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Just Sitting
12m

Just Sitting

Find peace by doing nothing.

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[Thomas McConkie, Mindfulness Teacher] My first Zen teacher told me that it takes great faith to just sit. And that was a kind of mystifying teaching to me at the time. But as an expression of Buddhist faith, I like to invite you to just sit here. The instruction to the practice, there are different ways to just sit. Technically, there aren't different ways. There's just sitting. But there are different ways to kind of offer instruction in this area. And I'll offer the instruction I've received through Shinzen Young. It's not the only way to kind of set up a shikantaza practice or just sitting. But I hope it's a minimal enough pointing out that you can get the flavor for what it's like to do absolutely nothing. So let's try it out. The first principle: whatever happens happens. Not trying to control anything in any way, including and especially, your attention. Not trying to concentrate, not trying to meditate, not trying to get somewhere or make something happen or stop something from happening. Just sit. Second principle: If you catch yourself trying to control your attention, drop that intention. Whatever happens happens. If you catch yourself trying to focus, trying to pay attention in a particular way, drop that intention. A detail to the instruction: Sometimes you find attention just paying attention of its own accord to something in particular. You try to drop that intention, but your attention just stays there. In other words, you're not doing it. If you're not doing it, it's okay. If you catch yourself doing something, trying to pay attention in a particular way and make something happen, drop that activity, drop that intention. But if attention is just doing what it's doing, not responding to your conscious intention, it's okay. It's not you doing anything. It's nature paying attention. As you just sit, you might find yourself getting very settled and concentrated, enjoying equanimity. In other words, a meditative state. If that's happening, that's just fine. As you're just sitting, you might notice, in attention, your mind bouncing around from thing to thing to thing, discomfort in the body, non-equanimity. If that's the case, that's just fine. We're not going for any desired state. We're not trying to produce something or get somewhere. If anything, we're allowing ourselves to get nowhere. Sometimes there's a temptation to continuously scan to see if the self is doing something. And to continuously scan would to be to do something. You do not need to continuously scan to see if the self is doing something. Have faith. Let yourself do nothing. Just sit. Do nothing. Get nowhere.

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