There is a joke in Buddhist circles: “Don’t just do something, sit there.”
What is Meditation?
Meditation is how we train in continuous awareness. It is also how we train in letting go. Meditating might not appear to be very exciting or productive, but try it and give inner peace a chance.
Meditation is a truly transformative spiritual exercise. Beginning meditators do not always connect the simplicity of what they are doing to the essence of the spiritual search, but it is all there to be discovered by those who try it. The Dzogchen teachings of Tibet say one moment of total awareness is one moment of perfect freedom and enlightenment. You do not need to seek elsewhere; it is all within.
Begin your meditation practice in a place that is quiet and free of distraction. Sit comfortably with your back erect. Stay alert and yet relaxed and at ease. This begins the training in mindfulness, or in cultivating heightened consciousness and awareness.
Begin breathing in and out through you nostrils.
Mindfully breath in, mindfully breath out.
Let go of the natural flow of energy and breathing, and learn to simply let it be.
Pay close attention to each and every inhalation and exhalation, following the breath – the object of your attention, all the way in and all the way out.
What is the Purpose of Practicing Meditation?
Breath awareness practice may not seem immediately productive, but give it a chance. Some spiritual masters make it their primary practice throughout their entire lives. Mindfulness of breathing is the basic mediation practice, and yet it has the power to reach and enhance all levels of consciousness. It may appear simple, but even so it works on all levels of the path and it is certainly not just for beginners.
It may not be immediately apparent, but to be totally in the moment, which is what meditation requires, means relinquishing the past, the future, and the dualism that makes a distinction between self and others. This is the essence of letting go.
(Inspired by Lama Surya Das: Letting go of the person you used to be)
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