Amidst the vicious circle of our busy lives, there has to be something that gives us a moment of peace. Zen, as the definition goes, is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition rather than ritual worship or study of scriptures. Taking the philosophy ahead, a personal Zen garden is a great way to find your inner peace. Be it your home or your workstation at the office, Zen gardens are adaptable to sizes and thus makes a great companion for meditating too.
“The concept of Zen gardens originated in Japan. It is a way of life and is associated with stress reduction. It is supposed to evoke feelings of tranquility, calmness and peace. It has mental as well as psychological health benefits,” says Manita Bajaj, CEO, Sattva Life.
Zen gardens use rocks and gravel or sand to recreate the essence of nature. The swirling patterns give a complete look to a Zen garden. These lines are important as they have a calming effect on the mind. In older times, monks used to re-rake the patterns of the sand in reference to their mind. The act of raking can help to order peace to the wandering mind.
How to create one:
A basic Zen garden doesn’t require much. All you need is a creative mind, sand, polished stones, a wooden tray or any empty container, essential oil (which is optional) and a wooden rake (you can also use a fork instead). Your Zen aims to serve as an aid for meditation and reveals the true meaning of life. Manita Baja suggests how you can create one for your home as well as your office desktop.
Zen gardens for home:
“Some Zen gardens take acres while the others are simply desktop gardens. For a smaller space all one needs is a mold to contain sand. Join it together and make a form. Add wooden rocks to them and your Zen garden is ready. For bigger spaces, you can decorate a garden with beautiful rocks and mossy logs.”
Zen garden for office desktops:
“You can create your own little place of peace and place it right on your office desk. While dealing with a stressed mind during work hours, one can take out time to re-rake the pattern on the Zen garden since it can help in changing the mind pattern and making it peaceful and calm naturally.”
What do the elements symbolize?
Firstly, maintaining a Zen garden takes your concentration away from the regular stress to the elements of nature. This activity is distressing in itself. By focusing on the space rather than the rocks, one can begin to understand the Buddhist ideal of emptiness and appreciate life’s beauty. The empty space filled by sand symbolize our lives and the stones symbolize emotional obstacles, anger, desire and ignorance.