Friday, March 31, 2006

A simple Daoist sitting meditation

Although many websites have discussed the various benefits of and related sitting postures for meditation not much attention has been given to a simple yet effective Daoist sitting position suitable for almost everyone, male or female.

One is sure many would like to learn or practise meditation for its related benefits but put off by the various difficult sitting postures (think full lotus or half lotus positions) they have to adopt for the practice. Readers who have heard of or know this simple sitting meditation may find what is written below differs from their practice or understanding, and are welcome to comment and share their experience to teach us a thing or two.

This sitting meditation is especially suitable for the elderly; for those who find difficulties or suffer pain in bending/crossing their legs for a certain length of time and for those who have to sit in wheel chairs because of illnesses or partial paralysis.

This entry does not discuss breath control therefore the meditation described is elementary suitable for beginners and could prove useful for the more experienced meditators. Although over the years one has taught meditation to a number of friends and relatives and there had been calls for me to start a class for their friends, I have never started one, knowing my own limitations on the Circulation of the Light. Therefore take note that one does not claim to be a master of Tao or of meditation.

The simple sitting meditation:

Whenever you want to meditate, find a quiet and lighted up place and ensure you will not be disturbed for the duration of the meditation. The duration of the meditation needs to be fifteen minutes or longer to be effective. Wear loose clothing where possible. You can light incense to create the atmosphere for deep concentration but do not play any music to accompany the meditation. Do not meditate on a full stomach, or when you are tipsy or drunk, under stress, or pondering on a lot of things, since you will not be able to concentrate. There are no mantras to recite, no mandalas to look at or anything to visualize. Just do not fall asleep during meditation.

Daoist meditation is something like this. Your eyes look within, your ears hear within, there is no speech and your hands cannot grasp what is seen. Keeping your body and thoughts still, with continual practice, it can quieten your heart and empty your mind.

The elementary meditation described here does not involve breath control, just normal breathing, and therefore has no side effects. It may help reduce stress and you should feel rested and relaxed after the meditation. If you ever feel dizzy or your heart beat faster than normal during meditation, please stop the meditation immediately.

With the foregoing precaution in place, we can now proceed to the sitting posture and the elementary meditation:

1) Sit on a chair or the edge of a bed with both feet resting on the floor

2) Spread your legs out to shoulders width and point your toes forward

3) Rest your left palm and fingers face down on your left knee*

4) Rest the right palm and fingers face down on your right knee*

5) Straighten your back and neck to allow smooth breathing

6) Do not support your back with anything

7) Half close your eyes and look at the tip of your nose

8) Lightly clench your teeth together and keep your mouth close

9) Rest the tip of your tongue on the palate

10) Relax your entire body and limbs and you are ready

11) Slowly breath in and out through your nose

12) Listen to the breathing

13) Make the breathing as light as possible until you cannot hear it

14) Do not try to stop the thoughts, just focus on your breathing

15) Watch the thoughts flow in and out

16) Soon they will stop on their own accord

17) In the stillness, your heart seemed to have quieten

18) With your mind emptied

(*Your fingers to cover the respective knee caps and you will be sitting in an upright and natural position.)

For those who practise breath control and want to change their sitting posture over to this simple method, you can replace the normal breathing in #11 with your usual deep breathing techniques.

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