Beginning the Zen Meditation

One of the best relaxation exercises today is found in the practice of Zen meditation. With its long list of benefits which include the improvement of your posture, a healthy way to manage stress and a great way to achieve inner peace and tranquility, it’s no wonder that Zen meditation has become more and more popular all over the world. Originating from the Zen Buddhist belief, the Zen meditation or Zazen is a form of meditation that usually involves the practitioner to sit in a lotus or half lotus position but now, it has been accepted that a sitting position as long as it is comfortable to the practitioner is allowed.

The Zen meditation is composed of different steps that lead to its success. How is Zen meditation done and practiced? Here are the steps that you can take to ensure a rewarding Zen meditation.

Zen Meditation

Getting a Comfortable Seat

Before anything else, what you first need to do is secure a seat where you’ll be comfortable as you begin the Zen meditation. You can use a soft pillow or a mat that can be placed on the floor and used as your seat when you position yourself in the lotus or half lotus position. Your comfort is important as pain or any other distracting stimuli can throw off your focus and defeat the purpose of meditation. But it’s not necessary to use a pillow or a mat when you meditate. You can just conveniently sit on the floor as is without anything as long as you are comfortable.

Getting into Position

After securing your comfortable seat, you need to initiate the position that Zen meditation practitioners undergo which is either the lotus position or the half lotus position.

The lotus position is characterized by the foot being place on top of the other thigh and the sole is facing upwards with the heel staying close to the abdomen. After that, the other foot is slowly lifted and then placed on the opposite thigh, mirroring the image of the first foot. In this position, the knees often touch the ground. The spine should be straightened out while relaxing the head and the neck. The hands may be rested on the knees while the arms are in a relaxed position. At first, this position may be painful as it requires a certain degree of flexibility but with constant practice, the lotus position is easy to master.

The half lotus position is given a hint through its name. Similar to the lotus position, one foot is placed on the top of the other thigh with the sole facing upwards. However, the other foot stays grounded, contrary to the lotus position which exhibits a symmetrical comparison of both legs. The half lotus position is also more comfortable, especially those who are new to Zen meditation.

If you’re not used to sitting in the lotus or half lotus position, sitting with your legs crossed would be enough. Gaining a similar stance and posture to the lotus and half lotus position, sitting with your legs crossed would be adequate and is more comfortable, contributing to your focus and concentration once you begin meditation.

Clearing Your Mind

Once you’re in position, it’s time to begin the meditation. Start out by closing your eyes and then clearing your mind of irrelevant thoughts. This includes the negative thoughts and feelings that you usually experience throughout the day in the form of stress. In Zen meditation, you are aiming to achieve inner peace and to do that, you need to cleanse your mind.

Meditate

Entering a state of trance, you now begin the meditation. Focus more on your breathing pattern as it is one of the most essential aspects of the Zen meditation. Throw away the distracting stimuli such as irrelevant noises and start exploring your thoughts. Dive into the emotions and the experiences that you have undergone over the past few days. In this state, focus and concentration is a must.