14 April 2011

The Zen Way


The Zen way of meditation is simple and effective. Zen teaches one to live in the present with complete awareness, so that one comes out of dreaming about the future or reflecting on the past.

There is no sorrow or unhappiness in the present. It might have been in the past or it might be in your dream of future. When we flow with our thoughts, we forget our real self and become a bundle of thoughts ourselves. When we are able to separate ourselves from our thoughts and are able to observe our thoughts, life becomes clear and the implication of thoughts on us fades away.

I shall make this clearer with a simple example. A boy named Tom had a cat named Tommy. When Tom had been in the school, Tommy was bitten by a cruel dog. When this incident happened, he was not aware of that and was playing happily with his friends. When he returned home, he came to know what had happened from his parents and felt terribly sad. So, it is not the incidence that puts us out of balance, but the thought of that happening.
To get relieved from the impact of the thoughts and to know its reality, we need to detach ourselves from the thoughts and become a good observer of the thoughts. This is the essence of meditation. Once we separate ourselves from our mind and its ever flowing thought patterns, we may attain the real freedom.
So, how to achieve this freedom? Zen way of meditation is one of the easiest ways of doing this. A lot of emphasis is given on observing the breath and the popping up thoughts in this simple way of meditation. Once we observe the breath, the mind is attached with something happening in the present, the breathing. It prevents it clinging back to the past or wander in the future. While observing the breath, still the thoughts might come and try to take us away. In that case, we should not analyze the thoughts that enter our mind. Instead, we should just be aware of the thoughts, not following it. In due course of time, the grips of thought on us would become weak and fade away. Gradually, the gaps between the thoughts would increase and take us closer to our real nature.

The advantage of Zen

One of the great advantages of Zen is you can start practicing it right now. There is no need of any formal initiation and there is no need to wait for your master to come and teach you. There are a lot of good books to get you started in the path of Zen meditation. The book 'Zen Mind, Beginners Mind' is a great one. I liked it for its simplicity and the way it sheds light on Zen meditation.

Once the concept of Zen is understood, then the practice is what is important. A regular practice would take you towards success.

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