My goal is to sit 1000 hours of meditation in 1 year. Accounting for holidays and days when my schedule won't permit, I'm working to a schedule of 3 hours per day. The 3 hours per day will be broken down into 7 sessions of 25 minutes each - 4 sessions in the morning before work, and 3 sessions in the evening. It's an ambitious target, and may require some adjustments (e.g. fewer sessions during work-days and making up for it at the weekend). This blog will be my way of tracking progress in terms of hours logged and noting thoughts and observations about zazen itself. My belief is that meditation is one of the most important and useful things one can do for oneself. I'll expand on that idea later.
This morning I woke up at 7am and did 2 sessions of 25 minutes. It's a good start, and I'll make up the extra 2 sessions at lunch time today.
Meditation has a wide range of physical and mental health benefits. My interest in it as a religious/spiritual activity due to an intense fear of dying (assuming the possibility of the permanent extinction of consciousness), and a belief that the practice of zazen can lead to a direct experience ('enlightenment'/satori) which would overcome that fear of death. There is an element of faith in all of that, although Buddhist literature is full of inspirational descriptions of enlightenment experiences (starting with that of the Buddha's), providing a basis for that faith.
I believe that meditation is the most important activity we can undertake. The following quotes are my touchstones for that belief:
"To study the Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe."
Those who try zazen even once Wipe away beginning-less crimes. Where are all the dark paths then? The Pure Land itself is near."