In walking, just walk, in sitting, just sit. Above all don’t wobble
The simple beauty of those words, just walk, just sit. Just saying them can bring a sense of peace, a relief almost. Several times a year I attend a sesshin, a day of intensive meditation and most importantly, a day of silence, no talking. I used to find the silence a bit awkward, now the relief of silence is priceless. I adore those days of just walking, just sitting, just nothing, just being. It’s just lovely.
If you wobble, don’t worry, don’t fret, take a deep breath, remember you’ve balanced before you can do it again
It is a fine line we walk in this practice of living (mindfully). To strive to be our very best yet at the same time grounding ourselves into this very moment, to reach out but not hold on, to be curious about life but not over think it. It can sometimes feel at odds with the world around us.
Although I try my best to walk this line with care and attention, I still sometimes feel myself being thrown off-balance at times. This is normal, it really is okay. It is simply life and a reminder that it is time to go back to basics again.
Peel back the layers again – meditation, back to basics
When we feel off-balance it is easy to use meditation as an escape, to withdraw from our life.
When we start to feel like this, it may help us to be reminded of this one thing:
Meditation is about being fully present, awake to what is. Simple awareness.
The practice of meditation is about cultivating the ability to be awake in our life, not separate from it but awake to life as it is. By doing this we can start to be more curious about what is happening, “ah I feel off-balance, time to go back to basics” is just one example.
Setting an intention can be good but I find it can also sometimes get in the way with meditation. Before you even sit for meditation, notice what your intention is, are you looking to get something out of the meditation? Are you looking to change something? are you coming to sit with an “okay let’s get this over with” attitude? whatever it is, notice it and then let it go as if it was a cloud floating by in the sky.
Going back to basics means also checking your posture in meditation. I often notice myself slouching a little, especially when I am feeling a little off-balance and out of sorts. Posture is important, it sends a message to your inner self “hey, I am here, I am aware, I am returning to balance”
Whether it’s on a chair, cushion or stool, visualize the most beautiful and ancient tree, its roots deep in the earth, its trunk upright and straight and its leafy canopy reaching up into the sky. That’s our posture. Our feet, legs, knees, rooted to the floor, our backs straight and upright. Just allow your body to be still, sitting with a sense of dignity, a sense of resolve, a sense of being complete.
It is easy to over think what we are supposed to be doing in meditation. It helps to pair it back to the basic placement of your attention.
My anchor or placement of attention is the breath. That simple life-giving thing that we take for granted. Of course, there are other things we can use as an anchor, but the fact that the breath is so normal and so beautifully simple, helps us when we are needing to just come back to basics, back to the real core of the practice.
Our mind will wander. A bit like when I was teaching my little terrier George to walk at heel. He would wander off or pull ahead. Gently, I would bring him back to my heel, over and over again. Over time he learnt that it was quite nice to walk next to his dad (plus his dad usually had some treats in his pocket haha!)
The same in our practice, our minds will wander, when you notice, just label it as thinking and gently come back to the placement of attention, the breath (or whatever your anchor is) over and over again. The essence of the practice, over and over. Simple placement of awareness.
Over time, this strengthening of awareness starts to spill out into everyday life. Look out for those times when you see it working.
The beauty and simplicity of the practice – back to basics
Awareness – Being awake
Intention – Notice it and let it go
Posture – Be a tree
Attention – Your anchor, your strength
Hold your life in awareness, encounter it, feel it, honour it, know it for what it is.
Just walk, just sit, just breathe.
Just be you.