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TNH: How To Sit

VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran

From the March 2015 Shambhala Sun magazine....

“How to Sit,” Thich Nhat Hanh’s gentle guidance for beginning your meditation practice.

How to Sit

-Set aside a room or corner or a cushion that you use just for sitting.

-The sound of a bell is a wonderful way to begin sitting meditation. If you don’t have a bell you can download a recording of the sound of a bell onto your phone or computer.

-When you sit, keep your spinal column quite straight, while allowing your body to be relaxed. Relax every muscle in your body, including the muscles in your face. Consider smiling slightly, a natural smile. Your smile relaxes all your facial muscles.

-Notice your breathing. As you breathe in, be aware that you are breathing in. As you breathe out, notice that you are breathing out. As soon as we pay attention to our breath, body, breath and mind come together. Every in-breath can bring joy; every out-breath can bring calm and relaxation. This is a good enough reason to sit.

-When you breathe in mindfully and joyfully, don’t worry about what your sitting looks like from the outside. Sit in such a way that you feel you have already arrived.

-It’s wonderful to have a quiet place to sit in your home or workplace. If you are able to find a cushion that fits your body well, you can sit for a long time without feeling tired. But you can practice mindful sitting wherever you are. If you ride the bus or the train to work, use your time to nourish and heal yourself.

-If you sit regularly, it will become a habit. Even the Buddha still practiced sitting every day after his enlightenment. Consider daily sitting practice to be a kind of spiritual food. Don’t deprive yourself and the world of it.

:smiley:

lobsterEarthninjazenguitarBunks

Comments

  • ^^^ Too easy :p

    wait . . . WE HAZ PLAN! o:)

    Earthninja
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    Nice description from Thay, and good to see the references to joy, calm and relaxation. I tried the smiling thing, it's feels a bit awkward but does actually work.

    Does anyone know how he's doing health-wise now?

  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran

    -When you sit, keep your spinal column quite straight, while allowing your body to be relaxed.

    I had always and still am struggling with this thing, don't know if in my remaining life, will i ever be able to sit with an erect spine with a relaxed body for sometime without moving my body. Any tips/exercises/suggestions, please. Thanks in advance.

  • @misecmisc1 said:
    Any tips/exercises/suggestions, please. Thanks in advance.

    There is a tip from the Sufi tradititions that I hope combined with the supplied info from TNH will help your situation. You will need two bananas.

    Even now I hear you clamouring for info on how to use the two bananas. You stick them in your ears.

    Before or after meditating?

    Instead of.

    I hope this helps.

    Bunks
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Follow TNH's advice and instructions.

    Really, @misecmisc1 , honestly, you are overthinking this.

    The primary instruction is to RELAX. It's not a test of endurance, a competition, and absolute quest for perfection.
    You really do just sit, breathe, smile, relax and enjoy the moment.
    Quit struggling.

    Look, you know when you are performing a task that requires focus or concentration? Like painting a picture, or doing calligraphy? your mind is empty of everything but that task. Everything else is just outside your periphery, not important.
    Well, that's a type of meditation.
    Maybe you can find something you enjoy doing to the exclusion of everything else.

    Whatever it might be; carving, drawing, sewing, knitting, (don't laugh - many men can and DO knit!) something which you immerse yourself in, enjoy with a passion, and delight in doing, even for a short brief period...

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @misecmisc1 said: > I had always and still am struggling with this thing, don't know if in my remaining life, will i ever be able to sit with an erect spine with a relaxed body for sometime without moving my body. Any tips/exercises/suggestions, please. Thanks in advance.

    Don't worry too much about posture, just find a comfortable position. It's very simple really, so just do it and stop fretting!

    lobstermisecmisc1
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    If you cannot sit comfortably (barring any medical conditions) with a straight spine, you are lacking in core strength both in your abdomen and your back. Strengthening those muscles would help, through yoga or whatever. I find yoga works best because it hits them all without you having to worry you are missing a muscle group. If you have a desk job, you probably have poor posture which weakens the core. Over time it will improve. I struggled with it when I started meditating but now I find it much harder NOT to have a straight spine because it is just what is natural as opposed to slouching.

  • Really, @misecmisc1 , honestly, you are overthinking this.

    Too kind.
    I feel you are one of those people unsuited to Buddhist practice. It is clear from your numerous posts you will never get anywhere. You need another hobby . . . and a couple of bananas. o:)

  • nope all you need is Buddha-nature. You work with your own quirks.

