Friday, February 17, 2006

What I've been up to


Why is it something so simple is so freaking hard?

Sit. Breathe.

Even given that you need a special way of sitting or of breathing, it's still NOT THAT HARD.

So, why can't I do it?

I have a theory: I've been taught to think. Not thinking has gotten me in trouble, both as a child and as an adult. Now, I can't turn the fricking thing off. I can't just sit and breathe.

Or do I just think I can't? Do I think so much "I can't do this" that I can't?

Musings on a Friday afternoon.


+ Mar Iohannes, Ep.Gn. said...

Posture and the right environment make a huge difference. Sometimes it will feel like a chore, sometimes it will be great.

The very idea of the 'why can't I' is exactly what meditation helps to overcome.

The mind has a mind of it's own and and trying to force thoughts not to arise when counting the breath will only end in failure.

If thought arises, acknowledge it and return to the breath. The more you continue, the more focused it becomes but this takes time, and continued effort.

Likely you already have, if you are working on breathing, but look up Shamatha- which uses an object for focus to build calm and concentration. (Most use the breath as the object in question, via counting).

or conversely- if you've read the paper in the monographs on meditation, then you are already familiar with shamatha, it just doesn't call it that.


Joe Chip said...

Personally I don't worry too much about posture, et al. I got bogged down recently in worrying about not doing this or that right. Since then my roommate has drilled into my head, "The point of the exercise is just doing the exercise." Also, I think Aleister Crowley said, "Don't lust after results." Another way of saying this is, "Let go."

In my limited experience I've learned that if the problem with you have maintaining the posture is that you get impatient, just try a different posture. Like reclining in a chair or something. Even lying down, if you can do that without falling asleep. Basically, whatever works for you. Different strokes for different folks.

+ Mar Iohannes, Ep.Gn. said...

I agree, the point is the exercise itself, however, there are easy means to making posture accomplish itself specifically, sitting back straight in a chair, feet flat on floor or the use of a zafu/zabuton or seiza bench.

Both the zafu/zabuton or seiza bench automatically reduce pain involved in 'unfamiliar' posture and the amount of focus one has to spend on keeping posture.

coe said...

Bro' Scott-

I don't comment much, but I read your site often and wanted to chime in.

I've been going through this too. I've found that intent and ritual make a world of difference. I go to great lengths to get into the right mindset leading up to my sitting still time and I tend to do the same thing every single time.

Best of luck.