As I surrender to just sitting
As I surrender to just sitting
It seems the simplest of things to have a difficulty with, but I realised that my first resistance to meditation was right there in allowing myself to just sit. It wasn't the clearing my mind or keeping my focus, my breath or anything else. It was just resistance to sitting still.
This comes in me from being quite a hyperactive adrenal type, work hard, play hard, workaholic etc. There was always something that needed doing more than my sitting practice, something that I couldn't just waste my time sitting around doing nothing. This became a real block to my progress in meditation because it was producing anxiety about just sitting, so relaxing and allowing were harder and harder to do.
So then I just gave up, stopped practicing unless it was a meditation event, someone leading a practice, something part of a course, retreat or workshop. At which point of course I had great experiences, because I was allowing the sitting to take place. It was part of the programme and it was someone else's choice so it was easier to submit and just go with it.
I've worked with so many different approaches to meditation over the last 25yrs that I just didn't really know where I wanted to be with it. What was I wanting to gain?
I've done standing meditation, mantra meditation, sound meditation, tree meditation, mindfulness, circling, white skeleton meditation, compassionate exchange, and Big Mind to name but a few.
As part of my Big Mind practice, Genpo Roshi was talking about 'just sitting' which in the Zen tradition is call Shikantaza. That's it, just sitting, no focus, no agenda, just sit. It is considered by some schools of zen to an intense form of practice, but one that I have found helps a great deal to dissolve my resistance to sitting.
So the commitment I have made to myself is to just sit.
Nothing more, nothing less.
No minimum or maximum time limit.
No specific focus or requirement.
Just sit and see what arises.
This has been revolutionary for me as it allowed me to see how much resistance I had to just sitting. It has made me laugh at how simple a block it was and how profound the surrender to that is. It has allowed a great deal of progress to just some of it's own accord, no seeking, no efforting, just surrender to sitting and allow whatever is coming in that moment.
It has lead to the depth of the experience I'm having to be much more profound. I find that moving through the subtle state into the causal state now happens much more freely, much more easily because I am allowing myself the space and time to be.
Now I'm not suddenly doing 3hrs a day and surfing the waves of Nirvana like a pro. But twice a day, I allow myself to sit for 10-30 mins and just let it be what it wants. Because I'm not trying to control or fight any part of myself and I feel that I have truly surrendered to 'just sitting', it is always a pleasurable and and a sought after moment in my day.
So my call to you is just the same. Can you surrender to sitting, can you just give yourself permission to sit, in a chair, on the floor, in a posture if you like, but just sit?
Watch your resistance arise and just surrender to the time you are giving yourself to just be there. Watch that grow as you realise you can just be in that space out of space, that time out of time and the more you surrender to just sitting, the more you get from it. The more the mind relaxes and the trains of thought become less frequent and you can just be in awareness of that moment.
I don't think I can overstate how much it has allowed my practice to develop in a relatively short space of time. Just sitting without any agenda. I just sit on my block, legs crossed, hands in lap, eyes closed and breathe. That is my only process with this. Anything else that is present in that moment is fine, because I allow anything else to be part of that moment as long as my surrender to just sitting continues.
Be happy and well and if you want to share some of your experiences of your sitting, or the difficulties you are having with it, please comment below.
If you'd like to come and join in with the Big Mind practices I offer in Shrewsbury, check out the events calendar and find the next Introduction to Big Mind or 5 Element Chi Kung day for chances to engage directly.