Zazen meditation (also commonly known as zen meditation) is at the heart of Buddhist meditation. Originally called Dhyana, zazen is one of the simplest, yet the most precise meditation techniques used today. If you are here eager to learn more about zazen meditation, you have come to the right place.
Keep reading to understand how zazen meditation works, what kind of zazen posture is the right one for you, how to do zazen and how to reap the benefits of this unique type of meditation.
What Actually is Zazen Meditation?
Zazen was originally known as Dhyana and originated in India a few millennia ago. Later on, it was carried by Buddhist monks in the heart of Tibet and China, and later it was taken to Japan. The name Zen or Zazen is a Japanese word which means “sitting meditation”.
This practice of meditation revolves around observing your thoughts and sitting in silence, trying to discover how your mind and body work together and trying to understand the true purpose of your nature. Zen is usually performed using deep breathing techniques combined with stress-relief thoughts.
Zen meditation is meant for solving anxiety, stress, deep-rooted problems, addictions and other questions in life you don’t have an answer to. This technique is all about getting to the core of our problems instead of focusing on treating the symptoms. If you want to enjoy a deeper level of tranquility, peace and comfort in your life, then this practice is the right one for you.
Benefits of Zazen Meditation
Here are 7 essential benefits of zazen meditation.
- Reduce Anxiety and Stress
Stress and anxiety are considered by many people as natural in life, because these people haven’t experienced anything else. However, if they would ask any guru, meditation practitioner or Christian who claims to have a relationship with God, they would soon discover that stress and anxiety are not natural. Peace, tranquility and calm are what’s natural.
Stress and anxiety are definitely not natural, and they were definitely not a common aspect of people’s lives a few centuries ago. They only appeared in the 20th century, as people had more and more activities to attend to and an increasing ways of relaxing.
Nowadays, people experience stress and anxiety even when going on vacation. They’ve either forgotten their dog at home, lost the keys or forgot to pack the youngest daughter’s stuffed elephant, and the list goes on. But this is not normal. Normal is when people can live stress-free lives even when going on the night shift and having care of two children.
To attain this normal state, you can’t simply live your life and try to behave like everything is all right. You need to get some help, and one of the best things you can do is to adopt the practice of zen meditation in order to manage stress and anxiety. During this practice, you learn how to empty your mind of any debilitating or intrusive thoughts and you discover how to replace them with the knowledge that you are truly blessed and that there is no reason to worry.
This is truly a huge benefit of zen meditation, and we’re just starting out. Are you excited yet? Keep reading to discover more benefits of this type of meditation.
- Deal with Chronic Depression
A lot of people are diagnosed with chronic depression. Most of them are prescribed antidepressants and will more than often become dependent on them, or even suffer unexpected side effects. Because chronic depression is often associated with stress and anxiety, deep zen meditation helps you cure depression without having to invest a lot of money or precious time.
- Benefit of Clarity of Mind
We all struggle with a clouded mind from time to time. Because of the multitude of thoughts that pass through our minds on a regular basis, we often get to experience less focus energy and we are unable to live our lives at their fullest. This translates into unhappiness and dissatisfaction.
By constantly practicing zen meditation, you can take control over your thoughts and limit the number of intrusive and negative thoughts that are trying to control your life. You can then replace these debilitating thoughts with clear and realist thoughts.
- Better Sleep
Another huge benefit of practicing sitting zazen meditation is an improved level of sleep. The young generation is especially prone to getting low-quality sleep, because they are always stressed out. The solution is not trying to think less of the problems you have, but practicing zen meditation.
This unique type of meditation focuses on helping you replace negative thoughts driven by stress and anxiety with positive ones that are driven by a state of calm and peace. Meditation can uncover the most hidden parts of yourself, enabling you to have all of your questions answered and your deepest fears dealt with.
With all of your senses heightened after a good meditation session, you will start to realize that all of your stress factors are not that important, and you will get to enjoy a good night’s sleep once again. In fact, you will sleep better than you’ve ever slept before.
- Better Relationships
Relationships are essential for a happy and fulfilling life. By practicing zazen meditation on a daily basis, you get to enjoy improved relationships with those around you. The key to do that is by knowing who you truly are, and the best way to find that is by meditating on a regular basis.
The zazen practice helps you to become more aware of yourself, so that you will know how to behave with others. The more aware you are of yourself, the easier it will be for you to decipher others. As a practitioner of zazen meditation, I got to enjoy better relationships with my friends and work colleagues after a few sessions. After a few months, my relationship with my spouse improved considerably.
