If you are currently experiencing a substantial amount of stress in your life, and you would like to feel better, meditation is an option that you should consider. This is a process of quieting your mind, one that often involves being in an isolated room, sometimes playing soft music in the background. The key is to put yourself in a location where you will not be disturbed, preferably at a place that is quiet. Meditation involves distracting your conscious mind from focusing on any of your current problems. Although this may sound easy, it’s actually very hard to do. You need to have a strategy or technique that you can use, and that is where Zen meditation comes in. There are millions of people that follow Zen Buddhism, a religion that teaches people how to meditate properly. Here are a few tips on how you can use Zen Buddhism and stress relief strategies to help you reduce the amount of stress in your life.
What Is Meditation?
There are many definitions of meditation. Many people often confuse this with prayer. When you are praying, you are typically focusing on things that you are requesting in some form of supplication. However, meditation does not have anything to do with petitioning for some change to occur. It is the process of quieting the mind, preventing the constant thoughts that we are thinking about from occurring. By definition, meditation is a practice or strategy by which you can focus your mind on absolutely nothing. Doing so will allow you to feel calm, and at the same time, help you reduce negative thoughts and emotions. Meditation is better defined as a way of transforming the mind. It requires the practitioner to completely clear their mind of any thoughts at all. Doing so will begin to reduce the negative thoughts and images that are adversely affecting your life.
What Is Zen Buddhism?
This particular form of Buddhism was developed in Japan. It is derived from the religion of Buddhism which was started in China. The word Zen is a derivative of words that originate from both China and India. People today often use this word to describe something that is peaceful or calming. Zen also references a particular Japanese school, one that emphasizes Mahayana Buddhism. This particular form of Buddhism focuses upon the development of both intuition and meditation. When looking at its origins, it is simply the pronunciation of the Chinese word Chan, a word that originated from the Indian practice of “Dhyana” or meditation. Therefore, Zen Buddhism is the practice of Mahayana Buddhism, emphasizing Zazen or meditating while sitting.
The Connection Between Zen Buddhism And Stress Relief
Zen meditation is one of the most relaxing forms of meditating that you will ever do. It is said that without meditation, Zen has no meaning at all. It is the practice of self-discovery through vigilant meditation, a practice that focuses your attention on the moment and not your thoughts. It is said that the Buddha practiced Zazen regularly, and this is likely how he was able to find Enlightenment. It is thought to be the pathway to spiritual enlightenment for everyone. Meditation can serve as a foundation for every decision and action that we make throughout the day. The reason that Zen Buddhism can help with relieving stress is that most of our stress is derived from our thoughts. Although you may be facing real problems, if you are only focused at the moment, meditation can help reduce the power of those thoughts. Once the thought process is eliminated, this source of your constant stress will not be able to affect you as much. To start to feel better, you must begin to practice Zazen meditation regularly.
How To Practice Zazen Meditation
At a basic level, any form of meditation is primarily focused on quieting your mind. When you are doing Zazen, there are many specific procedures that you must follow. It begins by finding a quiet place where you can meditate without being interrupted. This is a requirement that cannot be ignored. The setting should be one that has proper lighting, preferably a room that is neither too bright or dark. Additionally, the temperature in the room should be comfortable. This type of meditation also requires you to be seated in some way. There are actually specific postures that you can learn which can help you progress toward becoming an experienced meditator. If you are meditating with someone that does this regularly, they will likely be sitting on a zafu. This is simply a round thick cushion. The main purpose is to raise your hips to a higher level, allowing you to cross your legs with your knees firmly planted on the floor. This will provide you with stability, as well as good posture, both of which are necessary when doing Zen meditation. Crossing your legs is referred to as the Lotus position, and if it is uncomfortable, you can always do the half Lotus position with only one foot placed over your opposite leg. If neither of these positions is comfortable, you can do the seiza position which is simply kneeling, knees forward, while sitting on your zafu. Your posture needs to be perfectly vertical, and while meditating, you should keep your eyes open, preferably half open and half closed. Finally, your hands and arms should come together at the front, preferably with your left fingers resting on your right fingers and your thumbs touching. This will create a very balanced position, and once this is done, you will be ready to begin your meditation.
The Importance Of Breathing During Zen Meditation
Breathing plays a major role in any form of meditation. It is the one thing that you are focused upon while you meditate. In Zazen, it serves as a fundamental practice and can be easily controlled when you are in a proper Lotus position. It is recommended that you only breathe in and out through your nose, keeping your mouth closed at all times. Your goal is to establish a natural rhythm of deep breathing, focusing primarily on exhaling while you meditate. This is similar to the breathing exercises that you will learn if you practice any type of martial arts. Focusing on your breath is the key to maintaining your focus while meditating, absent all of your thoughts. Once you have started breathing properly, it is time to work on your state of mind.
Zen Buddhism And Your State Of Mind
Finally, once you have achieved a proper position for meditating, and you are focused on your breath, it will be time to work on your state of mind. The stress that we all feel originates from our thoughts. It is our constant inundation of negative thinking that often causes us to feel stressed. By focusing on your breath, you will begin to slowly clear your mind of your current problems. It should be noted that negative thoughts are going to be there. It is not possible to try to eliminate these thoughts. The more that you focus on getting rid of them, the stronger they will become. They are simply going to come to the surface of your conscious mind, but through regular meditation, you are creating a new routine by which your thoughts will not affect you in the same way. It is only by focusing on your breath that you can begin to detach from these thoughts. The less you think about them, the less power they will have over you. You need to think of meditation as a way of taking power away from your thoughts which are typically manifested and maintained through your focus and emotions. In Zen meditations, you will learn that letting go is the key to finding your way. By letting go of your need to control your negative thoughts, by default, they will become less frequent and therefore have less power to control you. It is recommended that you begin with 15-minute intervals of meditation when you begin, although 30 minutes is recommended. Once your meditation session is over, you should sit quietly for a few more minutes until you stand up. It is at this point that you will understand why there is a direct connection between Zen Buddhism and stress relief.
By implementing Zazen on a regular basis, you will start to feel much better. Meditation allows you to break the habit of your conscious mind fixating on negative thoughts. Zen Buddhism can help you with your stress levels, but only through the regular practice of Zen meditation for stress relief. Some people may feel much better after a single session, whereas others may need to practice multiple times to experience beneficial results. In conclusion, Zen Buddhism and stress relief are intimately entwined. It is the key to reducing your stress levels without the need for pharmaceutical drugs, and can sometimes be much more effective. If you have never meditated before, you should not feel intimidated by trying a couple sessions of Zazen. When done properly, you will start to reduce the adverse effects of stress in your life.