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Anyone here practice zazen? I've been trying to do it every morning for 2 weeks now and I need some pointers.
I'm finding it very difficult to meditate with my eyes open. It makes it very hard to focus. How are you suposed to do it? It's difficult to clear my mind of thoughts when im looking at stuff :P and is the posture very important? Mine is very bad an I keep having to break concentration and straighten my spine out.
You're trying too hard... just let go... let it ALL go... read "Zen The supreme experience" by Allen Watts... it quite remolded my "thoughts" on Zen Yea, I know he was an alcoholic n such, but the book is pure wisdom... I've been meditating for oh, aboot 11 years now, and it's intersting how my meditation has gotton more and more relaxed. I never sit in the Lotus position anymore, heck I hardly ever meditate with any obvious posture at all... BTW, do NOT TRY to clear your mind...it's near impossible, and it's not really the point behind meditating anyhoos. 1. "Don't think about elephants" - can't do it right ? why ? cause it's a "Nominalization" (or some such NLP term), basically u're giving a command to your mind, to remember to think about this objectification of "not thinking" about elephants. The command itself is the catch-22. Your ability is NOT the limiting factor. 2. The whole point of trying to "clear" the mind is simply to be able to disidentify with thoughts/emotions/feelings and reinforce non-judgemental awareness. So simply observe your thoughts as they arise just as u would observe anything in your surroundings (trees etc). It really is part of the same Universe, and as u do this slowyly u will realize that thoughts are simply fleeting/transient processes like little gusts of wind, they come n go and we don't have to form an identity out of them. Once u've come to this ultimate Realization gimme a call n we can pander u off into the world as the latest Realized being
> I'm finding it very difficult to meditate with my eyes open.
Then close them for now. We keep our eyes open to keep us from falling asleep.
> It makes it very hard to focus. How are you suposed to do it?
I keep my eyes about half open. Your head should be balanced on top of your spine, which should be upright and straight like a stack of dominos. The back of your neck will be stretched just a little bit. The tip of your tongue should touch the top of your mouth, just behind your upper teeth. If you are sitting on the floor, your gaze should be on something floor level about three feet in front of you. If you are sitting facing a wall, you would be looking a bit through the wall. Don't worry about eye focus...
> It's difficult to clear my mind of thoughts when im looking at stuff :P
You don't want to be looking at stuff. Your eyes are open to let in light so that you don't fall asleep. Let your gaze relax and don't worry about what you see or do not see.
and is the posture very important?
Starting out it is not too important, but for longer sessions it is critcal. A good posture supports your body when it starts to relax. A good posture helps reduce the pain you feel from sitting in one position for a long time.
> Mine is very bad an I keep having to break concentration and straighten my spine out.
This is why a good posture is important. There are a few basic steps that can help...
1) sit on the floor, cross legged or in the lotus. You want to be sitting on something firm, such as a hard pillow or phone book, etc, to lift your rear half a foot or so off the ground. You want to form a triangle of support with your butt, and your two knees. Your knees should be touching the ground to help support your body.
2) you want a good back posture. Think of your spine as a stack of coins... you want the stack to line up nice and straight. Because most of us sit with horrid posture, it will feel kind of odd when you get it correct. The small of your back should be pushed in a bit towards your belly... you will actually push out a bit of a beer gut, so-to-speak. The back of your neck will be strectched a bit. Your head and chin should be up and back, not sagged down or forward.
3) Once you are sitting and ready to find the posture, start out by leaning forward in a seated bow. Feel your spine stretch out from the base of your back through your neck. Sit back upright and lean to the left. Again, feel your spine stretch out... then sit upright and lean to the right... continue rocking from left to right, but each time rock a little less. When you are no longer rocking side to side, you should be "balanced" and in the proper position.
4) I was taught to hold my left hand in my right hand, palms up, in my lap or just above my lap. Your arms should be just a bit away from your sides to allow airflow which keeps you from getting hot and sweaty.
5) take a few slow, long, deep, breaths and let your body relax. Let your eyes relax and focus on a spot a few feet in front of you. Start to count your breathing... when you get to ten, or when you forget what count you were on, or when you notice that you aren't counting, start over from one.
-------------------- Just another spore in the wind.