The benefits are using desk Zen gardens in our meditation routines are very profound and essential to do away with stress and find tranquility. As you must be familiar with, stress is part of life and so everything we do in life can be stressful in one way or the other.
Be it work-related pressures or domestic worries, stress can pile up until you find yourself struggling to cope with your daily routine. So, finding ways to reduce or completely eliminate stress can be daunting, yet very important.
This article talks about some of the ways and material you may use to effectively ease anxiety, reduce stress, trigger creativity and above all improve your overall quality of life. We will discuss how to use a Desk Zen Garden to help you free your mind, find serenity and tranquility or help you “find your inner peace” from the hustle and bustle that come with what you do every day. Are you ready for the fun ride? Let’s dive in.
History and Origin of Traditional Zen Gardens
Zen gardens were first created by monks in Buddhist temples throughout Japan, during the Muromachi Period. The monks created these gardens purposefully to create quiet spaces for contemplating Buddhist riddles and for meditation. The gardens were designed to be an outlet for the monks to express their deepest thoughts and feelings. The gardens were also a place for the monks to find a sense of peace, which was difficult to find in the sometimes chaotic and busy temples.
Over time, these zen gardens evolved into the style of gardens seen today, which are designed to be aesthetically pleasing and to help people relax.
Today, zen gardens are similar to traditional zen gardens but are usually smaller in size and are decorated with large amounts of the main elements of Zen garden plants, rocks, and water.
What is a Desk Zen Garden kit?
Desk Zen Garden kits also referred to as mini Zen Garden kits are commercially manufactured mini Japanese garden kits. They contain all the accessories required to mimic the traditional Japanese gardens we discussed above.
Indeed, they are meant to recreate the calming essence of Japanese Zen Buddhism on a small scale. But, these ones as the name implies (desk Zen Garden) can be placed on the desks and tabletops in your home. And even on your workbench at work for frequent mindfulness practices.
Some of the accessories usually included in these kits are predominantly wooden trays (that hold all the contents of the assembled mini Zen garden) and white sand. In fact, white sand was the original inspiration for Japanese Zen gardens. It represents the emptiness, the true nature of all things, and allows your mind to let go of thoughts that often keep you from witnessing things as they are.
Other than the sand and tray, the other accessories differ from kit to kit and also from where you purchase your mini Zen Garden kit. Rocks, pagodas, mosses, buddhas, and wooden sand rakes of varying designs are the most common items in a Zen kit. Also, synthetic aesthetically beautiful trees almost always feature in the commercially available kits.
Why do you need one?
Indeed, these kits constitute great tools for meditation, reducing stress, easing anxiety, and boosting creativity to help you achieve a peaceful mind. We will explore these benefits in greater detail, so keep reading. Studies show that your stress and anxiety will reduce by as much as two-thirds when you take the time for even a brief period of Zen Meditation.
It is worth noting that the small or compact sizes of indoor Japanese desk gardens should not be underestimated. The very simple act of raking the sand and arranging the accessories on it will help you master your attention and empty your mind. Of course for better insightful and creative thinking towards solving problems or finding creative solutions to issues.
Continue reading to find out how all these are put together to actually create a feeling of tranquility and calmness.
Benefits of a Desk Zen Garden Kit
1. Traditional Zen Gardens on a small scale
If you live in an apartment or a studio like 37% of renters in the U.S, you don’t have enough space for a traditional Zen garden. This is where a desk zen garden comes in handy. So, it is the perfect alternative to finding serenity through zen meditation right in the comfort of your apartment or home.
One other important benefit of a desk garden over a traditional zen garden is that you can take it anywhere you go. As small and compact as it is, you can carry it in your carry-on bags on airplanes. You can also take them on vacations or camping to use when you need to calm your mind and refresh.
2. Practice mindfulness at any moment
Meditating can be a great way to free up your mind and refocus on the task at hand. To achieve this throughout your day, it is recommended to take a few moments out of your busy schedule for zen meditation and mindfulness.
You can practice mindfulness using a mini zen garden in a variety of ways. Firstly, carefully draw patterns on the sand and focus your attention on the soothing sound made when you rake the sand using the wooden rakes. Then, creatively add the Zen elements to make visually appealing or beautiful patterns to help you achieve a feeling of self-fulfillment
Also, doing intermittent breathing exercises during a zen meditation practice helps calm your mind quicker and improves your awareness of the present moment. By learning to live in the moment, you will eventually discover that thoughts no longer control your actions and you can easily let go of any unnecessary stress and mental anxiety.
3. Tool for Stress Relief, Ease Anxiety and Relaxation
In fact, one of the most important benefits of a desk zen garden is the ability to help calm a wandering mind. We live in a world where we constantly worry about what the future holds for us.
In fact, when we face uncertain futures, we get anxious and stress builds up. This necessitates mindfulness to relax and ease ourselves from anxious feelings. And without any doubt, a mini garden is a great tool to help achieve that.
Speaking of relaxation, with desk zen meditation you sit comfortably with your sand garden in front of you. Repeatedly raking the sand with the wooden sand rakes and again listening to the soothing sound(s) produced is a good practice. This enables your mind to slowly drifts off into tranquility which subsequently relieves the stress and anxiety.
4. Desk Zen gardens boost creativity
As a matter of fact, you can also use your desk zen garden to stimulate your creativity or to practice seeing things from many points of view.
Research has shown that meditation promotes “divergent thinking,” an important type of thinking where many new ideas are generated. Zen meditation can indeed help you filter out unnecessary thoughts during creative activities.
Now how can you actually trigger creativity using your small white sand garden in front of you? The answer is simple. If your goal is to make beautiful sand patterns on the sand, you can creatively think of different ways to draw circles, lines, waves, spirals, and so on. You may also make the ripple effect that depicts water waves of streams or ponds in traditional backyard sand gardens.
A good practice is to find a picture of your favorite Zen garden rich with natural elements like trees, flowers, rocks, water, lanterns, sand, mountains, and so on. Then creatively try to remake the scenes on your desk garden using the kit accessories. Rearranging the items on the sand further makes you think of many different ways to make your garden look beautiful to you. All these activities go a long way to stimulate a creative mind.
5. Stay Discipline
Did you know? A desk zen garden can act as a reminder to stay disciplined and focus on your work.
Having a beautiful desk zen garden by your desk at work can serve as a reminder that you need to concentrate on your work each time you look at it. This can help you ignore mental fatigue, and keeps you focused on your work and away from any distractions.
It can also remind you to take mental mindfulness breaks to reload and freshen up your mind. This makes a mini zen garden a great tool for enhancing self-discipline.
6. Beautiful Home Decor
Desktop zen gardens can help you develop a sense of aesthetics. Just like the typical traditional zen gardens (with colorful flowers, vegetation, sand, and rocks), the desktop versions are designed to mimic the beauty as well. The very colorful synthetic trees are the most noticeable on the sand trays. Also, the sand-raked patterns create streams, and valleys, mountains, ponds, further beautifying the garden.
So today, we discussed in-depth desk zen gardens, the history of Japanese gardens, and the benefits we can derive from using desktop Zen gardens in meditation. Hope this article helps you understand the reason behind Japanese gardens and the culture. And also get you excited about grabbing a desk Zen garden to help improve your overall mental health and well-being.