|Look at them. They are well seated, relaxed...there. Does my heart good.|
Meditation gives you a chance to get off your train of thought, for a brief second. To think that one's train of thought never, ever stops makes me nervous. How can one question one's self? Where is the enjoyment in never-ending judgements?
So be it. Meditation is for those who need a cooler place to hang, for those who don't mind empty space, in their apartments, in their lives, in their minds, for those who want Danish Modern but can't afford it.
Meditation is for you, and for me. It's for this world, torn up by Fukushima, or something else. It's now.
I'm going to give you a lesson in meditation, what it is, and what it is not.
Meditation is effortless. All you have to do is maintain the posture; that's all there is to it. And if your mind starts acting up, you can follow your breath. Never fails.
To begin. Sit on a cushion, from 2-4 inches high or thereabouts, on a carpeted floor, or the grass; somewhere comfortable, quiet. Sit with your legs folded under you, left leg first. Or, sit in a chair if need be. Even in a chair, you should lightly cross your legs at about the ankles, left leg under, and let them fall back toward the chair so your calves are resting at about a 45 degree angle, whatever feels right; your sitz bones under you should flatten out and not be on end -this is important for a good sitting experience, even when not meditating. Forget yoga postures for now; it's not necessary. Incidentally, I'm teaching you meditation, not religion.
When you're sitting comfortably, lean a bit side to side so you can feel if your spine is straight up in the center. Arch your back forward then let go; better a slight arch than a slump forward. Take a deep breath, slowly, and raise yourself up to your full height. Exhale and relax, slowly. Nod your head side to side, be sure it's straight up the middle. Tuck your chin in and release gently - you should be looking straight ahead. If you catch yourself with your head tilted back, as is common, bring it back again; always looking straight ahead. It may take some training for some people, it did for me.
Now you are ready to meditate. What to do? Nothing. Just sit. You can think, if you want. You can pray, if you like, you can contemplate whatever, it doesn't matter. You are just waiting for your mind to get tired, like a cow wandering a field, finally relaxing, and lying down. Then comes quiet. The time you are waiting can be peaceful if you are enjoying your thoughts. But if not, you can do this: each time you breath in, think: "Breathing in..." Each time you breath out, think: "Breathing out..." Make a habit of this. Once you make it, it's hard to break. I even find myself doing it at the Post Office.
So just sit. No effort whatsoever. The possible problem you may face is squirminess, the desire to jump out of one's skin, the itchy feeling. I get it sometimes; I persevere. You just have to put up with it. It passes.
So you've sat for 20 minutes, or 40 minutes, or 5 minutes; doesn't matter. Now you're ready to get up. It's important at this time to ground yourself, because your energy has been moving upward all this time, and you have to come back down. The best (only?) way is to come back into your own heart center, the root of all feeling. Imagine a small hole in the center of your chest, about a quarter-inch wide, and breath in and out of that space for a minute, feel the air, moving through; feel a feeling there, of warmth and fieryness, something. Just feel. Now reorient yourself to the world and take a minute to say to yourself: I am back in the world and I am ready to face the world. I am grounded, I am here and my heart is open. Then get up, slowly.
|prayers for Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims, Katmandu, Nepal|
That's it. You've just meditated. Good for you.
* * *
Question: What do I do with my hands?
Answer: They should rest in your lap, palms up, right hand nestled in left. Or turn them over, palms down,
in a natural way; hands and arms should always be relaxed, supported, natural.
Q: When I close my eyes and start to meditate, I feel like I'm flying away; I can't stand it!
A: You're becoming aware of just how stirred up and engaged your mind and emotions are. You are living
like this everyday but you don't notice it; now you become aware. Good. The solution: meditate with
your eyes open for now, every so often close them for a minute and take your mental-emotional "pulse;"
just to see how far you have to go.
Q: I don't have time for meditation!
A: It can be tough to find time. But even a few minutes of absolute non-doing is essential to breaking the
train of thought. Do it, a few times each day.
Q: Every time I meditate the phone rings! Or, I have to go to the bathroom.
A: Keep your cell phone, pen and notebook next to you when you sit, and visit the WC before you start.
Q: You said earlier, I will show what meditation is not. What is it, not?
A: Meditation is not walking on the beach; reading books (especially books about meditation); making
art;cooking; or a million other things that don't involve sitting in meditation posture, silently, for a length of
time. Don't kid yourself. After 40 years I find myself sometimes thinking, Gee, I'm in a meditation
space, and I'm just riding the bus staring out the window-or some such. All fine and well, but if I don't do
proper sitting every day, I'm useless.
Address any additional questions to me here in the comments, I'll do my best to answer them. No personal problems, please -I'm not a wise man. We're going to get through this Fukushima thing one way or another; I think this is one of the best resources we have.
* * *
Mediation strengthens us for doing the important tasks in life, such as: doing away with nuclear power. Take
action on one of the following items:
Email the President and tell him to intervene personally in this crisis; it's a matter of national security
Email the Secretary of State and tell her the same http://contact-us.state.gov/app/ask
Send a message to your President or Prime Minister or Monarch wherever you are, asking them to
intervene directly, and swiftly, to avoid such a disaster.
If you are in Japan, go to the streets. Stay in the streets until you prevail. For the rest of us, I see no other options. If you have a better idea, tell me -I want to do it. Peace