Introduction course – lesson 6

Advantages and disadvantages of meditation

The introduction course zen meditation would not be complete without paying attention to the advantages and disadvantages of meditation. Now that we have a few weeks of experience, we can see for ourselves that they are indeed occurring.
Below is a somewhat more extensive version of the one we discussed in our lesson, inspired by Hans Wanningen’s book (in Dutch) Vaardig in geluk.

Disadvantages of meditation:
– It takes time. Meditating at home for twenty minutes every day requires an integration into your life. It means twenty minutes in which you cannot do anything else. It is an investment.
– It takes effort to incorporate it as a rhythm into your daily routine.
– The benefits of meditation are not always noticeable during or immediately after meditation. It is also about gaining confidence in the process itself and in something that will bring the necessary in the long term.

Benefits/advantages of meditation:
– Rest and relaxation: we learn to deal differently with the unrest in our lives so that we experience more peace with it
– Clear and optimistic: because we clean up “mess” in our mind, there is literally more room and you go through life lighter
– Good for the body: meditation brings physiological benefits such as lower blood pressure, quieter heartbeat, less muscle tension
– Living consciously/mindfully, enjoying mindfully: if you pay attention to what happens, you also enjoy it more
– Self-knowledge and self-direction: by sitting still, you give yourself the chance to see better who you are, what is going on, and what you have to do
– Goal-oriented and decisive: you can act quickly with insight
– Flexible, free mind: you see that thoughts are “only” thoughts and remain more open to other people’s thoughts and your own changes
– Better relationships: harmony in yourself promotes harmony around you
– Higher brain gymnastics: we discussed this in lesson 2
– More happiness: all of the above brings with it a more frequent experience of happiness

Finally, some tips about books that are worthwhile in this phase, as well as magazines and websites.

Steve Hagen, Buddhism plain and simple.
Charlotte Joko Beck, Living Everyday Zen.
Taizan Maezumi Roshi, Appreciate your life. Free download!
Mark Magill, Why is the Buddha smiling.

Lions Roar

SITES (Buddhist Union of the Netherlands)