Saturday, December 23, 2006

Attitude matters

Our attitude toward our distractions in meditation actually matters. It's important not to be harsh with ourselves or disappointed. Here's an excerpt from a little article entitled "Meditation: Getting Started" from Psychology Today. It's on using the breath as a support:
Let your awareness permeate your entire body as you breathe, noting any sensations that arise. Now settle your respiration in its natural flow. Observe the entire course of each in- and out-breath, noting whether it is long or short, deep or shallow, slow or fast. Don't impose any rhythm on your breathing. Let the body breathe as if you were fast asleep, but with your mind vigilant.

Thoughts are bound to arise involuntarily, and your attention may also be pulled away by noises and other stimuli from your environment. When you note that you have become distracted, instead of tightening up and forcing your attention back to the breath, simply let go of these thoughts and distractions. Don't get upset. Just be happy that you've noticed the distraction, and gently return to the breath.
I like the instruction to be happy that we've noticed the distraction. You know, it's possible to go a long time without noticing. So it's progress to notice! It's so important to be gentle with ourselves. This will help the mind settle and become tranquil.

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