Mala beads.

Meditation at Home

Staying cooped up for weeks at a time at home can take its toll on anyone with the monotony of daily routines, limited space and especially with the looming threat of COVID-19. Having a healthy and well-balanced state of mind can help get you through the day. The practice of zazen meditation is the heart of the Zen Buddhist experience. It is a very simple yet precise method of meditation. Any form of meditation can only be good for your well-being.

Zen meditation

Japanese culture and history has had a strong influence from Buddhism. Buddhism was introduced to Japan by five Chinese monks from an ancient kingdom extending to the Swat valley and Potohar plateau regions of Pakistan and the Jalalabad district of northeastern Afghanistan, known as Gandhara. These monks traveled to the country during the Kofun period (250 to 538). Buddhism through the years, became the Japanese state religion according to national policies; Buddha was made into a Japanese deity and coexisted with other Shinto gods.

Kodo Sawaki sitting in zazen meditation.

Zen is a school of Mahayana (Sanskrit for “Great Vehicle”) Buddhism. It is one of the main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice. The practice of Zen meditation or zazen is the heart of the Zen Buddhist experience. Also known as dhyana in India, it is a very precise and simple meditation practice that can bring a whole new meaning to life.

 Kodo Sawaki sitting in zazen meditation.

Meditation techniques

Meditation is methodology that seeks to train the mind in way that exercising is an attitude towards training the body. It can be quite challenging to for someone new to meditation to sit for hours and think of nothing and “empty the mind”. The simplest way to begin the process of learning to clear your thoughts is by focusing on breathing techniques.

Concentration meditation

Concentration meditation is focusing the mind on a single point.This includes following the breath, repeating a single mantra or word, staring at a flame of a lit candle, listening to something repetitive such a the sound of a gong or counting the beads on a mala (bead or a set of beads commonly used by Hindus and Buddhists for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name or names of a deity). Focusing the mind can be challenging, try meditating for a few minutes a day and slowly work your way to extending the time. Choose a quite and relaxing space to free your mind.

KCP students practicing meditation.

KCP students practicing meditation.

Concentration meditation requires you to refocus your awareness on a chosen object each time you notice your mind wandering. Instead of following your random thoughts, you allow your mind to let go of them. This process enables you to improve concentration.

Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation encourages your thoughts to wander as they drift through your consciousness. The intention of this technique is to be aware of each mental note as it appears in your mind rather than to get involved in them or to judge them.

Mala beads.

Mala beads. | Nadine Incoll

This approach allows you to see your thoughts and feelings that tend to move in particular patterns. As you get accustomed to these thoughts, you become more aware of the human tendency to swiftly assess an experience as a positive or negative one. By practicing this method religiously, you achieve inner balance.

Some schools of meditation imparts the practice a combination of concentration and mindfulness.