Sitting meditation is like returning home to give full attention to and care for our self. Sit upright, relax your body and return to your breathing. Bring your full attention to what is within and around you. Let your mind become spacious and your heart soft and kind.
Sitting meditation is very healing. We realize we can just be with whatever is within us – our pain, anger, and irritation, or our joy, love, and peace. We are with whatever is there without being carried away by it. Let it come, let it stay, then let it go. No need to push, to oppress, or to pretend your thoughts are not there.
We begin by following our breathing. Our breathing is a stable solid ground that we can take refuge in. Regardless of our internal weather- our thoughts, emotions and perceptions- our breathing is always with us like a faithful friend. Whenever we feel carried away, or sunken in a deep emotion, or scattered in worries and projects, we return to our breathing to collect and anchor our mind.
We feel the flow of air coming in and going out of our nose. We feel how light and natural, how calm and peaceful our breathing functions. At any time, while we are walking, gardening, or typing, we can return to this peaceful source of life.
We may like to recite:
“Breathing in I know that I am breathing in.
Breathing out I know that I am breathing out.”
We do not need to control our breath. Feel the breath as it actually is. It may be long or short, deep or shallow. With our awareness it will naturally become slower and deeper. Conscious breathing is the key to uniting body and mind and bringing the energy of mindfulness into each moment of our life.
Observe the thoughts and images of your mind with an accepting and loving eye. You are free to be still and calm despite the storms that might arise.
If our legs or feet fall asleep or begin to hurt during the sitting, we are free to adjust our position quietly. We can maintain our concentration by following our breathing and slowly, and attentively change our posture.
Introduction to sitting meditation
By Brother Phap Hai
23 August 2008