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Home/Blog/Zen-Mindfulness Meditation and Laughter-Yoga Meditation

The April Issue of “The President” featured an article entitled “Introduction to Zen-Meditation to Control Mind”, highlighting the increase in Japanese business people practicing meditation as a result of the spread of meditation among American business people. It expressed it in the following way:

?Leading American magazines and newspapers, such as TIME, New York Times and Washington Post have begun introducing the practice of meditation to business people in the US.

?Blue-chip corporations, such as Google, Intel, Facebook, McKinsey and  Goldman Sachs have now adopted meditation.

· The number of research papers on meditation, only 50 in 2003, has soared to 1,234 in 2015.

Google, which had first adopted mindfulness meditation in the US, has, since 2007, implemented a capacity-building program called "Search Inside Yourself (SlY)" which incorporates mindfulness meditation. More and more Japanese business people affected by the current US trend have started mindfulness meditation, and scientific studies of meditation have been started on Japanese business people. Dr. Yoshiki Ishikawa conducted a study of about 1,200 Japanese business people, and clarified the relationship between meditation and work performance.

As a result, it was found that business people practicing meditation feel more satisfied with their work performance and work engagement compared to people who do not practice meditation, and that the frequency of meditation has a greater impact than the amount of and quality of sleeps on their work performance and work engagement.

In mindfulness meditation, you “straighten your posture”, “control your breathing” and "control your attention”. While these practices originated from Zen meditation, mindfulness meditation was developed as "mindfulness stress-reduction" by Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center after removing the religious aspects from Zen meditation.

It has been widely used to treat patients suffering from chronic pains and stresses. Google has developed the mindfulness-meditation technique in order to solve the management challenge to improve employees’ productivity and creativity using the mindfulness stress-reduction method.

1.    Zen-Mindfulness Meditation

According to Mr. Zenryu Kawakami, the Zen Buddhist who recently wrote a book “Zen Class Which World-Wide Top-Level Executives Attend” in co-operation with Dr. Yoshiki Ishikawa mentioned above. It highlights four techniques of mindfulness mediation as explained below.

1) Concentration-meditation

Concentration meditation, which is the basis of meditation, directs your attention to your breathing, the target of monotonous and mild stimulation such as the sound of raindrops and some part of your body. First of all, you straighten your posture and repeat slow exhaling and inhaling, and then your attention gradually gets distracted. You allow the attention to be distracted, and then return your mind to your breathing. Such is repeated.

2) Observation-meditation

After you direct your mind to your breathing you restart concentration meditation, it is time to observe those familiar with your consciousness and thinking. However, it will be difficult for a beginner to observe consciousness. They are advised to do self-narrating. In this way, you think about things that happened yesterday, such as in your office, as if someone else is reading aloud. If you repeat this, you will be able to practice observation meditation.

 3) Body scanning

Body scanning is moving your attention to each part of your body in turn. This is not only a kind of concentration meditation but also similar to observation meditation. This meditation is the same as yoga nidra in laughter-yoga meditation.

4) Compassion-meditation

After entering concentration meditation, you imagine your family, or a person you think important, and imagine them expressing their thanks. You see the person smiling. This is repeated.
Next, think of your colleagues, or classmates you neither like nor hate.

Thirdly, think of a person you never liked. At the start, it will be very difficult to do this meditation. But, with practice, you will be able to do this – though only gradually.

Practicing meditation, you will feel happier. Positive thinking will be fixed in your brain. Once your compassion for others is stronger, you will be able to encourage subordinates who make mistakes. And you will also be less damaged mentally by their mistakes.

Mr. Kawakami says that he is teaching compassion meditation to about 5,000 top-level executives coming to his Zen class every year from all over the world, and that forward-thinking executives have realized after the world-wide financial crisis due to Lehman’s shock fall that management without compassion will end in deadlock.

2.  Relationship Between Laughter-yoga Meditation and Zen-Mindfulness Meditation

In laughter-yoga meditation that I learned from Dr. Madan Kataria, you practice laughter meditation before performing the above mindfulness meditation. It is followed by AEIOU meditation, silence meditation, Soham meditation and yoga nidra. These correspond to concentration meditation, observation meditation, body scanning and compassion meditation in mindfulness meditation. I also learned compassion meditation from Dr. Madan Kataria, but I am not doing it in my 50-minute morning practice, which I have been doing since September 2015.

In my experience this compassion is also cultivated by laughter-yoga meditation. Since I started laughter yoga meditation, I am no longer angry with people who treated me badly at work, and I realize that I was probably responsible for the bad situations. Ii has also helped me to solve my other problem in which I got angry with people who don’t do things the way I thought best.  That is why I now feel compassion for others.

Laughter-yoga meditation is far easier to do than Zen-mindfulness meditation because it begins with laughter meditation as explained above.

Osho (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh), the great Indian spiritual teacher, has written in his book “Meditation: The First and Last Freedom”: “When you really laugh, for those few moments you are in a deep meditative state. Thinking stops. It is impossible to laugh and think together. They are diametrically opposite, either you can laugh or you can think. If you really laugh, thinking stops.” When you start laughter meditation, you will be able to enter concentration meditation very easily. Then, I am sure you can follow any meditation such as observation meditation, body scanning and compassion meditation.

3.  A Detailed Study of Laughter-Yoga Meditation and Mindfulness Meditation

A detailed study of the various forms of meditation would show that they have much in common, especially laughter-yoga meditation and mindfulness meditation. Such a study would be of great benefit.

Therefore, I would like to propose that we make a scientific study of the benefits of each laughing technique shown in “Enjoy Laughter - Experiment On How To Laugh For Laughter Yoga Meditation”, and then the benefits of Zen-mindfulness mediation, traditional Zen meditation and laughter-yoga meditation.  These should include AEIOU meditation, silence meditation, Soham meditation and yoga nidra, as well as other methods of age-old yoga meditation developed in India. As a result, laughter yoga meditation could be developed as being most suitable for business people.

In this connection, I would like to add my fervent hope that Dr. Madan Kataria will write a book about laughter-yoga meditation.