Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Zen Meditation in 10 Easy Steps

The Zen meditation approach is a great introductory experience to meditation. With this brief overview along with the simple 10 step process, you’ll be on your way to cultivating resilience, clarity and relaxation.

Enkyo Roshi from The Village Zendo in Manhattan is a Zen Master in the Soto and Rinzai traditions. Over three days in a Zen retreat, which is also known as “Sesshin,” we trained together in sitting awareness techniques of meditation, theory and walking meditation.

Studies recently released show that Zen Meditation thickens the grey matter in your brain. Your brain grows in size after just 11 hours of cumulative practice. After just eight hours of practice (spread over a few months), you achieve the psychological benefits of a more positive outlook on life. This minimizes your self-defeating inner monologue or “rumination” as it is called. Recent studies also show that Zen Meditation treats chronic pain as effectively as medication.

Good posture and consistency are the most important elements of successful personal practice. Also, it is important to dedicate and “build in” a time and space where you can practice every day. Early morning practice is best as it brings a rested mind and a quiet household, both of which are very much needed for a resonant session.

Creating the time for quiet contemplation also opens up the opportunity to set an intention and visualize your perfect day before you start. This enhances your ability to achieve the kind of day you want.

As Harvard University’s Daniel Goleman describes, meditation heightens your self-awareness and you carry this state with you throughout your day with regular practice. You heighten your senses, memory, connection to yourself, the activity you are doing and the relationship to those around you.

Here’s how you can approach seated Zen Meditation, usingEnkyo Roshi’s instructions: