Collecting Your Thoughts The Japanese Way Through Zen Meditation

While our lives may be our own, we’re constantly supported by many others around us— it’s established upon many intricate relationships with different people in our lives. But sometimes, dealing with relationships can be stressful. Many of us are affected by stress from work as well.

What do you do to release stress and live an enjoyable life?

Introducing "zazen", a Japanese, Buddhist tradition of collecting one's thoughts. In zazen, one sits and keeps the same posture for few hours—it may seem like a simple activity, but it's a practice that's been carried on for many years to this day. In this age, we're bombarded with information from our smartphones, which causes us to lose a significant amount of opportunities to just simply concentrate on one thing. We've thus lost the ability to pay attention to one single thing at a time, while our self-awareness and self-control has also weakened. It can lead to relationship problems and constant stress at work.

Here are 5 merits of practicing zazen to increase your awareness— it'll make you want to try it yourself.

1) It's a stress reliever

Breathing is crucial to zazen. Breathing may be an unconscious activity, but by doing so in rhythm you become more mindful, stimulating both the body and the mind to relax. It’ll help you view your consciousness objectively from the outside, and eliminate anything that might hinder your concentration. People who are in constantly stressful work conditions may find it difficult to properly assess the situation when faced with even greater stress— practicing zazen will help people to face the situation at hand more calmly.

2) It’ll boost your memory

Zazen beginners should avoid being in noisy areas because it can be very distracting. But even in noiseless environments, it's difficult to keep a constant stream of thought. Zazen forces you to concentrate on breathing, but you might quickly realize how difficult it is to keep that constant stream. Zazen forces you to view your consciousness objectively while repeatedly "catching" and "letting go" of your consciousness; it forces you to get rid of all extraneous thoughts. This repeated action of only focusing on the important substances and eliminating the unnecessary factors is said to boost memory skills.

3) It helps with creativity

There are various ways of getting into the world of zazen. One way is to let go of your consciousness so that it can flow freely. Such skill comes useful when you're in need of new ideas— you’ll have the skills to let your imagination flow and take form to fit the criteria asked of you at the moment.

4) It helps to ease anxiety

When your brain realizes abnormalities within your body, it tries to find out the reasons behind them. When the reason involves pain, it brings about nervous emotions to try to cope and alleviate the pain. Zazen can weaken this link between pain and anxiety— and because it helps you to assess the situation more calmly, it will help you to determine the true source of pain. This also helps in eliminating unnecessary anxiety for the future and the unpredictable.

5) It’ll boost your concentration

Whether it is doing a simple task for a long period of time at work, or just simply repeating one action, it's difficult for anyone to concentrate for a long period of time. People that have practiced zazen can more calmly assess the "reality" of the situation at hand. Zazen can help you bring your feet back to reality even when your thoughts and feelings may be tempted elsewhere.

Zazen might seem like a simple practice, but there are a lot of merits to it. Once you practice for a few hours, you'll realize just how difficult it is to keep the same posture for a very long time. Your feet might begin to feel numb— when that happens, try leaning your senses to that pain. Once you become more aware of that numbness, it might start to dissipate.

Try zazen today— and see for yourself the merits it can have on your mind and body!


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