Zen Meditation: Why it is Easy, Why I Set it Up in this Format, Questions and Answers Exercise

Monica Gaylor art Buddha Study #1 YCB Org Copy“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”

~~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Post written by Monica Gaylor.  Painting: Buddha Study in Cream by Monica Gaylor.

Meditation is Easy

Let Me Explain the Secret (Overview)

People are afraid of meditation because they think it is hard to harness the mind and not think.  I would submit to them that they are thinking about it wrong.  Work within your nature and find a way that works for you.  Remember, there is my way and there is your way, but there is no “the” way.  Disregard what you have heard.  Leave the hard, exalted type of meditation for those who aspire to Zen Monk / Monk-ette -dom.  For those of us who are just trying to calm our souls and continue our normal lives with more grace – studies show that the benefits of meditation can be attained even by a simple form of it and also by very short periods of practice.  Start slow and work up to your goal.

Meditation is suppose to relax you, not stress you out.  Let go of outcome.  Relax.  Smile.  Go with the flow.

Why I Set it Up in this Format

Perhaps my brain thinks too much, but I like it, it’s cute, and I am attached to it (sorry, zen humor) – so, I have to deal with it.  I have so many questions, thoughts, connections to make, and creative ideas to harness that I can come up with thousands of possibilities (answers) and many more questions that will probably never be answered.  It is nice to stop the thinking; perhaps that is why I was so addicted to TV…  And that is why I find it advantageous to do guided meditations.  One must work within their abilities or lack there of…

Why the Focus* (#5):  

I took Kung Fu for a short time and I liked how the instructor always gave us a meditation topic to ponder.  I found this worked much better for me than trying to keep an empty mind.  I read somewhere that in the days-of-old, meditation was not about emptying the mind, but deep contemplation about a topic.  I don’t know if that is true, but the article went on to talk about how it had evolved, and not for the better, into today’s meditation styles.  If my focus idea works for you – great – use it, if not, make your own or adjust as necessary.

Why the Guided (#6):  

I am most able to focus when my guided activities are of a physical nature.  For example:  I envision myself walking through nature or flying though space acrobatically.  Or I am having tea and a conversation with someone.  I have a “creative / idea” mind and world building is easy for me, so I push my mind in the direction that is natural.  Use your natural momentum – push rather than pull…  Constructing a mental scenario focuses the mind for me and having a preset assignment to think about or discuss further keeps the mind on track.  Again, if my guided suggestion works for you, use it, if not, adjust as necessary.

Flights of Fancy:  

I often stray from the meditation path.  Sometimes I let it go and just follow my subconscious and other times I gently nudge myself back into the exercise.  On difficult days I just give up, letting the mind wander, feeling that there is something my subconscious needs to accomplish…  Other days it’s easy to stay on topic…

“Not all those who wander are lost.” ~~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Meditation Exercise: Questions and Answers 

“I seek not to know the answers, but to understand the questions.” ~~ Kwai Chang Caine, Kung Fu

“The observer, when he seems to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.” ~~ Bertrand Russell

If you are “… under the impression that you understand something about Zen, you will have missed the point entirely.” ~~ Alan Watts

“I am not bound to please thee with my answer.” ~~ William Shakespeare

“No question is so difficult to answer as that to which the answer is obvious.” ~~ George Bernard Shaw


Meditation Assignment:

  1. Grab pillow.
  2. Sit or lay.
  3. Relax.
  4. Regulate breathing.
  5. Focus:  Today you will come up with your own.  Perhaps an above quote or something I mentioned about the art of meditating.  Or…
  6. Guided:  Make your own.

*And Two More Things Before You Go…

A word about focus topic.  

I don’t think all meditation has to be deadly serious.  Really, why?  Who said?  Most of my focus topics are what I am grappling with at any given moment.  But, being serious all the time is unnecessary and I don’t want to do it.  Nor will I.  It is not in my nature.  Be prepared for tongue-in-cheek topics.  It’s my party – I mean meditation – and I’ll be happy and funny if I want to.  🙂

In the spirit of Mr. Spock’s human side – Explore all possibilities!


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Live long and prosper.