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Zen Meditation to Slow Down

by Annette
(Los Angeles California)

My work-time zen meditation is a time to "reboot my mind".

I have never gotten deeply into Eastern religions, but they have always appealed to me nonetheless. I often say that I would be a Taoist, but I'm not mature enough for it yet, so I settle for Zen. That doesn't mean I don't respect Eastern religion, but I feel that it's almost impossible for someone with a Western upbringing to dive into too much Eastern religion too fast.

At the same time, I don't like to clutter my activities up with a lot of details. Anyway, meditation and chanting has helped me by giving my mind a refreshing break. I work a creative job, and subconsciously I'm always working my mind in the background trying to come up with great ideas - even while I sleep! I don't realize it, but I wear myself out.

There is a saying I've found somewhere which says "the mind is a monkey", and I can really identify with that. Meditation with chanting is a way to "reboot" my mind. It forces me to stop running so fast and be tranquil for a moment.

I let other people attach a lot of mysticism to it - I just see it as sitting still, breathing deeply, and clearing my thoughts. For mantras, I like "om mane padme hum" because it has a nice rhythm and is complex enough to keep my mind focused, but even that part I don't see as being important.

I make up my own mantra on the spot if I like. Examples are: "I can learn anything." (when I'm studying hard), "I'll survive this, too." (when a tragedy has struck), "Nothing is stronger than me." (when I'm frustrated by obstacles), "I love myself and others will follow." (if I'm feeling unloved), "My calm is my power." (when in danger of losing my temper).

Call it a mantra, or call it a positive-thinking affirmation. I say do whatever works. After ten to fifteen minutes meditation, I find myself energized and focused. Lately I've been realizing that I have used substances like coffee for an energy boost, when really meditation does the job equally well!

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