Have a seat! This seminar on sitting in meditation was recorded live. We invite you to sit with us.
These lessons are designed to do all of the following:
• to invite your patient and gentle curiosity about your own way of sitting;
• to cultivate an awareness of your physical presence that can generate a more comfortable and attentive sitting practice;
• to provide a structure for focusing your attention on your movement, even in stillness;
• to bring your attention to patterns of moving that are related to your discovery of sitting in the first place;
• to give you variations on those patterns, food for a brain that is intent on learning by contrast;
• to add new sensations to your experience of sitting, sensations that become your guide to further exploration and comfort;
• to allow your attention to your sitting to become a meditation in itself..
Bring your patience and courage to this exploration. Old habits may resist change. New options may present challenges. Make your movement small, exploratory, quiet. Think of the way a whisper can quiet a room. Let your movement whisper to you, and your inherent learning self will respond.
When you were a baby and first discovered sitting, no one taught you. Instead, your achievement was earned through your own process of moving and learning.
As the possibility of sitting up emerged, you developed a repertoire of movement and balance skills. Your sitting became more dependable, predictable and ultimately habitual.
For many, that is where the sitting experiment ended, and the neuromuscular patterns that were established so long ago remain today – more or less unexamined.
Habits are negotiable
The tools that we used in the process of negotiating our first relationships to gravity, movement, and growth remain in our possession throughout our lives. Taking these same integrative capacities to new circumstances is the way we learn anything new at all.
These lessons provide new circumstances that challenge unexamined habits and provoke our ever-curious nervous systems to discover new options for comfort and skill.
Your nervous system, the basis all of your learning endeavors, is still very interested in your movement, and even more so in your comfort and ease.
• When something you do becomes easier, your nervous system immediately boosts that experience into the foreground of your attention.
• If you are going slowly enough, you will become aware of the differences in the quality of your action.
• Movement-based experiences direct your attention to the nature and efficiency of your movement; contrasts among those experiences incite your nervous system’s inclination to learn.
In the context of systematic exploration, the process of sensing and discerning, which was so powerful when we were babies, can thus again be put to work.
Take good care when doing each lesson.
• There is no need to rush, push to the limit, or to use force. Rest frequently, and seek ease in your practice. Let your movement be a whisper.
• At every moment, exercise patience and remember that the purpose of doing the lesson is to give yourself an opportunity to move, sense, and feel.
• Even when parts of the lesson are challenging, do only what is comfortable. Do less. Even imagining yourself doing the action without moving at all can promote reorganization and improvement.
• Let your breath be your guide. If it is not easy and full, do even less; be even more quiet in your curiosity.
Please allow yourself a few minutes at the end of each lesson to sit as you wish. When you are ready to get up, go slowly. Bring yourself up onto your feet and stand for a moment. You may feel different. You may be finding something new.
Walk for a minute, softly. Where is your head? How does your weight move across your feet? Where is your gaze?
Sit. How is your weight distributed? What is your conversation with gravity? Breathe.
OK, here are the lessons: