“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” – Buddha
Can steam showers be Zen? To understand the question, we first need to review what Zen is and how it can be incorporated into a steam shower.
What is Zen?
“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” - Zen Proverb
Zen is a school of thought within Mahayana Buddhism. Mahayana is a branch of Buddhism and is the most commonly followed. The other branch is known as Theravada. Mahayana is from India and involves the pursuit of enlightenment. Buddha’s (Siddhartha Gautama) teachings are followed by Buddhists.
The word “zen” originates from the Japanese pronunciation of a Chinese symbol. This symbol is “chan” and means meditation (“dhyana”). You may be familiar with Zen gardens, which are Japanese gardens that attempt to recreate the spirit of nature. Zen gardens are made up of rocks and sand, which is raked to look like water.
Meditation is an important component of Zen, and Zen gardens are used for meditation. Zen monks help others, work hard and wear robes. They lead simple lives and are not materialistic. Zen is about enlightenment, oneness with the world and being present in the current moment.
What is a steam shower?
“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
A steam shower is a shower enclosure with a steam generator. The steam generator produces steam by electrically heating water. The steam is then pumped into the shower and enjoyed by the user. Most steam shower units also come with folding, built-in seating or removable stools for relaxing while bathing in steam.
Steam showers have been used by different cultures around the world and throughout the centuries for relaxation, health benefits and more. Japanese hot springs are an excellent example of natural steam baths. The Romans and Greeks had public bath houses used for bathing in steam in a social setting; these are similar to the purpose of today’s Japanese bath houses.
Steam improves our health by allowing us to relax. It also has many positive effects on the human body. Steam deeply cleanses the skin and removes toxins through sweat. Sweating also creates an artificial fever in the body, which boosts the immune system and helps us fight diseases, infections and illnesses. Bathing in steam is perhaps most popular for the relaxing and soothing effect it has on sore muscles.
How are steam showers Zen?
“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” – Baba Ram Dass
Today, people can take the time they spend in the steam shower and aim to spend this time in a mindful state. An important aspect of Zen is mindfulness and meditation. The next time you take a steam shower, try to meditate while sitting in the steam. Empty your mind of thoughts, worries and emotions; try to focus on your oneness with the universe. Do not worry about what you cannot change. Let the body relax so the mind can be free. Make this a daily routine or a weekly routine.