This technique comes from a book on meditation that I just recently
purchased, but in the book it is
not called "Great Waves." I was inspired to give it this title because of an old zen story that is very
closely related to this technique. You can read the story below, after the meditation exercise.
Here is the meditation exercise:
Sit or lie down comfortably. Pick something you like. People often
choose something from nature,
such as a tree, flower, or favorite animal. Close your eyes. Vividly imagine the object that you have
chosen. Picture it clearly, but do even more: actually experience being the object. For example, if you
have chosen a tree, imagine how it feels to be a tree, the wind in your branches, the sunlight on your
leaves. Let your body move as a tree moves on a windy day. Let yourself flow with the experience
and enjoy it. When you feel finished, open your eyes and stretch.
Here is the story:
In the early days of the Meiji era there
lived a well-known wrestler called O-nami, Great Waves. O-nami was
immensely strong and knew the art of wrestling. In his private bouts he defeated even his teacher, but in public
he was so bashful that his own pupils threw him.
O-nami felt he should go to a zen master for help.
Hakuju, a wandering teacher, was stopping in a little temple
nearby, so O-nami went to see him and told him of his trouble.
"Great Waves is your name," the teacher advised, "so
stay in this temple tonight, Imagine that you are those
billows. You are no longer a wrestler who is afraid. You are those huge waves sweeping everything before them,
swallowing in all their path. Do this and you will be the greatest wrestler in the land."
The teacher retired. O-nami sat in meditation
trying to imagine himself as waves. He thought of many different
things. Then gradually he turned more and more to the feeling of the waves. As the night advanced the waves
became larger and larger. They swept away the flowers in their vases. Even the Buddha in the shrine was
inundated. Before dawn the temple was nothing but the ebb and flow of an immense sea.
In the morning the teacher found O-nami meditating,
a faint smile on his face. He patted the wrestler's shoulder.
"Now nothing can disturb you," he said. "You are those waves. You will sweep everything before you."
The same day O-nami entered the wrestling contests
and won. After that, no one in Japan was able to defeat him.
This type of meditation is great for beginners. The excerpt from the
book, however, fails to mention that you
should keep your mind free from all thought, keeping it clear as possible, aside from the visualization and imaginary
sounds, feelings, etc. Just don't think in words. And try other things besides trees or ocean waves. Meditate on
being a bird in the sky, or a fish in a river - a panther, or even a mountain. Experience living the life of a tornado
or hurricane. The possibilities are endless. But always remember to empty your mind of all thoughts. If you are
a cloud, looking down on the earth from above, and you see a house, don't think, "That is a house", or "I see a house."
Don't think "I am a cloud." Don't even think "I." If you must put the experience into words, just simply say "this is this."
If you are a fish in a river, and you notice that the water is cold, notice it without actually thinking, "this water is cold".
Just feel it. Become aware of things without using words. This is called silent thinking. It can be very difficult at first,
but over time and practice, it will become much easier. This meditation is somewhat similar to Samhadhi, which is the collectedness of mind on a single object through gradual calming of mental activity.Also, if it is too hard to keep
strong visualization with your mind's eye, try meditating outside while watching the thing you are meditating on, such
as a flower or tree. Keep in mind, however, that this is not true Zen, and is nothing close to the practice of zazen.
This meditation would more accurately be described as "being a tree with a brain who knows how to think silently."
to Meditation Techniques
Return to Zen Buddhism @ Neurotopia