Sitting Meditation

"The art of meditation is simple but not always easy. It thrives on practice and a kind and spacious heart. If you do this simple practice of sitting with awareness every day, you will gradually grow in centeredness and understanding."
Jack Kornfield

What can you say about sitting meditation? It is just sitting. It is not doing. It is like turning on a light bulb. You screw in the light bulb, flip the switch and that’s it. Nothing more to do. In sitting meditation, you place the body in position, focus the mind upon the breath, and there is nothing more to do.

Inevitably, your mind will wander. When that happens, you just bring your attention back to the breath. You have chosen a quiet place where you won’t be bothered too much by distractions. You may feel your posture sag, and when it does, you return it to the chosen position, which is sitting upright upon a cushion or chair. Your spine is erect and your body is balanced. You sit like a mountain does, balanced, solid, exerting no great effort, relaxed.

Your mind is empty. You don’t empty your mind. You cease filling it up. You stop following the train of thought. Thoughts arise. That’s what thoughts do. You just don’t engage with them. You are not sitting in contemplation. You are just sitting. You are not doing anything. You are just being.

As you sit quietly upon your seat, you are relaxed, but awake. Your mind is alert, but not full. The quality of mind is bare attention. You are not self-conscious, you are merely conscious. You forget the self.
In your upright posture, your eyes may be half open and directed downward at a 45-degree angle. The chin is slightly tucked in, but the jaw is relaxed. The mouth is closed. The tongue is placed lightly just above the front teeth at the roof of the mouth. The hands may be placed palm down upon the knees or thighs. Beginning meditators should practice for 5 to 10 minutes. With consistent practice, sessions can extend to 20 to 30 minutes twice a day.

The benefits to regular meditation are many, including relaxation, clarity of mind, and improved concentration, but there are deeper reasons to practice. To sit in meditation is to be aware, to be awake, to be free and to just be.

Small Wheel

© 2008 Tom Barrett

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