Easy Zen Meditation Tips
Meditation, simply defined, is a way of being aware... Meditation is not about getting away from it all, numbing out, or stopping thoughts. Without trying to be rid of pesky thoughts and feelings, we learn how to practice being aware of them in the fleeting immediacy of the very moment in which they present themselves. – Lama Surya Das
Meditation can be done by anyone, it is a simple thing to do. The main thing is to do it everyday even if it is only for a few minutes. Let us see how easy it is to meditate and how we can prepare ourselves and our surroundings to motivate us to do it daily.
The Obstacles to Meditation Practice
Many of us are aware of the importance of spending some quiet time every day to gather our strength and renew our energies. Meditation is one way of taking a pause in the continuous movement of daily life. We are always looking for ways to manage our time so that we can fit all that is important into the 24 hours that we have. We put off things that we consider non-essential and they slowly build up to mammoth proportions and cause stress because we find it difficult to cope with them.
Even though most of us are aware of the importance of having a focused mind with good concentration, a relaxed body and happiness for our well-being and success in our chosen field we don't give enough time to develop and maintain such a body and mind. Meditation is one of the best ways to achieve a focused mind and a relaxed body.
The reason that most of us are unable to do any daily practice is because we lack in will power. The mind comes up with many excuses not to do it and we listen. Excuses range from 'It is too cold to get out of bed', 'It is OK if I miss one day', 'I had a hard day yesterday, it is alright to sleep in', 'I am too busy meeting deadlines, no time to meditate', etc. What if we said, 'It is too cold... let me turn the heater on and meditate', 'It is not OK to miss even one day', and so forth. Every little obstacle we overcome makes us stronger to face life's challenges. Committing to a daily meditation practice will change the way we relate to our circumstances and the world.
Tips to Make Practicing Zen Meditation Easy
- Make a commitment to sit for meditation every day. Make it a priority.
- Find a quiet place and designate it only for your practice.
- The light should be dim not too bright or too dark.
- Burning incense is calming to the senses and creates an atmosphere conducive to meditation.
- Bring objects of inspiration to keep in that place, but keep it free from clutter.
- Plan to sit at the same time each day.
- Sit in a comfortable posture.
- Make sure you meditate after having a shower. If not the toxins get absorbed back into the body.
- Sit for a short time in the beginning 10-15 minutes.
- Have a timer or a quiet alarm to let you know the time is up. This will stop you from checking the clock while meditating.
- Have no expectations on how your meditation session should be or how you should feel after it.
- Accept the obstacles such as sleepiness, restlessness and boredom as part of the practice and continue your meditation practice everyday.
Just like everything else there are several levels of the understanding and practice of meditation. Every method has a different purpose and we must choose the one that is most suited to us.
Tranquility Zen Meditation
This is a Zen meditation designed to calm the mind and the body through focusing single-pointedly upon some appropriate object. You might focus on an image, a mental picture of your favourite deity or focus on the breath. The object of tranquility meditation is focusing the mind without distraction.
- Sit in a comfortable posture on the floor or on a chair.
- Hands should be placed palm upwards, one on top of the other, with the tips of the thumbs raised and touching to form a circle.
- Shoulders relaxed.
- Back straight and upright without strain and the head very slightly inclined forward.
- Eyes half-closed, gaze directed downwards to a point about four feet in front of you.
- Spend a few minutes getting comfortable, balanced and relaxed.
- Breathe in and out deeply several times.
- Turn your attention to the flow of your breath
- Focus on the point above your upper lip where the breath enters and leaves your nostrils.
- Counting each cycle of inhalation and exhalation is a means of strengthening the mind's focus. Count 1-10 cycles.
- However, you will notice your mind wandering before you reach 10. Do not be disappointed or annoyed.
- Gently bring it back to focus on the breathing and resume counting.
- As you progress you will notice that your breathing becomes slower and subtler, you will then be able to focus without counting.
After the Meditation Session:
- Open your eyes slowly.
- Do not jump up and rush off into your daily life activities.
- The meditation practice would have generated a charge of positive energy.
- Express and affirm that the positive energy you have received or accumulated may be used for the benefit of others by the universe.
Meditation is a powerful tool for change. It acts upon the mind and may bring up complex emotions and long-forgotten or suppressed memories. It is a good idea to join a group or find a mentor who can advise and encourage you appropriately.
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