Get Some of Your Most Common Questions Answered

What type of approach does Zen Life & Meditation Center follow in educating participants in the core curriculum classes (Foundations of Mindfulness and Zen Life Series)? Our approach to teaching the core curriculum classes is to first ground students in foundations teachings of mindfulness. Which teach this first level of classes in a very secular context drawing on neuroscience and psychology. Our second level in the core curriculum, called the Zen Life Series takes a deeper dive into what we consider the most important Zen teachings for living a meaningful and purposeful life.  

For those seeking a deeper, more traditional knowledge of Zen, advanced zen training is a way to study personally and closely with a full qualified Zen teacher. This training includes private instruction with Zen Master Robert Joshin Althouse or Sensei June Ryushin Tanoue

I don't know if I have the patience to sit in a class after work. How are they taught? The classes are taught in a friendly and informal manner. All classes include some practice of meditation so you will have an opportunity to slow down and experience the benefits of meditation in the class itself. 

I don't know if I can come every week for a class. Can I skip classes and come when I can? Yes. Though we recommend you take classes in the order they are given, if you miss one you can take the next one, and make up the missed class in the following quarter.

I am a strong follower of my faith. Will Zen interfere with my practice of faith? Not at all. In fact, if anything, Zen will deepen and clarify your own faith. A Zen-inspired life is possible for anyone regardless of your faith or beliefs. 

I'm concerned about your location in Oak Park. It seems far out from the city. How difficult is it to get there? Oak Park is actually centrally located in the larger metro Chicago area. Our Zen Center is located only 2 blocks away from a green line train station and is also easily accessible by car or bus. 

How will Zen-inspired living help me improve my relationships? Our core curriculum will teach you how to bring balance, strength, kindness and clarity into your relationships. Mindfulness have many positive qualities for improving relationships both a home and in the work place.

Can you explain the connection between Zen and the following health conditions – stress, anxiety, and overall wellness? How will it help me in these areas? A Zen-inspired life, rooted in mindfulness meditation will directly impact and lessen your levels of stress and anxiety. Mindfulness meditation helps strengthen areas of the brain that modify and regulate emotions, making you more resilient in the face of life's challenges, more spacious and less reactive. There is also increasing medical evidence of lowered blood pressure and strengthened immune systems as a result of mindfulness meditation. 

If I follow a Zen-inspired life, will I have to perform rituals, such as bowing, wearing sacred garments, or having a Buddha statue in my home? No. Living a Zen-inspired life has little to do with specific rituals or collecting more religious objects. Living a Zen-inspired life has to do with the quality of the life you are living now. If you already have a deep faith in a particular religion, living a Zen-inspired life would help deepen and enrich your existing faith. Whatever religious object you have in your home is your personal choice.

I currently practice yoga. Isn't it the same as Zen meditation? No, not really. While yoga is a wonderful practice, it is not really the same as Zen meditation. Zen meditation involves sitting still in a specific way so that one can cultivate mindfulness. This awareness is then used as a foundation for a deeper inquiry into the nature of one's life and becomes the basis for living a Zen-inspired life of openness, empathy and clarity. 

I'm concerned that Zen terms will be used that are uncertain to me. Will the curriculum be easy to understand? Participants find our classes refreshing because we don't use Zen or Buddhist language that is unclear or hard to understand. All of the curriculum is presented in a way that anyone can grasp using clear, easily understood language.