Saturday, November 17, 2018

Sitting with myself

There have been expressions of interest in meditating.  That's good. In my opinion, if you haven't delved into a practice of meditation, you aren't really educated, regardless of what else you know or how many degrees you have.

The basic steps are simple: sit comfortably and be still for a period. Focus your attention on a spot in front of you or on gentle breathing in and out.  Almost invariably, your mind, built to think, ponder and alert you, will suggest one topic after another for you to think about. Once you realize you are thinking, stop and go back to your anchor.  

It can help and be fun to watch a focal spot intently, to see if you can catch it moving.  It can be fun to ask yourself what your next thought will be.

Every time, you catch yourself thinking about a topic, any idea or subject, you have reached the golden moment.  The moment you reject the thinking subject and return your attention to your focus, your anchor, is the golden moment, the move that trains your mind to be aware of where you are putting your attention.  Such awareness is mindfulness, and having that awareness empowers you to notice what you are doing with your mind.

Your whole being - breath, posture, limbs, nerves, memories, hopes, goals, fears - all of you contributes to who you are, what you feel, and what you think.  If you set a timer for one minute and quietly enjoy sitting with yourself, you may come to enjoy the time, look forward to a session and decide to lengthen your sitting.  

Reading and maybe re-reading good writing about meditation can assist in deepening your appreciation of meditation and of your inner self.  Jack Kornfield and Chade-Meng Tan have both been helpful and educational for me. The book "Redesigning Mindfulness" by Amit Sood of the Mayo Clinic is good and so are the books by Sylvia Boorstein, especially "Don't Just Do Something - Sit There!".  My most recent discovery is Dr. Jay Michaelson. He has several books but I have only just started my first one of his and it is terrific. It is "Evolving Dharma". His writing is super! Here is a page of quotes from the early pages:

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