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The Benefits of Zen Gardens


Come play in the sand!

Have you already observed children playing on a square of sand? They're completely drawn, playfully focused on the shifting movements of the sand. They may spend hours shaping it into the most inimaginable forms. They look so mindful then! 

Well, the good news is, this also works for grown-ups! Just think about how you feel at the beach (Of course, the waves, the sunlight, and hm hmm...a couple of cold ones often help). At least, a compact version of this wellness is still accessible in our home with a Zen garden. 


What is a Zen Garden?

'Zen' is a Japanese school of thought deriving from Mahayana Buddhism which favours practice of meditation and intuition in general instead of a specific religious ritual.

A Zen garden, also known as a Japanese rock garden comes from an ancient ritual of gathering sand, rocks, grass as well as other naturally soothing elements into an isolated oasis of peace and mindfulness. 

Water is represented by furrows drawn in the sand whereas the rocks make for mountains, inmutable and peacefully at rest. Today, we find authentic Japanese gardens mainly in buddhist monasteries with their minimalist beauty boasting centuries long of life.

Since the external world is full of distractions, a minimalist, almost desolate garden tends to bring peace to the mind. Buddhist monks have meditated in that kind of environment since, well...since they exist. 

In fact, many of these stone gardens are based on mathematical principles dating the 14th century. The Zen temple Ryoan-ji in Kyoto boasts of 14 stones, so located that all of them are all visible regardless the angle from where they are seen. This illusion is called 'medial axis transformation'

Source: www.voyage.fr


What benefits can you get from a Zen garden? 

Comb through the sand with a rake, and you'll already start to feel less tense. Do it slowly and methodically, and the overall soothing continues. Rearrange the stones to your whim, pile them into small walls. Draw furrows around the stones, you'll surely become more focused. Just like that, play again and again in your garden and feel the overall benefits on your well-being. 

Relieveing Stress

Many people have witnessed feeling a connection between their garden and their internal peace. Shifting the stones and randomly drawing ridges around them soothes the mind by effortlessly bringing our attention into focus and keeping our mind in the moment. it's a door to mindfulness.

There is no right or wrong way to arrange your zen garden. Your way is just perfect and all you have to do is reap the benefits and peace of mind. The models above are available at Latitudes. Just click on the images.

An adjuvant to meditation

The benefits of meditation are no longer a secret. But anybody who has tried it knows how easy one's thoughts can stray. 

Some choose to meditate over Buddha quotes, others to focus on their breathing, on a flame or any other focus point. Your own zen garden may be a source of of calm and inspiration. 

Develop a sense of beauty

Zen gardens are based on the concepts of beauty that may be applied to our lives. The basic concept is the Kanso, or simplicity. 

There is also the concept of Fukinsei, roughly asymmetry and irregularity. Because there is also beauty in what is not perfect at first sight. 

A third concept is Yugen, which has several meanings, and when relating to zen gardens, means a subtle grace, a hidden beauty or a mysterious depth. 

When playing in your Zen garden, you will develop these concepts and a keen perception of your environment and what in it pleases you the most. 

Enhance your Creativity

Your Zen garden may allow you to see your surroundings under different perspectives, stimulating creativity. The soothing effects of a Zen garden also help decluttering  our thoughts and freeing our creativity from our own mental noise. 


Joël Thibaud's Dry Gardens

Latitudes is proud to present Joël Thibaud, a talented French artist, whose works are unusual and mesmerizing.

Joël Thibaud is a versatile and creative globe-trotter: it was in Madagascar that I began to work with soil, coal, and again, ashes, to eventually produce a series of  paintings which I called «Dry Gardens», in reference to the ancient Japanese gardens:

So, want to come and play in the sand? 

FromJapan Blog




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