Zazen is the practice of Zen meditation. I made a short and simple guide to it here. Zazen is an all-encompassing practice because it allows you to regulate your breathing and train your mind to be calm and balanced in all situations.
Meditating regularly soon becomes a process that carries into everyday life. The old saying goes, “When eating, eat. When sitting, sit.” Meditation incites a mindfulness that allows us to focus on each and every breath, all day long.
You already breathe all day long (duh) and so soon this unconscious skill of calm breath regulation carries into every activity you do. You start to meditate all day long without even realizing it. You do the dishes, mindful of scraping every bit of dirt steadily and deliberately. You pet your cat and can enjoy the tactile experience of doing so fully.
Meditation has taught me to recognize details and to be hyper-observant. Cleaning my room becomes a playful act. So does any other chore. Interactions all become intimate and full of curiosity. This change in mindset can be overwhelming at first. How do we reconcile finally seeing the world as it is, with all its intrigue?
The meditative mind teaches us not to judge. In not judging, everything becomes interesting. It goes without saying that this makes being bored a near impossibility. Boredom is simply out of the question for the disciplined meditator. Every activity becomes a reflection of the Zen mind rather than a mere activity.
Meditation allows us to rearrange the entire mental fabric of living. This makes perfect sense, since it’s been proven to change the brain chemistry of regular practitioners. The mind is able to recalibrate itself and focus on what really matters: present scenery and circumstances.
Instead of meditating to become better at your job, rid yourself of addiction, or solve some sort of problem in your life, meditate to meditate. The act of meditating every day will carry over into everything else you do. People find themselves magically quitting smoking, drinking less, fighting less and feeling less anxious after a few weeks of regular meditation. It’s not a miracle; it’s just you giving your mind some time to reflect.
I like to say that meditating is the mind’s way of looking in the mirror and cleaning itself up. Except the mind won’t do this on its own volition. Just sit in silence with your eyes closed. Focus on the breath. Give your mind a chance to correct itself. Watch your life slowly transform into something tranquil and endlessly interesting.