We just entered our first 6-week practice period here at Sweeping Heart Zen. Before we started the period, people who formally entered this time of invigorated practice submitted what’s called a Practice Period Intention Form. One questions on the form asks, “What theme or issue do you intend to focus on during this Practice Period?” I intend to deeply rest and relax in awareness.
Rest and Relax
Yes! Over the next 6-weeks I plan to focus on bringing a deeper sense of physical and mental rest and relaxation, along with a more sustained level of consistent, present moment awareness to my sitting meditation and into my everyday life.
With this in mind, the following quotes are from some of the great teachers I look to for direction and inspiration about meditation and mindfulness practice. I hope you benefit from their guidance as much, and even more, than I have and will.
“During our sitting meditation we can allow ourselves to rest… We can allow ourselves to ease naturally without effort to the position of sitting, the position of resting.”
“Resting is a very important practice; we have to learn the art of resting. Resting is the first part of Buddhist meditation. You should allow your body and your mind to rest. Our mind as well as our body needs to rest.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Awareness Is Simply Knowing You Are Aware
“The first instruction I will give a yogi who is new to this practice is to relax and be aware, to not have any expectations or to not control the experience, and to not focus, or concentrate, or penetrate. Instead what I encourage him or her to do is observe, watch, and be aware… Awareness is remembering, not forgetting what it is to be aware, just simply knowing that you are aware.” ~Sayadaw U Tenjaniya
“During meditation, we maintain a simple attitude, and that’s the attitude of ‘keep coming back.’ The basic frame of mind we want to take is that we should always come back and be present. The basic instruction is to bring out the stabilized quality of mind—the ability of mind to stay in one place, to stay present…we come back to the breath, back to our meditation. The natural quality of mind is clear, awake, alert, and knowing.” ~ Pema Chodron
Approach Your Mind Kindly and Treat It Gently
“We can never understand the nature of the mind through intense effort but only by relaxing, just as breaking a wild horse requires that one approach it gently and treat it kindly rather than running after it and trying to use force. So do not try to catch hold the nature of the mind, just leave it like it is.” ~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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I hope you have a wonderful week!