Zen Awareness Meditation Practice
Awareness meditation practices are used in a variety of settings for physical, mental and spiritual growth and healing. A basic awareness meditation practice consists of assuming a meditation posture (sitting on a chair or cushion) and learning to follow the breath and observe thoughts. As each person experiments with his or her practice, a teacher provides feedback and guidance. The sitting meditation is done alone each day or with a group. The skills are adaptable and gradually apply to all of the events of daily life. Mindfulness practices can be done while working, driving, eating and walking on the pier.
An awareness meditation practice, though rooted in the Buddhist tradition, is compatible with other religious traditions.
As each individual becomes more attuned to his or her thought processes, body sensations and interactions with other people and the environment, he or she may understand and express this life experience in Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist or other terms. The Japanese Zen teacher Koun Yamada observed that we all drink the same cup of tea, whether we are Buddhist or Christian. However, the Zen practitioner learns to fully experience drinking a cup of tea, and to become aware of what prevents us from appreciating these simple activities.
Awareness meditation methods can also be used by those who have no particular affiliation. Increased awareness of self and others, though seemingly simple, results in time–like water dripping on stone–in a profound transformation of the person.