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5 Benefits of Meditation

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With the growth of Japanese Buddhism from the eighth century onwards, meditative practices were brought to and further developed in Japan, and became very popular among the samurai. During the twelfth century, the samurai embraced Zen Buddhism and subsequently discovered the benefits of meditation, giving the samurai warrior the mental edge that his enemies found extremely challenging.

Here are 5 ways you can use meditation, as the samurai did, to benefit your daily life:

1. Slowing down: There is usually a fairly immediate sense of relaxation during the meditation session. We can learn to extend this relaxation to our lives by going “off the meditation cushion” you experienced.

2. Get to know yourself better: By practicing meditation, we get to know ourselves better through greater awareness of our minds, emotions, and bodies.

3. Feel calm: Most people notice they are generally less reactive to people and situations, in a positive sense. For example, something that would have set you off before is not quite so irritating after meditation.

4. Strengthen your mind: After mediation, your mind has a greater ability to focus or rest, which improves how we can work and relate to others. In the lives of the samurai, this mental strength was imperative in battle.

5. Experience something new: Even if you have meditated before, you may not have tried it in a museum setting! As Marion Buckley of the Shambhala Meditation Center says, “The echoes of the meditative and creative minds of the artists in the Asian art collection are easy to feel and respond to with our own calm and spacious minds.” See the art, channel the calming energies of the artists, and learn something new about art and yourself!

Click here to learn more about and register for the meditation series at the Museum.