Basic meditation instructions

We can be aware, whatever we are doing, but many people like to spend some time each day devoted to sitting meditation. In order to sit for any length of time, we must have a stable, comfortable posture. If you like to do it sitting cross-legged on the floor, here are a few tips to follow

Note: Never force your body to adopt a position that is uncomfortable. If you are unable to sit cross-legged, use an upright chair and sit with feet flat on the floor, and the body erect; skip the first three points of the instructions.

  • Use a cushion to raise your hips.
  • Adopt a posture where both your knees are on the floor, making a ’tripod’ with your two knees and your seat forming the three corners. This provides stability.
  • It is not necessary to sit in the full-lotus posture. The half-lotus, or quarter lotus are fine. The important thing is comfort and stability, so that the mind can forget about the body for a while.
  • Keep the upper body erect, with a slight inward curve of the lower back. Breathing using the abdomen should be easy and relaxed.
  • The hands can rest loosely folded together in the lap, or can rest on the thighs.
  • The head is erect, mouth gently closed with the tip of the tongue resting gently on the roof of the mouth in a comfortable position. Breathing is through the nose.
  • The eyes can be half-closed or open with a soft gaze on the floor, at a wall, or into the distance. Eyes open is preferred; although it is sometimes difficult for beginners, it is soon got used to. If meditators close their eyes, they are likely to drift off mentally, or even fall asleep.
  • Now just let breathing happen naturally, using the abdomen, not the chest.
  • As an introduction to meditation, simply let go of thoughts and be aware of the breath cycle. If you get caught up in the thought process, including mental commentary on the breathing process, don’t worry about it, but just gently return awareness to the breathing. Any sensations that arise, such as sounds, smells, itches, etc., should just be allowed to arise and pass away without grasping or comment.
  • Set an alarm for the amount of time you choose to sit, so you don’t have to think about time. Don’t be tempted to finish sooner than you intended.
  • Remember that we don’t meditate to get anything or any result, we do it to allow our natural awareness to be revealed.

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