Thursday, October 04, 2007

Simple Mystery of Meditation

“It comes to many as astonishing news that something as simple as attention to breathing has a central part to play in meditation and prayer. It is like a mystery novelist’s idea of hiding the diamonds in the goldfish bowl: too obvious to notice…” – James Forest

“Remember to keep holy the sabbath…no work should be done on the sabbath…” (Exodus 20.8-10). Of course, we know that a tired body appreciates some down time, but in our busy culture we forget that the mind also needs to keep times of Sabbath.

Have you ever noticed that when a moment of silence is called for, invariably someone will cough, or yawn, or clear their throat, or otherwise inject some kind of noise into the silence (no matter how brief it is)? Contrast the crowds at a concert with the trickles of humans in a library! We are more comfortable with noise than silence, and entering the Silence is very difficult for some of us.

But rest is necessary for good health, and meditation is a way to rest and refresh the mind. A few minutes of meditation to turn off the discursive thinking is all that is needed. That doesn’t mean we stop the thoughts; it just means we don’t engage them. Without pursuing or judging them, we simply notice them and return to stillness.

We can’t get it wrong because there is nothing to do…just sit and breathe and be. Notice what comes up, let it pass, and breathe. Count the breaths (in -1, out-1, in-2, out-2) all the way to 10 and start over at 1. If a thought or an image disrupts the count, just notice it, let it go, and start again at 1. Failure isn’t possible because there is no goal! Isn’t that wonderful?! Just sit. Just breathe. Just be. Do it for 10 minutes or an hour, twice a week or daily. You can’t get it wrong, and yet, over time, you will become more and more aware of your true, divine nature.

Starting October 9th, sitting meditation (“Zazen”) will be offered every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 8:15 AM at Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale in the Graham/Fasana Chapel.

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