In this time of change, “a time of two worlds”, nothing can be more important than meditation.
Even if you feel rested, there is so much anxiety and fear in the air you can’t help but expect some transference. In this atmosphere, even a night of sleep will not provide the total rest you are looking for. I know that you may have tried sitting up, but have not been comfortable, and have given in to lying down, next comes the pillow, after that the bolster under the knees and then SLEEP. It is possible to find rest in a sitting position and a deeper. Children, as in this photograph, take some time to come to sitting meditation – lying down is just fine when they enjoy the time as much as these children do. Notice a couple of mums with the children (about mid frame). What a lovely thing, sitting or lying down, meditating together.
Some folk can sit in full lotus, some in half lotus and some in the Japanese way, the knees bent, kneeling, sitting on the legs. In this position with a cushion under the feet it is it is possible to sit for a long time… I began doing meditations in this position and find it easier to keep my back straight when kneeling. The most important thing in lotus or cobbler, is to bring the hips higher than the knees by sitting on a stool or cushion, the knees on the floor. In this way, stability is achieved. In the end, it where the mind is that counts, not where your bottom us, however, undisciplined sitting will not get you far. (By the way. This kind of meditation, this depth cannot be achieved gardening, swimming, or walking. It is different).
Keep your back straight. I find this difficult, made easier by making it part of the meditation. Feeling the spine erect, and following the breath. As for everything else, let it go. Place your left hand palm side up in your right hand. Let all the muscles in the arms, legs, fingers, palms – everything let go. Imagine that you are a water plant gently swaying with the current, the river bed solid beneath you. Calm.
You can start with three minutes. A good time span if you are starting with husband and children. For yourself, work towards 15 minutes. It is possible to find peace and calm in the position of sitting. Some people need to visualise and the image of the gentle swaying of the reeds in the stream is a calming one.
Some students look on meditation as WORK and want the three minutes to go as quickly as possible so they can have a rest at the end. Perhaps they are not comfortable in sitting, don’t have the patience to sit and breathe. To expand on the visual of the river, as you settle into the meditation you could imagine a pebble or a crystal tossed into a river. See it gently sinking down, down, down into the water, finally reaching the bottom to the place of perfect rest you are looking for.
The river bed is the beginning, not the goal. When you have reached the riverbed this is where you BEGIN to find your own rest and are no longer troubled or influenced by the current of the river around you, moving, enjoying, knowing where you are, when you are. Find joy in the moment.
Joy and peace are available to you in this time of sitting, if you can’t find it here, it is unlikely you will experience it anywhere. Enlightenment is available to you.
The Zen Master Thuong Chieu wrote: “If the practitioner knows his own mind clearly he will obtain results with little effort. But if he does not know his own mind, all of his effort will be wasted”.
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NAMASTE – JAHNE