Is there a type of meditation which involves actively working or doing some task? Beyond just doing it mindfully, a type of meditation that requires you to be actively involved in some activity, and is not considered secondary to sitting? Working meditation.

2 Answers 2


Any work can become meditation if it’s done wholeheartedly. In Zen, we call this kanshin. It loosely translates to “a mind without remainder”. In other words, there’s nothing left over in your mind because all of your mental resources are committed to what you are doing. This is unquestionably a powerful form of meditation, but it will always be secondary to sitting meditation. The fact of the matter is that you simply cannot reach the depth of concentration off the cushion as you can when you are on it. The mind is the body and the body is the mind. Even the insignificant act of moving a toe is like a bomb going off in a mind that is thoroughly concentrated. Working quickly dissipates these states.

Look at working mediation as a break from sitting. Look at it as an opportunity to integrate what you learn there with the world at large. But just know that sitting will always have primacy.


Buddhist meditation actually has its primary focus upon watching the mind.

Therefore, in Buddhism, practicing meditation when working is simply watching the mind to ensure the mind is free from greed, hatred, delusion & other unwholesome inappropriate states of mind while working.

When I lived for some years (as layman) in a forest monastery in Thailand, we did lots of days of hard physical work in the tropical hot sun. The goal of this was to work with a mind empty of self. Just doing; just working; no worker; no doer.

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