Simple Pleasures in
Meditation and Life
a meditation retreat, the visiting lama was invited to meditate with
the group. Of course he accepted, and in doing so, he said “Why
wouldn’t I? What could be more pleasant than sitting in the
peaceful state of alert relaxation?” It was a surprising response
to some of the participants who hadn’t quite reached the point of
finding pleasure in meditation. They knew that meditation is something
that is clearly good for you and should be done. To them it was kind of
hard and sometimes physically uncomfortable. Sitting for hours in
retreat felt like a formidable endeavor, and worry crept in around the
edges of the mind as they wondered if they were up to it. But here was
this man who was able to be completely at peace in the experience and
was able to enjoy it for what it was.
meditation requires a certain amount of self-discipline. And it may
involve moving through some unpleasantness before releasing whatever
process brought that to you. But once one gets beyond the worry and
self-judgment, it can be quite pleasant, to say the least. Joyful, even
ecstatic states may occur. Teachers may warn students not to get
attached to those states. But how about we observe our own resistance
to the pleasure of just sitting with an open mind while relaxed and
Do you notice any thoughts
that impede your meditation? Can you let them go? Can you just notice
the pleasure of the experience?
is a simple mindfulness practice to orient you toward the pleasure of a
moment. Direct your attention to your breath. After you exhale, delay
inhaling for a few seconds until you start to feel the urge to inhale.
When you do inhale, notice the pleasure that comes from breathing in
and satisfying that urge. It may be subtle, but bring the pleasure into
focus. Continue to notice the pleasure of the in-breath for a few more
shift your attention to the out-breath. As you exhale, you
automatically relax your diaphragm, your ribcage compresses and the air
flows out of your lungs. There is really no effort involved. It is all
about letting go. That relaxation can be an experience of pleasure.
Spend a few breaths attentive to that enjoyable feeling of relaxing
with each out breath.
you may notice that the in-breath has it’s pleasure and the
out-breath has it’s different pleasure. What was automatic and a
necessity, can be a source of enjoyment.
you go about your day, be open to opportunities to experience a simple
pleasure. Activities that we do often become automatic and we may lose
awareness that they are pleasant. Eating, grooming the body, moving
from place to place, performing simple tasks may contain an element of
pleasure that we can lose track of, unless we are mindful of them.
May you have a pleasant day.
first experienced the mindfulness of “Oxygen Pleasure” and
“Relaxation Pleasure” with the help of a student of Shinzen Young.
We also found a longer PDF version of this meditation at
Meditation Center website.
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