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    edited February 2015

    @misecmisc1 said:
    I had always and still am struggling with this thing, don't know if in my remaining life, will i ever be able to sit with an erect spine with a relaxed body for sometime without moving my body. Any tips/exercises/suggestions, please. Thanks in advance.

    Surely you can sit in a chair and use the back of it to support your spine @misecmisc1?

    If the type of meditation you are doing doesn't work for you, try something different. There are heaps of different methods of meditation that will help you. It seems pointless to try and continue on with something you're clearly fed up with.

    Good luck!

  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran

    @karasti said:
    If you cannot sit comfortably (barring any medical conditions) with a straight spine, you are lacking in core strength both in your abdomen and your back. Strengthening those muscles would help, through yoga or whatever. I find yoga works best because it hits them all without you having to worry you are missing a muscle group. If you have a desk job, you probably have poor posture which weakens the core. Over time it will improve. I struggled with it when I started meditating but now I find it much harder NOT to have a straight spine because it is just what is natural as opposed to slouching.

    I am a software engineer by profession and have worked in software industry for nearly 10 years now. Work days have included many weekends - if not both saturday and sunday, then at lease one of them. Work hours range from 9 to 14, depending on work and average it is 11 hours daily in front of computer. TV viewing with family something around 2 hours minimum daily. So i think I sit most of the time in a day and strangely I have problem with just sitting - what a paradox - I am really a screwed up person, anyways thanks to all for all your help.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I'd like to suggest that for a change of pace, you could lie down - that's what I do because of my back problems and knee problem. Nobody's going to take away points for lying down instead of sitting. And then there's walking meditation, as well. All that sitting isn't good for you, anyway.

    JeffreyNamada
  • @misecmisc1 said:
    I am a software engineer by profession and have worked in software industry for nearly 10 years now.

    aha . . . means of communication becomes clear:

    # Program: ASQ language
    # contains quantum and fuzzy logic algorithms 
    # used to instigate and process the four noble truths of programming
    # leading to the cessation of its running state
    # http://peace.wikia.com/wiki/ASQ-U
    
    
    ~~Begin~~
    
    Do this:
       [Bekind, 
       unfocus,
       PLAY (use child/wife/environment/relatives/friends/work)
          If
             AI NOT available 
                 use neuralNetiNeti.
    
          GOTO: Sangha, Guru
             unless Sangha, Guru NOT true.
    
          If 
             mouth = open (close) 
             run brain
    
         introduce AI_Variables 
    
    Till ~~End~~.
    
    AI Functions AND SUBROUTINES: BeKind, unfocus, play, child, parent, friends, work, neuralNetiNeti, brain, AI_Variables
    
    Jeffrey
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Someone asked about Thay's health, just saw this update in my twitter feed today:
    http://www.lionsroar.com/thich-nhat-hanh-rehab-increasingly-alert/

    @misecmisc1 If you do a search for studies on sitting, you will find that sitting too many hours of the day has incredible health consequences. We often cannot help if we have a desk job, but you should be getting up and walking around or at least standing a portion of every hour. Better yet, see if your job would allow you to have a standing desk. My husband's job offers those and they are wonderful. Another option would be to replace your desk chair with a yoga/exercise ball (they actually make ball chairs as well). Even just part of the day, sitting on one forces you to engage your core and encourages better posture. Sitting for too long shortens the muscles and ligaments in your lower back, hips and hamstrings (which then can lead to problems through the whole body). If you don't start to correct it now, you are likely to suffer back pain and other problems with continued years of spending so many hours seated.

    lobstermisecmisc1
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran

    Thanks @karasti for the update....I'm not on social media and have been checking the website daily for any updates....The tea meditation sounds just like him...hahaha.....We've had unusual winter weather for the South (ice, etc), so no trips down to the monastery have been possible in order to catch any 'rumors' about his health....Thanks again!

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited February 2015

    @lobster no code in your program for going to bathroom as needed haha :p

    SpinyNormanlobster
  • @Jeffrey said:
    lobster no code in your program for going to bathroom as needed haha :p

    ASQ is code that rewrites itself from human and AI INPUT in real time

    This line has had the play variable added
    introduce AI_Variables, play

    http://peace.wikia.com/wiki/ASQ

    Jeffrey
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