Sunday, 7 November 2010

There's no such thing as power-meditation #openpractice

Just as the title says, there is no such thing as power-meditation. It takes time, practice and diligence. And it takes patience to build up to sitting for longer periods.

Previously when I meditated using a stool, I was comfortable sitting for an unbroken period of 30 minutes regularly and repeatedly, 40 minutes comfortably and fairly often, and even a full hour on occasions. When I shifted to sitting cross-legged I had to start over by sitting for an unbroken period of only 5 minutes! I would then sit for 40 minutes using the stool as the 5 minutes cross-legged was as much about getting used to the posture and accepting the new sensations as it was about meditation. Part of the ongoing
adjustment process that is important for any long term practice. As I gradually got used to the posture and my flexibility increased, I built up to sitting for an unbroken period of 10 minutes, then 15 minutes and then 20 minutes. However, as the title implies, sitting for 5, 10 or 15 minutes isn't getting into meditation very much. Yes it can calm the mind a little and yes it can increase focus and attention, all of which are good and beneficial, and don't get me wrong, they are brilliant starting points for a practice, but these barely skim the surface of meditation. In my experience, 20 minutes is really just starting to touch on meditation. It allows enough time for the mind and the body to settle and for the method to start to take hold.

So I was very pleased when I decided to try sitting cross-legged for 30 minutes on Thursday and found that I could do it quite comfortably! So from Thursday I have changed from sitting 2 periods of 20 minutes to sitting a single period of 30 minutes. And today (Sunday) I sat for 2 periods of 30 minutes. During the second period a thought did come to mind that it could easily turn into a test of endurance rather than meditation. You know the kind I'm sure, where you silently bargain with yourself: "Just count 10 more breathes, it must almost be time! Focus, can't be long now...!" It didn't though and I was deeply grateful for the extended & deepened morning practice.

May sentient beings depart from suffering
May the vows of the donors be fulfilled.

No comments: