How to make you meditation effective
6th January 2023
Mindfulness of Breathing
(Please note this is a transcript from a live recording which Suryacitta does each week whilst walking his blind dog Bankei. It is called Walking into Wisdom - Reflections of a Buddhist Dog Walker. It is recorded over WhatsApp and each member receives this recording. It is free, if you would like to join just click Walking to Wisdom)
Hello all, good morning, good afternoon or good evening, wherever you are.
I'm back at the house as it was just too windy to
record a message outdoors.
I want to say something about meditation and how to make your meditation effective.
Meditation is really all about feeling, we sit quietly and comfortably.
We can have your eyes open or closed, if we get sleepy with them closed we just open them for a few minutes.
Mindfulness of Thoughts
We take a couple of deep breaths and then drop our attention into the body.
Just feel the body sitting here, that's all we need to do, just feel all the sensations of the body here and now.
You can feel the breath as it comes and goes, you’re not thinking about the breath, you are not imagining or visualizing the breath, you’re just feeling it, that's all you need to do. The senses are open so there will be hearing, maybe noticing a taste or a smell, just let them be.
Initially it’s like there seems to be me and my body, me watching my breath. There is an observing of my body and breath. There seems to be some distance as it were between me and the object, which in this case is the body or breath. However, as we just sit and feel that apparent separation begins to soften and there is just the body, just the breath breathing. This can be a very satisfying experience, if there is an aim to meditation then this is it. Though to speak in terms of aims isn’t always helpful.
Why this is satisfying is because that little judging evaluating part of the mind, that voice is non existent. There is just what is happening. I can this just pure experiencing without the interference and interpretation of the chattering mind.
However, we don’t try to make this happen, it just happens when it happens. That apparent separation, that judging commenting voice will return, but over time is just falls away leaving a sense of peacefulness.
To assist in this I often point students to the natural letting go that is the end of the out breath. At the end of the out breath there is a softening, a relaxing, I ask them to just feel into that.
What I have explained is one side of meditation, the other side as it were is mindfulness of thinking to observe the thinking and to free yourself from its grip.
Silent Meditation Retreats
From this sense of presence of being in the body you watch your thoughts or rather you can see more clearly just what the mind keeps presenting you with. The mind is a story teller, it dreams us fantastic scenarios which can make us anxious or afraid or desiring some great experience. Or it can just chatter on about nothing in particular.
Now you will get carried away by these thoughts because that's an ingrained habit. We we are fascinated by our own personal dramas which we believe to be oh so important, but also we intuitive ely know they are mostly meaningless.
The mind just thinks and thinks, it’s just what it does, and we take what happens in the mind to be reality, and so off we getting involved in it again and again. We identify with it.
What we begin to do is to lessen the identifying with thinking and begin to identify it…there's a world of difference here. When you see yourself being lot in thinking you can just say to yourself ‘thinking’ and then come back to the body and the breath.
You have to do this over and again but at some point if we do this well we notice a change happening, we find ourselves naturally more present.
This is of course far easier to do on a dedicated silent meditation retreat, we can really get some freedom from over thinking and get a taste of pure experiencing. The colours are more vivid, we feel more alive and our usual sense of feeling like something is wrong just disappears.
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