Zen Meditation vs Mindfulness (Explanation, Pros, Cons + Differences of Each)

Zen meditation is a form of Buddhist meditation that has been practiced for centuries. Zen meditation aims to still the mind and reach enlightenment, but it can be difficult for beginners because you are encouraged to let go of thoughts as they arise.

On the other hand, mindfulness is more secular in nature and does not have an end goal in sight.

With mindfulness, you are simply being mindful of your thoughts while focusing on what’s happening currently rather than letting go or following them.

Here we will explore both practices, so you can decide which one might work best for you!

Pros of Zen Meditation:

  • Zen meditation has been practiced for centuries and is known to be an effective form of meditation.
  • Zen meditators are encouraged not to cling onto thoughts as they arise, which can make it easier for beginners who may struggle with letting go of their current thought first before moving on to another one.
  • Zen mediation can be very relaxing and calming, especially when you can reach a zen state.
  • Zen meditation doesn’t require any equipment or unique clothing (like some other forms of meditation), making it more accessible for beginners who may not know where to start.
  • Zen meditation is very flexible, and you are encouraged to find your zen style, which makes it more personalised for each zen meditator.
  • Zenga sessions allow you to be part of a group that practise together – this could provide some extra motivation if you’re struggling with zen meditation on your own.
  • Zenga is a zen meditation for beginners, which you can practise from the comfort of your own home with this Zenga DVD.
  • Zen mediation is good for relieving stress and managing anxiety.

Cons of Zen Meditation:

  • Zen meditation may not feel as effective compared to mindfulness because it’s harder to sessions are usually free, which is an added bonus if you’re looking for a cheap way to get into zen meditation.
  • Zen meditation can be pretty challenging for beginners, as you are encouraged to let go of thoughts and focus on the present moment. This process may not be suitable for everyone new to zen mediation.
  • Zen meditation doesn’t have any set guidelines or rules, which can make it difficult to know how to meditate correctly if you’re new to zen.
  • Zen meditation can be time-consuming, especially if you want to reach enlightenment. It’s not a quick fix and takes years of practice to make significant progress.

Mindfulness has become more prevalent in recent years as people have realized mindfulness’s benefits.

Pros of Mindfulness:

  • Mindfulness is a secular practice that does not have an end goal in sight, making it more flexible and accessible for people of all backgrounds.
  • With mindfulness, you are simply mindful of your thoughts while focusing on what’s happening currently rather than letting go or following them. This can be easier for some people who may struggle with zen meditation.
  • Mindfulness makes you feel more in control and less stressed, which can be very beneficial for people dealing with anxiety or depression who may find zen challenging to master.
  • Mindfulness has been proven to work better than anti-depressants (and doesn’t have any of the side effects that anti-depressants have).
  • Mindfulness is known to be good for relieving stress and managing anxiety.

Cons of Mindfulness:

  • Mindfulness can feel tedious at times, especially if you are doing it on your own. Sometimes zen meditation groups or Zenga sessions can help by providing some extra motivation.
  • Mindfulness can be challenging to focus on if you’re struggling with a lot of negative thoughts or feelings, as it may be hard to stay in the present moment.
  • Mindfulness is not a quick fix and takes years of practice to achieve any sort of significant progress.

Conclusion

Both zen meditation and mindfulness have their own unique benefits, but it ultimately comes down to what works best for the individual.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed and calming form of mediation, zen may be better suited for you, while if you’re looking to manage stress or anxiety, mindfulness could be the better option.