Sitting Practice Instructions (5-10 minutes)
Sitting practice involves three components: Posture, Focus on the Breath, and Labeling Thoughts. The purpose of sitting practice is to slowly cultivate a gentle and observing mind, without judging or evaluating.
- Sit with your body in a relaxed and upright position. Feel "grounded" and stable as you sit.
- If you are sitting on a cushion, cross your legs at the ankles. If you are sitting on a chair, sit to the front of the chair with your feet relaxed, touching the floor. Relax your arms and place your palms (face down) loosely on your thighs, just above the knees.
- Your back is straight yet relaxed.
- Your head is resting on top of your spine.
- Your chin is tilted slightly downwards.
- Your eyes are open and your gaze is soft and relaxed, about 4 to 6 feet in front of you.
- Feel relaxed and grounded as you sit in this posture. Be there. This posture invites wakefulness and a sense of dignity and self-respect.
Focus on Breath
- The breath is an object of focus and an anchor for you in meditation.
- Breathe naturally, in and out.
- Follow your breath naturally, placing your conscious awareness solely on breathing. How do you know you are breathing? You simply feel it.
- Relax with your breath and feel your body breathing with gentle attentiveness. Notice the different qualities of your breath.
- As you pay attention to your breath, it is natural that thoughts arise in your mind as you breathe -we always think, and think, and think. In fact, it's the mind's job to think.
- Whatever thought arises in your mind, gently invite that thought in, label that thought "thinking," let go of that thought gently, and return your attention to your breath.
- When you notice that you have drifted off, gently label that drifting off as "thinking" and return your attention to your breath.
- Each time you label thoughts "thinking" and return to the breath, you are experiencing a moment of mindful awareness, a moment of “nowness.”
- Each time you bring your attention back to the breath after you've wandered off, you are developing your ability to concentrate and are giving yourself a "fresh start." This means each moment is a brand new moment.
- Don't struggle. Be gentle and easy with yourself. Relax and let go.