Oakville Zen Meditation

Zen Meditation

Mindfulness meditation in a nutshell:

Mindfulness meditation is a mental training practice that teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and body. It combines meditation with the practice of mindfulness which can be defined as a mental state that involves being fully focused on breathing to "anchor" the mind so you can acknowledge and accept your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment or decision, and then delete them by refocusing on your anchor.

Techniques can vary, but in general, mindfulness meditation involves deep breathing and awareness of body and mind. Practicing mindfulness meditation doesn't require props or preparation (no need for candles, essential oils, or mantras, unless you enjoy them). To get started, all you need is a comfortable place to sit for 10 to 30min. min. with a judgment-free mindset.

 Zen  Meditation:

Buddhism was created around 2500 years ago following the 50 years long verbal teaching of The Buddha, a nickname meaning the “awakened one”.

Zen is a branch of Buddhism that started in China 500 years later. Zen is the Japanese word for meditation. Meditation has been used for more than 15,000 years as a spiritual and therapeutic tool in Eastern countries and now in our Western world. Meditation is the practice of mindfulness which is to pay attention and be aware of something without any analytical, judgmental, or decisional mental action. To be mindful is to focus on x or y or z without letting thoughts and feelings interfere.

    1. Physical concentration by keeping the body still in a specific posture (sitting cross-legged, on a chair, or walking)
    2. Mental concentration by focusing our attention on our breathing acts as our mind's anchor.
    3. Paying attention to our incoming thoughts and letting them go by bringing the focus back on our breath. In Zen, we use breathing as the focusing point.

The Zen mindfulness meditation process involves 4 mindfulness stages that are repeated over and over during meditation. We are mindful of our:

    1. Posture.
    2. Focusing point (mind anchor) = exhale slowly.
    3. Incoming thought (thoughts will always appear). Don't avoid them but be aware of them then "press the delete key" and...
    4. Return to the mind anchor…and so on.

Zen meditation is simple & plain. No guided meditation (which is a North American invention), no gimmicks.

Daily Zen meditation & weekly group practice will help you to:

    • Practice a constant state of awareness of thoughts and feelings in order to control them.
    • Develop and maintain a clear and quiet mind.
    • Discover the wonders of your inner self to achieve peace within.
    • Control your ego-centered mind's main source of dissatisfaction, suffering, and unhappiness caused by endless desires, hatred, illusion, expectation, and negative feelings such as anxiety, anger, greed, fear, frustration, etc.
    • Become mindful of your senses and activities from moment to moment.

Meditation is also a great exercise to deal with our stressors, increase concentration, memory, analytical skills, thought management, mind & body relaxation, mental rehearsal, and self-confidence.

If you hold a bottle of muddy water with shaky hands the water will remain muddy and you will not be able to see through. If your hands are still the water becomes clear.

In this metaphor the bottle is your mind, the mud is your thoughts and your still hands are your meditation.

For more practical information about Zen meditation click on " Dharma talks" on the menu and go to the list of posts (right-hand side) then scroll down to select  "What is Zen meditation?" and/or Misconceptions about meditation.

The core of Zen meditation is the practice of Awareness which is to pay attention to the current moment and its content such as body sensations, thoughts, feelings, and our sensorial perceptions of the external surrounding. Awareness is non-judgmental, non-analytic, and non-decisional.

Without Awareness, there is no Zen, no meditation, no Awakening, no equanimity, and no Enlightenment.

For more details about Awareness go to "Dharma talks" and then click on Dharma Talk #444