Meditation Instruction

Shamatha (Peaceful Abiding) Meditation Instructions


Meditation is an opportunity to rest in what we already are—basic goodness, natural peace and clarity. We can learn to develop friendship with our mind, skill in how to work with speed and difficulty, and a sense of humor. The journey begins by acknowledging the stress and agitation of the discursive, wild mind. The journey continues by slowly allowing that mind to relax within itself; we let go of struggling with ourselves. The way to become familiar with such relaxation is the simple, regular practice of sitting meditation. We train in being awake, placing the mind on the breath, in the present moment. Of course, this may prove difficult at times. Of course, we will
sometimes resist practice altogether. This is part of the path. When we find that we have
wandered, we can always come back. Right now is always the perfect moment.

 

Meditation Instructions:

Bring yourself into the present, into this room, onto the chair or cushion you are sitting on, feel yourself simply being present, just sitting here. (Pause for a few seconds)
Bring up the intention of meditating,—- that is why I am here, meditation is what I will be doing now. Take a breath and set your intention.

Posture:   First, take your meditation seat with an uplifted and relaxed posture.
1. The spine is upright, with a natural curve.
2. The hands are resting on the thighs.
3. The arms and shoulders are relaxed.
4. The chin is slightly tucked.
5. The eyelids are half-closed, with a soft gaze.
6. The face and jaw are natural and relaxed.
7. If you’re sitting on a cushion, the legs are loosely crossed. If you are sitting on a chair, keep both feet firmly on the floor.

Rest in the present by becoming aware of the natural “feeling” of your breath. Feel your body breathing.
As thoughts arise, gently and precisely, notice, and release them, not judging them, and not pushing them away, gently permitting them to leave. Return your attention to your breath.

The Logic of Using the Breath as the Object of Meditation:

• The mind is always involving itself with something (awareness)
• Usually we take “me” (habitual, discursive mind) as the object
• In meditation we rest mind in the present moment by feeling the breath
• We notice thoughts, let them go, and continually return to the breathing
• It does not matter if we consider thoughts to be “good” or “bad.”
• We switch allegiance from the bewildered mind to the stable, clear, and strong mind
• We learn to rest in peace. We become familiar with basic goodness.

 

Advice:


• Create a decent time and space for practice that will work in your life.
• Decide how long you are going to practice and stick to that period of time.
• Be realistic and honest, and know that there will be periods of time that are more or less busy in your life.
• Don’t lose heart. The key to a successful practice is consistency. The way to be consistent is to enjoy the practice.

Key Points:


Mindfulness:
1. Familiarity—We know what the breath is.
2. Remember—We remember the feeling of the breath, just like we remember our own
face. Remember the fullness of the breath, the simplicity of the present moment.
3. Non-distraction—Even though thoughts arise, we stay with the breathing in a gentle   and fluid way.

Awareness:
Here, awareness means, “presently knowing.” We know what is happening in our present
experience. We know when we wander, and we know when we are present. Awareness
simply notices and reminds us to apply mindfulness.

Contemplation Instructions:
Calm your mind by resting your attention on the breath, for a few moments.
When you feel ready, bring up the thought or intention of contentment. Contentment is a complete acceptance of who we are, right here, right now.
Think about the word contentment, bring ideas or images to mind of contentment that you have experienced.
As the meaning of the word and images begin to penetrate, let the word and images gently drop away. Breathe in, a complete acceptance of who you are, right here, right now. —- Breathe out, a contentment of things as they are right now. (Repeat underlined part above) Feel a complete acceptance and contentment in your breath and in your body. Let it penetrate, feel the meaning of just simply, being content,
in your entire mind and body.
If thoughts arise, permit them to leave, and return to the feeling of complete contentment.