We all have to deal with stress from either work or school. You can’t close your eyes to make it go away but you can find peace so you can deal with it. One technique that can offer this is called Zen meditation.

Zen meditation is often referred to as the study of the self. It involves sitting in various postures so you are able to bring the mind and body to a peaceful and stable condition.  This happens as you focus on images and thoughts that just pop up as your heart rate slows down until you reach a reflective state of meditation.

One of the best seating positions to do this is called the Burmese position. There is also the full lotus, half lotus, kneeling or “seiza” posture and sitting on a chair.

The key here is to keep your back straight so that your deep breathing will go naturally. This allows more oxygen to enter that will help cleanse and energize the body.

The buttocks must be thrust out and the chin tucked in. The hands should be placed close to the body with the left hand resting on top of the right with palms open and up. The joint of the middle fingers are resting on top of the other with the thumbs slightly touching.

Your eyes should be half closed and your head should be positioned to a 45 degree angle towards the body. Given that it is not easy to keep the eyes like this the whole time, you can try closing them first and then opening them later on. Should you get sleepy, just open them wide.

The challenging part is staying in a stationary position for 15 to 20 minutes. After you have developed a breathing pattern, you slowly relax the muscles from your face all the way down to your feet. As it slows down and oxygen enters, you should focus on positive thoughts and exhale those that are negative.

By concentrating, you are able to unite the body, mind and soul so that your mind is aware of only the present and no longer the past or the unforeseeable future.

Aside from the right posture, you should always wear loose clothing. It is not wise to practice this after a heavy meal because a full stomach usually creates discomfort which in itself is a distraction.

If you would like to learn Zen Meditation, you can read about it or better yet join a group. Once you get the hang of things, you can even buy a few accessories to make the experience a fruitful one like incense sticks, a bell or even a ringing bowl to mark the start and end of a session.

Short incense sticks burn for about 45 minutes while the longer ones are double the time. You can even use the kitchen timer since no one will be there to ring the bell to say time is up.

Zen meditation experts recommend that beginners should try for 10 minutes first until you get used to it before you decide to extend this for 20 or 30 minutes. Should your mind wander off, concentrate a little harder to focus once again on your breathing so your thoughts will settle down naturally. 

 

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The side effects of meditation are positive and countless. Studies have demonstrated that those who meditate on a regular basis have reduced illness, stress, and need for rest.

But one of the most compelling reasons to meditate is that the process of meditation itself is sublime. Meditation is not dependent upon the result, but the act of meditation itself is a blissful one, transporting one to a state of contentment and tranquil awareness during the training of meditation itself, not just at the end of training. Actually, because the means equals the end, the training has no beginning and never ends.

All of us in modern times experience a constant onslaught of stress. We are bombarded by uninvited energies in the form of such things as television, noise pollution, arguments, and angry or envious people. In order to counteract this enormously overwhelming force of negativity and distress, we need a superior power, gathered within ourselves; and meditation connects us to this internal reservoir of cleansing, enlightening energy.

In former times, nature surrounded people in their daily routines and rituals of existence. There were no artificial sound vibrations from telephones or machinery; there were no stresses and diseases resulting from urban industrial complexities. There was the sound of water, the hum of the wind, the beauty of the stars in the sky, and the scent of the earth. There were natural tempos in every aspect of life, as people planted seeds, nurtured them into foodstuffs, and as they observed the cycles of nature they felt a connection to them. Nowadays we can live our entire lifespan without ever contacting nature in a direct way. We live in artificially controlled climates, we gather food from fast food restaurants or from stores where it is packaged in a factory; we invite a total divorce of ourselves from our natural origins and our organic, original pace of life.

Meditation allows us an easy, convenient, portable method to enter into those lost natural rhythms and aesthetics, by closing out the world around us, letting go of our bodies, and clearing the mind of all the artificial stress it gathers knowingly or unknowingly during the course of lives.

Meditation costs nothing, it has no harmful side affects, and it won’t add calories or cholesterol to your body. Nor is it addictive in the sense of drugs and alcohol. But it does provide practitioners with an elevated sense of well-being, often compared to a natural “high” more powerful than those induced by drugs, and this component of meditation is one that can be fully embraced for positive, healthy benefits.

The human body is a complex creation, and in the brain the body naturally produces drugs that are hundreds of times more powerful than pharmaceutical narcotics. As one meditates, the body secretes mysterious hormones and chemicals that actually provide an incredible rush of energy and happiness, and this is only one of the amazing side effects of meditation practice.

Meditation is different things to different people. Some use it in place of, or in addition to, psychotherapy. Others find it most valuable as a tool to enhance sports or work performance, and to increase the memory and other mental functions. Some people rely upon it to help them deal with grief or the aftermath of trauma or tragedy, and to regain a contentment and appreciation for life’s beauties. And there are those who use meditation as a creative tool to inspire them in the arts. Meditation gives us stronger and more sustainable vigor, sexual energy, and calm, as it provides a restfulness that is comparable to deep, exceptionally restful sleep.
 
There are countless reasons to meditate, and one way to make the world a better and more peaceful and harmonious place, is for all of us to dedicate some time out of our stressful lives to pause and drink from the mental oasis of meditation practice.
 

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