February 07, 2012
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Dear fellow sitters: it has almost been a week since we kicked off our commit-to-sit daily meditation goal for the month of February. How is everyone doing? I began this month-long venture with the goal of sitting down on my purple zafu every morning. This has happened only once, and I find myself asking why. It isn't that the idea of sitting is incredibly daunting, or that I just can't make time to sit—it's the notion of forcing a specific time period and location into my schedule that causes a panic. The entire week I've spent practicing in my commutes to work, and they have been incredibly rewarding. Still, I raise a question regarding the sitting itself. Does the location matter?
Maybe we can ask the Meditation Doctor about this. Brad Warner has been giving great advice to those folks asking questions, and I'm sure he would have something insightful to say regarding the importance of location when meditating.
To extend this thought of location and strict regiment a little further, I refer to Jason Siff's article "The Problem with Meditation Instructions" after reading today's Daily Dharma. He provides an interesting take on the instructional aspect of meditation, and describes a common cause for meditation impasses: "adopting rules that prohibit certain experiences." Here is his advice for dealing with impasses:
"Although we are not often taught this, the most skillful way through an impasse in meditation is to become aware of it and of what holds it together and keeps it running. To do this, you need to keep doing the meditation instructions that have gotten you to this point, but instead of following them “harder,” try approaching them in a softer, gentler manner. Do them loosely, and don’t do them all of the time."
Perhaps I should loosen my idea of needing a specific place, and focus more on the breathing aspect? Anyways, the Tricycle Community can hear more of Jason Siff's important insights in this Tricycle Talk!
Another tool to help with this month-long goal is our free meditation e-book for sustained and supporting members. 25 articles full of instruction and insight to help guide you through the month. Be sure to download this!
And finally, let's have a clip from a former retreat with Martine Batchelor to help rejuvenate our commitment to sit for another week! Here Martine discusses the concentration aspect of meditation (experiential inquiry being the other). Enjoy, and keep on sitting, wherever you are.