Posted on: June 7, 2022 Posted by: admin Comments: 0


Sit with your back straight and your body still, completely motionless. After sitting still, close or close your eyes. Our mind is like a glass of muddy water. The more we keep the glass of muddy water stationary, the more the mud will settle to the bottom and the water will be clear.

Similarly, if we keep our body still, unmoving, placing all our attention undistracted on the object of meditation, our mind will settle down and begin to experience the results of meditation.

We need to keep our mind in the present moment. The present moment moves so fast that ordinary people don’t seem to notice its presence. Every moment is a moment of events and no moment passes without events. We cannot pay attention to the moment without noticing what happens in that moment. Therefore, the moment we try to be concerned with is the present moment. Our mind will go through a sequence of events like a sequence of images passing through a projector. Some images come from the past and others from our imagination of future plans.

Mindfulness meditation with no-self

Illustration

The mind cannot concentrate without a spiritual object. Therefore we must give the mind an object that is always present. One such object is the breath. The mind does not have to work hard to find the breath. Breathe in and out of the nose in each moment. Since the practice of meditation happens every moment of our life, it is very easy for the mind to focus on the breath, because the breath is different than any other object that is always present.

Begin with three deep breaths. Then, breathe normally, let the breath in and out naturally, without forcing, and start focusing on the tip of the nose. Simply focus on the sensation of the breath going in and out of that place. When the in-breath is complete and before the out-breath begins, there is a brief pause. Pay attention to that and notice the beginning of the out-breath. When the out-breath is complete and before the in-breath begins, there is a brief pause. Also pay attention to that. Meaning there are two short pauses – one at the end of the in-breath and the other at the end of the out-breath. These two breaks happen so quickly that you may not even notice their appearance. But when we have mindfulness, we will recognize them. Don’t say or think anything. Simply pay attention to the in-and-out breath without saying, “I breathe in,” or “I breathe out.” When you focus on the breath, let go of any thoughts, memories, sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations and just give your full attention to the breath, nothing else.

In the beginning, both the in-breath and out-breath are short, because the body and mind are not stable, or relaxed. Notice how that short in-breath feels, without having to say, “short in-breath” or “short exhalation”. As we continue to focus on the sensation of a short in-breath and a short out-breath, our body and mind become quite still. Then my breath becomes long. Notice the feeling of the long breath as it is, without needing to say, the “long breath”. Then pay attention to the whole breathing process from beginning to end. From there the breath becomes subtle, and the body and mind become calmer than before. Notice this peaceful feeling of the breath. The breath is used as an important reference point to bring back the wandering mind. It is the point from which one can know the incessant changes and discontinuities that occur all the time as part of normal thinking.

There is a metaphor that meditation is like taming a wild elephant. The process to do that is to tie the captured elephant with a strong rope. When tied up like that, the elephant was not content. It struggled, stomped, and pulled on the rope for days. It finally realized that it couldn’t escape, so it gave up. Until then, you can start feeding and socializing it with caution. Gradually you can get rid of the ropes, wooden poles, and train the elephant to do some tricks. Then you have an elephant that has been trained to do useful things. In this metaphor, the wild elephant is the mind that is loosely active, the rope is mindfulness, and the wooden pole is the object of your meditation, the breath. The elephant tamed in this process is a well-trained mind. The centering that we can use in the extremely difficult work of penetrating the many layers of illusion that obscure reality. Meditation has helped tame the mind.

(Translated from Practice, quoted in the book Start Here, Start Now)

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