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A woman on a white background holds her hands above her head while in a meditative state.

All About Zen Meditation & Why You Should Try It

Zen meditation isn’t anything new. In China, it’s been around since the 7th century. Considering it’s an age-old practice, there’s got to be something to it.

Rooted in Buddhism, zen meditation basically helps you think about not thinking. In a way, it’s the purest form of meditation. In reality, gardening, running, yoga, and other activities are meditative but not in the same way. With zen meditation, it’s all about clearing the mind.

Let me explain this one a bit further. Who knows? Maybe by the end of this article, you’ll become convinced that zen meditation is the exact type of practice you need as part of your regular health and wellness routine (I started meditating, and it’s been life-changing!).

Is this something that could benefit you? How do you even start? What should you know?

We post daily guided meditations that help soothe your soul, calm your mind, and guide your day with intention.

What is Zen Meditation?

Typically, during a zen meditation, you’ll sit in the lotus position. You may also choose to keep it simple and cross your legs. Unlike other forms of meditation, you don’t necessarily focus on one particular object. While some zen meditation experts might claim that you focus on the breath, others say you don’t (yes, we know that this can be slightly confusing, but choose what works for you and your body).

During your meditation, your eyes aren’t open, nor are they closed. Your eyelids are simply sitting almost closed without any effort.

This meditation is all about your awareness, which is why you won’t focus on any set object during it. In a way, you’re monitoring yourself and your thoughts. Your sole goal is to clear the mind. To do this, you have to continually self-monitor perception, thoughts, and emotions.

Eventually, the goal is to prevent your mind from wandering through various thoughts. This type of meditation can even help you tap your unconscious mind, which can be incredibly powerful. You gain insight into yourself, and you become more self-aware.

It’s the next level of feeling, “woke.” And as silly as that sounds, you’ll get this statement once you start doing it.

The Benefits of Zen Meditation

Okay, so why should you try it? What are the exact benefits you can expect?

Research shows that meditation helps improve psychological disorders, improves blood pressure, and may help reduce pain. It may help treat and reduce irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and much more.

In addition, studies have found meditation to help reduce stress significantly. Considering society is stressed out way more than ever before, meditation certainly has its place in today’s modern world!

It’s important to note that the research done on meditation hasn’t been particular about what type of meditation is being studied. This means that some of these benefits are conclusions drawn from studies that aren’t necessarily focused on zen meditation. However, it’s frequently assumed that different types of meditation would have similar benefits.

Different types of meditation have also been found to impact the brain in different ways. So, again, zen meditation may differ in some of these aspects. Generally speaking. However, it makes sense that most forms of meditation would reap similar advantages, as described above.

On the other hand, research that does focus on just zen meditation shows that it improves focus and attention and helps a person limit distractions, proving to be more and more difficult in today’s society.

Learn more about developing a daily meditation habit with: How to Develop a Habit of Daily Meditation

How to Do Zen Meditation

There are various ways you can practice zen meditation, including guided zen meditation varieties, zen meditation music options, and more. There are various meditation apps available, including Insight Timer (one of my personal favorites) and the Waking Up app.

How can you get started right here and right now without any apps? Try the following meditations below. How do you feel after?

Observing the Breath

Yes, I know this is a controversial point. Is it zen meditation? Is it not? We’re going to go with believing that it is. So, let’s try it out. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Sit crossed-legged or in the lotus position.
  • Gently close your eyes but not fully (remember, your eyes aren’t open or closed!).
  • Bring your attention and awareness to the breath.
  • Inhale, then exhale. Do so slowly and controlled.
  • Try focusing on taking full inhales, which fill up the belly as well as the chest.
  • Continue to do so for a timed duration. We recommend starting with 2 minutes and slowly building from there.

All in all, this is a great way to start meditating in any form and to clear your mind.

Quiet Awareness

This meditation is about sitting and just letting your mind be. We rarely do this in our digital world, so let’s take a moment and give it a try. Here’s how to do it:

  • Again, begin cross-legged or in the lotus position.
  • Gently almost close your eyes.
  • Now, this is the hard part. You simply sit, and “be.”
  • Allow your thoughts to come and go but don’t become transfixed or attached by any one thought or belief.
  • The goal is to have no anchors or contents. It’s just “being.”

Quit Letting Your Thoughts Control You, & Control Them Instead

Meditation is a sure-fire way to help you get there. Begin practicing it daily. This is the best way to make changes in your life with it.

If zen meditation isn’t exactly your thing, there are so many different types of meditation that it’s worth finding one that works for you. The benefits speak for themselves.

Related article: The 8 Best Guided Meditation Apps You Have to Download

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

"Believing in yourself is really half the battle," says Krista. Anything is possible and you really can achieve anything you set your mind to, is her motto. Physiotherapist, Piano player, skydiver, yogi, adventure traveler and energetic force of positivity, Krista is herself a (delightful) force to be reckoned with! As... Read More

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