Zen meditation is a little different as compared to other traditional forms of meditation. Here the person who meditates does not get into a "trance" and they experience the beauty of life, in each breath of the present moment to the fullest.
How To Meditate
Select a quiet, comfortable place. The spot should not be too cold or too hot, nor too dark or bright. Place a cushion on the carpet or a blanket. You can keep it on the floor or on a thin pad.
These meditation pads and cushions (also called as zabutons and zafus) can be easily purchased. However other materials like rolled up blankets, sofa cushions or pillows is good enough for beginners.
The benefits of Zen meditation are as follows:
- Builds focus and concentration
- Generates awareness of Big Self
- Compassion,calmness,spontaneous joy
- Improves health and overall well being
- Builds character and increases will power
- Bestows psychic powers
The sitting postures under this type of meditation have been illustrated in many books. There are various postures like the full lotus posture, quarter lotus posture, half lotus posture, Burmese posture and kneeling posture which can be practiced by following the instructions given in the book.
In all these postures, it is necessary to keep your spinal cord straight, chin tucked in, buttocks thrust out and hands held closed to your body in "cosmic mudra". Here the left hand rests on the top of your right hand with palms open.
After you are through with the sitting posture, you have to take deep breath which would allow the lungs to expand. Focus all your attention on your breath during this process of meditation. If thoughts arise, acknowledge them, let them pass and treat them as a passing cloud.
If you are counting your breath, then you should count the breath from 1 to 10 when you exhale and inhale. You can purchase items like a bell, a ringing bowl or a incense to signal the start and the end of meditation period.
Initially you can practice this meditation for a period of 10 minutes. As you gain experience, you can extend the period up to 20 minutes. You should sit for meditation at the time when distractions are minimum preferably in the early morning. However there are some people who would love to meditate in the evening as well.
If you are following your breath then focus your attention on the breath as you exhale and inhale. When your mind flickers and wanders here and there then bring back the attention to your breath. Do not punish yourself if the attention wanders. The main purpose of your mind is to create thoughts. They are always with you. You should overcome those thoughts and focus on your breath.
While meditating, make sure you wear loose clothing. It is not recommended to sit for meditation after a heavy meal.
While practicing Zen meditation, you may experience cramps or aches in the legs and back. Don't force yourself so that it becomes strenuous. If you feel like doing Zen meditation in a group then you can look for various groups on the World Wide Web.
Here's an excellent way to start enjoying the benefits of meditation today. The Deep Zen audio program is easy for anyone wanting to learn how to meditate and helps advanced meditators achieve deeper levels of meditation too. Try your free demo here: http://holothink.org