What is Zen meditation?
Zen meditation is an ancient Buddhist tradition that was developed in China in the 7th century. Later it made its way to other Asian countries where it is still popular to this day.
This meditation style mainly focuses on the mental health of the practitioner. It gives you more insight into your thoughts and feelings. This can be very beneficial for people with depression or an anxiety disorder because it allows them to better deal with their fears and feelings.
Although some people refer to Zen meditation as ‘Zazen meditation, it is not the same. Zazen focuses on meditating in a sitting position, while Zen meditation also uses other techniques.
The benefits of Zen meditation
Where in ordinary meditation you focus on letting thoughts pass, in Zen meditation you observe your thoughts. Then you let them go. It is a technique that takes a lot of practice, but you can also get many benefits from it.
1. It helps you focus
A study has found that people who practice a lot of Zen meditation are less likely to be distracted by new thoughts or impulses that come in from outside. This can be very beneficial while studying or at work.
2. You can dive deeper into your consciousness
Zen meditation also helps to connect more with yourself and your consciousness. This helps to think more creatively and to find solutions to problems more easily. You can also stay calmer in stressful situations.
3. You suffer less from stress
Although Zen meditation itself does not necessarily focus on reducing stress, this is an additional effect. Because you can think more calmly and are more connected with yourself, you are less likely to suffer from stress and depressive thoughts.
Zen meditation exercises and explanation
1. Focusing on the Breath
In this variant, you assume a comfortable position, such as on a pillow with your legs crossed. You breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, focusing on the air flowing in and out of your lungs. Try to breathe through the abdomen to feel grounded. You can do this for as long as you want, as long as you stay focused on your breathing.
2. Observing Your Thoughts
With this Zen meditation technique, you do not have a specific goal in mind and you will not focus on a particular subject. You sit or lie still, and let your thoughts pass. Acknowledge these thoughts and let them go, don’t try to hold them or react to them. Let them be as they come.
3. Group Meditation
This technique is mainly carried out in the east. Here you meditate as a group in silence with an occasional silent pause. By performing the Zen meditation as a group, you should also be able to relax well.