To study the Way, is to study the self.
To study the self, is to forget the self.
To forget the self, is to be awakened by all things.
Zen, the Japanese word for meditation, is a virtual science of mind, in which the student uses the mind-body as a laboratory to engage in the experiment of spirituality. This science includes working with the mind, body and spirit for a complete experience of freedom and awakening. More than meditation, Zen is a process of uncovering unconscious habit patterns and ways that we see our life. The guidance of a skilled Zen teacher is an instrumental part of the path.
The core of Zen is based on longstanding methods such as zazen and koan practice. Zazen, a silent seated meditation, can be done in several positions other than full lotus cross-legged with both knees resting flat on the floor. Other positions include a half-lotus position where the left foot is placed onto the right thigh and the right leg is tucked under the left thigh, a kneeling position and a chair position with the back straight.
A koan is a paradoxical anecdote or riddle to be meditated upon. It is used to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment. In some schools of Zen, students sit with koans. Rather than thinking about them and trying to figure them out, they concentrate on the koan and exhaust discriminating thoughts. As a result, a deeper and more intuitive insight may arise. What is realized is not knowledge, nor is it a supernatural experience. It is direct insight into the nature of reality, which is normally perceived in a fragmented way.