Meditation (zazen)
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The Japanese word “zazen” is composed of two characters:
Za = sitting
Zen = meditation

This sitting posture is of prime importance as it is the core of Zen practice. There are a number of positions we can choose from when we do zazen. As the full lotus position is usually impossible for the majority of us, most people either cross their legs (fig 2,3 and 4) or adopt the seiza position (fig 1). If we find these positions uncomfortable we can just sit on a chair as long as we keep our back erect.

 

 

Here are a few basic rules that we can follow.

  1. The spine should be erect and the body still.
  2. Our position should be stable and comfortable.
  3. Rest your hands on your lap with the right hand under the left and the tips of the fingers touching lightly.
  4. Relax your shoulders.
  5. Keep your eyes half-closed, without focusing on anything in particular. Your glance should be directed towards the floor.
  6. Start counting your breaths mentally up to number ten and repeat. Breathe through the nose naturally.You can divide inhalations and exhalations in two parts like this: 1:Ooo (inhalation) 2:Nnne (exhalation).While you breathe, concentrate on the contraction of abdominal muscles.

 

Zazen (meditation) is returning to the “here and now”. This immobility of the body induces calmness of the mind. It may seem difficult but with time and practice this position becomes natural. What is important is that the adopted position should not cause us discomfort. We cannot go beyond our body. It is with it that we experience Reality. Once we remain silent and without tension a different state of mind emerges. We find ourselves open, present, separated from the contents of the thought, free from judgment and elaborate conceptualization. We don’t need to strive to do something .It is enough just to sit quietly without doing anything. There is no goal to be realized.