dialogue with loved ones may also help foster acceptance and mutual respect.

4. Are there specific practices that aid in integration?
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, practices such as meditation, mindfulness, journaling, yoga, and breathwork can be helpful in anchoring the Kensho experience into daily life. Experiment with different techniques and find what resonates with you personally.

5. How do I maintain the balance between spiritual experiences and daily responsibilities?
Maintaining balance requires self-awareness, setting boundaries, and prioritizing self-care. It involves honoring your spiritual practices while fulfilling your obligations. Regularly assess your priorities, communicate your needs, and make conscious choices that support both your spiritual growth and daily responsibilities.