on the cushion

  • Tricycle Community 5 comments

    Facing Fear Paid Member

    Lately I’ve been dealing with a lot of fear during my meditation practice. It seems to come from nowhere, and it either focuses on a specific attachment or it manifests as a more existential, nameless sort of thing. How can I deal with this? Fear is what happens when reality collides with our personal fiction. Our practice is based on expectations—expectations about who we are, why we are practicing, and what our practice should be. As our hope disintegrates, it may be replaced by fear. Our characteristics, personality, all of our beautiful plans and ideas are like snowflakes about to fall on the hot stone of our meditation practice. More »
  • Tricycle Community 11 comments

    The Refuge of Sitting Paid Member

    Developing a disciplined sitting practice is a matter of commitment and patience. For many practitioners, it is not easy, even for those who have been sitting for a while. Sitting every day must become a priority in our daily lives rather than just one more thing we have to do. This requires a great deal of dedication, because meditation is not supported by our culture at large. Watching television is rarely criticized as being selfish, whereas a common question that practitioners bring up is whether one “deserves” to sit, implying that it is selfish to do so. Here are a few tips: More »
  • Tricycle Community 13 comments

    Receiving the Breath: Meditation Q & A Paid Member

    When I try to bring awareness to my breath, I feel instead like I’m interfering with its natural flow. What should I do? This is not an unusual experience. Throughout our lives, we breathe without effort; then the moment we try to breathe consciously, our breathing suddenly feels blocked, shortened, or constricted. Our bodies know how to breathe without instruction, yet it can feel as if we are having to learn how to breathe all over again. More »
  • Tricycle Community 9 comments

    A Refuge Into Being Paid Member

    When meditating, is it necessary to focus on one specific object? This is not always necessary, but at times it can be very helpful. When you do meditate on a specific object, such as the breath, that object will help you to develop concentration, and concentration will enable you to cultivate a quiet and spacious mind. But you must be careful not to focus your attention too narrowly on the object, as that can constrain your practice. You should keep your primary focus on the object of meditation, but try to do so with a wide-open awareness. As you follow the breath, for instance, allow yourself to also be aware of what is happening in and around you. Be conscious of sounds, thoughts, sensations, feelings—but without fixating on, grasping, or rejecting any of these things. More »
  • Tricycle Community 13 comments

    Why Sit? Paid Member

    Sometimes sitting meditation seems useless when so much is going on around us. Is there another way to look at it? More »
  • Tricycle Community 0 comments

    Strong and Silent Paid Member

    I just signed up for my first weeklong meditation retreat. I have a history of back pain and am a little scared of all that sitting. Is there anything I can do to prepare? WHEN I ATTENDED my first meditation retreat, I had the exact same issue. Within two days of sitting, my lower back began to hurt. I tried to sit ramrod straight and stretch on every break, but no amount of adjustment seemed to ease what was progressing from an intermittent discomfort to a constant ache. At the meditation interview, I threw all hopes of profundity out the window and shared my back troubles with the sensei. He offered me a simple piece of advice: "Get to know this pain." More »