Why Do Monks Meditate Under Waterfalls?

Why Do Monks Meditate Under Waterfalls?

We can learn a lot from monks and their meditation habits. But have you ever asked yourself why some monks meditate under waterfalls? In this article, you’ll learn the reason why. There’s a Japanese meditation with the name of Takigyo where monks and people meditate under a cold waterfall with the purpose of cleansing their soul, as well as overcoming their limits. 

On a deeper thought, meditation in general can be used to overcome limits and self-discovery. But doing so under a waterfall takes that a step further. Especially considering that Takigyo meditation is done under cold water. 

The average person would cringe at the idea of being under cold water, it’s not easy, more so when you meditate as well. 

Some consider meditation hard to get into, even if it doesn’t have to be. It’s hard to keep your mind on anything else than the fact that it’s cold, but if you’ve ever wanted to take your meditation a step further, and enhance the experience, waterfall meditation may be for you. 

Who Is Waterfall Meditation For?

Based on an observation that starting meditation on itself is already a milestone, waterfall meditation may be more adequate for those that want to feel something deeper, a deeper spiritual connection and development. Individuals that want to put themselves through some discomfort to achieve personal growth. It’s intended to strengthen the mind and the meditation is often done for 20 minutes. 

Meditation in of itself isn’t hard, staying consistent though, can be, hence why staying consistent is more important than the amount of time you meditate, at least, at the beginning. 

Making progress slow, and once it’s become a habit, waterfall meditation is sort of a progress. That’s not to say that for the meditation experience to be valid that it has to be done under a waterfall, I personally see it more as going the extra mile. Not everyone has access to a waterfall and that’s okay. 

Now, given that waterfall meditation may be more adequate for someone acquainted with meditation, should a beginner do waterfall meditation? Waterfall meditation can feel more intense than a regular meditation, so in that sense, it can leave a more positive experience and memory on the beginner, inspiring them further to pursue the practice in general. The contrast is the beginner that’s not so determined to meditate and just wants to “try” it and ends up finding the cold water uncomfortable, and therefore, the entire practice uncomfortable. 

But no matter where you are on your meditation journey, waterfall meditation can be an amazing experience, even if you find some discomfort with it, given its designed nature to strengthen yourself and overcome limits. 

A mindset shift to one that sees discomfort as a stepping stone for progress on a spiritual level is the optimal candidate for waterfall meditation, regardless of if they’re a beginner or have meditated for years. It can even be considered as a more real, better way to meditate, more so considering you’re closer to nature.

Being Closer To Nature With Meditation

There’s something about being close to nature, especially while meditating. If you’ve felt good with regular meditation, that same good feeling is only likely to be quantified more. 

This isn’t limited to just waterfall meditation where you have to endure the cold water, but even meditating while sitting comfortably on the grass is enough to magnify any feeling of peace you’ve already been feeling with meditation to begin with. 

There’s the bugs getting in your face, the people you hear, all adding additional obstacles to the meditation practice, but testing you in the sense of how long you can keep your focus. Meditation is often seen as a practice that’s done in complete silence, but meditation can be done anytime and anywhere. 

Sitting through any challenges in the way makes you a better meditator, in the sense that it improves your focus on the practice, be it breathing, visualizing your surroundings or something else that keeps you within the borders of the present moment. 

If you’ve been meditating in a quiet space for a while, away from nature, consider doing it in nature. While meditation in nature can be harder, it can also be easier than meditating in a quiet environment. 

When it’s quiet, your mind is freer to wander anywhere, shifting your attention away from the practice, whereas if you’re meditating in nature, you have your surroundings to focus on. Be it birds, the wind, or anything near you at the time, as long as you’re present with it. 

What You’ll Feel After Finishing a Meditation

In case you were meditating under a waterfall, you’re likely to experience some sort of peace and cleanse after finishing the meditation, as well as a “level up” on yourself, especially with the cold water in the way that was making it hard at the beginning. 

You realize that despite the difficulty, your body is thanking you for it, and you feel fresh and new, it’s not uncommon that you won’t want it to end while you’re in the process of it. You reach a certain natural trance state where you’re at peace and your energy is revamped, almost like taking a fresh shower, but for the soul. 

This same effect can be achieved regardless of the meditation you’re doing, but it’s likely to be more intense, the closer to nature you are. At least, in most cases since everyone meditates differently. 

Personally, once I start meditating, my goal is to find a peace where I feel comfortable. At the beginning, meditation doesn’t feel like much because the mind is used to always think of something. Taking a break from that is when things start to happen and it’s often between the middle and the end where that sweet spot of peace is in. 

While I did say that being consistent at the beginning was more important than how long you meditated, you’ll want to extend or reduce that time till you find the balance of comfort and being immersed in the experience. Ten to twenty minutes is often the standard to notice anything, but five minutes is better than nothing, even if in such a case, changes would barely be noticeable for some.

Meditating too long (longer than twenty to thirty minutes) while you’re starting out may hinder you from building upon the habit, and meditating for too little may not be enough for you to notice any change. But as long as you end up feeling some sense of achievement or fulfillment when you finish a meditation, it’s a good indicator that you’re on the right path. 

From then on, extending the time you meditate and being willing to add some discomfort gradually can pay off. Not discomfort to the point where you’re dissuaded from meditating in the first place, but enough discomfort to have an achievement of growth. 

Staying On Track With Waterfall Meditation

If you’re a beginner, and still want to go ahead and try waterfall meditation for the first time, it does help to do it with someone or a group of people. Meditation can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. 

Doing waterfall meditation with others can help you stay on track with achieving more mental strength since you may be motivated to grow with others. There can be a sense of accountability when you’re doing it with others, or if you’re instructed through a guided meditation.