“Total awareness in an upright posture,”or seated meditation, usually on a cushion on the floor. Unlike meditation in other spiritual traditions, zazen usually does not involve concentrating one’s mind on a subject, nor is the aim to blank out one’s mind completely. Rather, being aware of one’s breath is recommended, and most practitioners of zazen do this by counting breaths in one way or another. When the mind wanders, which often happens, one gently turns attention back to the breath. Zazen is usually broken into periods of 30 to 50 minutes. Determining the correct posture for zazen can be a challenge, but sitting in a chair is also permitted. One should seek out instruction from a knowledgeable practitioner or teacher for the correct posture, mental approach, and way to count the breath. Most Zen teachers maintain that zazen is essential to practicing Zen.