Your First step in Zen

Your First step in Zen

In the hustle of our modern world, meditation stands as a timeless remedy, offering solace to an overwhelmed mind. While historical luminaries found awakening without formal meditation, in today's fast-paced life, this ancient practice provides a practical sanctuary for mastering thoughts and emotions.

Much like a preschooler learning to sit properly, Zen, a comprehensive school of its own, instructs by not instructing, fostering ease within oneself, with others, and in one's duties. At its core lies Zazen, the art of sitting meditation. Derived from the Sanskrit 'dhyana,' meaning meditation or being in a state of flow, Zazen distinguishes itself from concentration (dharana) by maintaining open eyes—a symbolic extension of meditation into daily life.

The sitting posture is fundamental in Zen. Cross-legged, with a straight yet supple back, a slightly bent neck, and eyes open, a Zen meditator cultivates a mystical gaze. The body, akin to a musician immersed in their instrument, should be so comfortable that awareness transcends bodily distractions. Elbows forming an 'L,' hands resting in the lap with palms facing up, this posture aims to close energy circuits, preserving the flow.

For those unable to sit on the floor, a chair suffices, but a straight back is imperative. Supporting the back is acceptable, yet maintaining straightness remains crucial, ensuring the unimpeded flow of pranic energy—the subtlest form of energies.

Counting breaths becomes a simple yet effective mechanism in Zen, anchoring awareness in the present moment. Even outside Zazen, sitting in a normal posture and attentively listening to one's breath fosters mindfulness, as the breath serves as our primary connection to life.

Breath regulation plays a pivotal role. Yogic scriptures emphasize that a true yogi's breath, being mindful, is imperceptible from a distance. Controlling breath regulates the mind, and reciprocally, a calm mind reflects in serene breathing.

As you count your breath in Zazen, envision each inhalation infusing positivity—love, kindness, compassion, joy, and bliss. Simultaneously, exhale negativity, shedding baggage, releasing suppressed emotions. The gentle, rhythmic nature of this practice mirrors the importance of gentleness in every aspect of life. Communicating effectively, expressing oneself without harshness, embodies the Zen way.

Zazen, a practice demanding calm, paradoxically fosters calmness. In the dance of inhalation and exhalation, positivity and negativity, one takes the initial steps on the path of Zen meditation.

By Om Swami


Back to blog

Leave a comment