Zazen, or seated meditation, is the central practice in Zen.
- Read these zazen instructions and try it on your own
- Come to one of our weekly meetings; arrive 30 minutes early for a brief introduction to zazen
Starting a meditation practice is like starting any new, healthy habit: it can take some effort and patience. Participating in a workshop or group session can reinforce and support your effort. The most important thing to remember is that the very effort to put everything down and just be is transformative, so don’t be judgmental of your zazen. You are trying to be present with what is – and sometimes that it means being present with a busy mind, drowsiness, boredom or feeling strong emotions. Meditation isn’t always calm, peaceful and pleasant! (Although it certainly can be.)
When trying to establish a home sitting practice, regularity and actually doing it is more important than session length. Better to sit for 5 or 10 minutes than keep postponing zazen because you don’t feel like you have 30 minutes to spare! Try to sit just a little bit every day. You don’t even have to set up a formal meditation spot – just sit in a chair. Sitting for 20-30 minutes a day, once you have the habit established, can make a big difference in your life.
If you benefit from social support, consider getting the Insight Timer app for your smartphone or tablet. You can use it to time your meditation, and also create a profile on Insight Connect. Insight Connect allows you to see when other people are meditating with the app – people from all over the world, and there’s usual 100+ people meditating at any one time. You can also become friends with other people on Insight Connect (including other Bright Way Zen members, we have a group) so you can see when and how long your friends have meditated. This simple app has helped many Bright Way Zen members make daily meditation a habit!