February 04, 2013

Meditation Month, Day 4: The Perfect Sit

This is my third year participating in the 28-day commit to sit, and each year I’m reminded that the conditions for integrating a daily practice into my life are never “perfect.” There’s always some challenge, some distraction, that gets in the way of what I had hoped would be four weeks chock-full of blissful moments of peace and tranquility.

This year, I spent the first few days of the 28-day challenge hosting a large group of friends at a rental house in upstate New York. Finding time (not to mention space!) to meditate wasn’t easy at first—my attention was pulled in a million directions as I tried to coordinate travel plans, shopping, cooking, and sleeping arrangements—but by the third day, I had developed a morning sitting routine that I truly looked forward to. My 20-minute sit allowed me to take some space from the chaos surrounding me to focus on my breath, and I found that I was far calmer and more centered after my sits.  

This morning, before packing up the rental house and heading home, I decided to follow the “Hearing Meditation” that Sharon offers in the first chapter of Real Happiness. I sat early in the day, and listened to the rumblings of a full house coming to life—beds creaking, soft footsteps, water running, and the coffee maker sputtering—but instead of naming the sounds or creating a story around them, I was able to let them wash over me, as Sharon suggested: “without interference, without judgment—just arising and subsiding, arising and subsiding.” The noises that might have otherwise interrupted my meditation became part of it, and I realized that though those “perfect” sitting conditions I’ve hoped for will never appear, the imperfections can be integrated into my meditations as I learn to deepen my concentration and center myself on the cushion.

—Rachel Hiles, Managing Editor

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jardine057's picture

Hearing mediation is my preferred form of mediation. In a house with three kids there is always noise, a lot of noise. Hearing mediation is also great when traveling. I realized that the "perfect" sitting conditions never materialize for me and if I wait for them to materialize I will be waiting instead of sitting. Thank you for sharing the quote.

Dominic Gomez's picture

With our kids I practice mediation.

conroy.r's picture

Hearing meditation is wonderful because we are not responsible for any of the sounds we hear, and there is nothing we can do to control them. The legendary Irish hero Fionn Mac Cumhaill was asked what he considered to be the finest music. He replied "The music of what happens". It's a lovely idea.