- Higher Self-Esteem
Zazen meditation enables energy to be poured out from a focused and clear mind. This helps you stay in control of greater responsibilities and gain more self-confidence in yourself.
By practicing zazen on a regular basis, you will end up having a more focused and clear mind and you will be able to take important decisions by having full confidence in yourself.
The higher your self-esteem is, the easier will be for you to solve complicated tasks and to make the most out of each activity.
- Deepen your Religious Beliefs and Faith in God
Zazen meditation is one of the best techniques to allow God to speak directly to yourself. In a hectic world, having time with yourself and quieting your soul is definitely the easiest way to reach your higher power and connect with Him.
Zen meditation is a deep form of meditation which involves breathing, sitting posture, counting and mindfulness. Even thought this is a Buddhist type of meditation, more and more people are starting to practice it, because they have realized it helps them to enjoy a thrilling experience and get closer to God. Moreover, their beliefs are strengthened and they can go through life knowing that they were created to be successful.
If you want to deepen your religious beliefs and to boost your faith in God, and reap all the benefits of living a pure spiritual life, you should definitely try zazen meditation.
How to Practice Zazen Meditation
If you want to reap the benefits of this unique type of meditation, you need to do it the right way. Here is a complete guide on how to do zazen right from the comfort of your home.
- Step 1 – Choose a Suitable Room
For starters, you need to find a quiet and peaceful place where you can meditate for several minutes without being disturbed. Choose a room or a corner of a room that is neither too dark or too bright, too cold or too warm.
- Choose a Posture
Zazen meditation can be practiced in several postures. Traditionally, the most commonly used are the half lotus or full lotus positions. However, if you lack flexibility, you should begin your first zen session sitting on a chair or kneeling. Otherwise, you should practice sitting zazen.
Zazen meditation is normally practiced sitting on a zafu or kneeling or a chair. If you choose the latter, do not forget to place the zafu on the chair. The purpose of this cushion is to elevate your hips in order to force your knees to stay firm on the ground. You can also use a zabuton that can be placed under the zafu. A zabuton is a rectangular mat that adds increased stability and comfort. To learn more about what kind of meditation equipment you need, read my article about meditation supplies here: (add here the link to the article I’ve written for you a few weeks ago about meditation supplies).
- Get into the Position
Because zazen meditation is all about choosing the right sitting position for you, it is important to know how to sit the right way. Whatever the position you choose, it is imperative that your neck and head stay as straight as possible. Try to pull the chin in so that your neck stays erected.
Be neither too tensed nor too relaxed, but try to find balance and find yourself in the position you’ve chosen. During the meditation sessions, your mouth should be closed, your teeth should be together and your tongue should rest just behind your teeth.
Traditionally, your eyes should be open, but you can also close them in order to avoid distractions. The position of your arms is also important in zazen. Put your right hand over the left one or vice versa, palms facing the sky, and ensure each finger touches its counterpart from the other hand.
There are two reasons for this hand position. First off, the shape of your hands harmonizes with your mind’s condition. Secondly, if your hands are misaligned, it means that your mind has drifted far away, and that you need to return back to it meditation condition.
- Start Clearing your Mind
After you fold your hands in the “cosmic mudra” position, you need to start clearing your mind and think of nothing else but your breath. Start counting each inhalation and expiration until you get to ten and then do it once again.
You might notice how your mind begins wandering. If that happens, you need to do the above procedure once again and try to take control over your thoughts.
- Keep Doing it
In the beginning, you should aim for a 5-minutes meditation session. Try clearing your mind by counting each inhalation and exhalation. Eventually, you will get to the point where you will be able to focus solely on each breath and abandon the counting process.
Meditate for up to 5 minutes the first time you practice zazen meditation and aim for 15 minutes after a couple of weeks. In a few months, you may reach or even exceed 30 minutes.
Even though in the beginning it might be hard for you to reap the benefits of zazen meditation, you will notice an improvement in your body and mind with time. Zazen is a unique practice that enables you to explore the stillness, uncovering those answers that were hidden from you.
The final step in reaping the benefits of zazen mediation is to take time to observe the world surrounding you and the universe. Take your time to observe your place in the universe and use all your senses to grasp this unique experience.
Zazen meditation is definitely a very powerful meditation technique that can help you to enjoy an increased level of self-esteem, better relationships with those around you, more stable religious beliefs, better sleep, improved clarity of mind, and the list goes on. Moreover, this practice can help you to reduce anxiety & stress and deal with chronic depression in order to live each day at its fullest.
Now it’s time to reap the benefits of zazen meditation for your body, mind and soul. Share below your experience with this meditation practice and tell us how it has helped you to live a more satisfying and fulfilling life.