Week 3 Meditation : Cultivating Clarity of Mind: Shamatha Practice

Though we seem to be sleeping, there is an inner wakefulness that directs the dream, and that will eventually startle us back to the truth of who we are.



Days full of wanting, let them go by without worrying that they do. Stay where you are inside such a pure, hollow note.


The basic technique that we use in meditation practice is anchoring in our breath. Our breath is constant and of-the-moment, so using the breath as our anchor trains us to come back to the moment, back to the present situation.

Using the breath as the object of our meditation is especially good for calming a busy mind. The consistent, rhythmic flow of the breath soothes the mind and allows for steadiness and relaxation.

This is ordinary breathing; nothing is exaggerated.

As you focus on the breath, you'll notice that various thoughts and emotions arise. When this happens, acknowledge that you are thinking (you can just say quietly to yourself "thinking) and return your focus to the breath. As you do this, no matter how many times you do this, you'll notice that you are slowly settling. As the mind slows and as you settle down, you're starting to actually land in yourself.

When your focus is wavering, check your posture. Imagine a string pulling your spine up straight, then relax your body around that. Slouching and slumping affects the breath, the mind, and the rest of the body. Sometimes the littlest shift into a more upright state can help us sharpen our commitment and return to our anchor.

The practice of using a simple anchor, like the breath, and coming back to it again and again, calmly and patiently, is called shamatha. One way of translating this term is "calm abiding". So the word shamatha captures both how we practice and what we experience when we practice. We come back to the breath again and again, learning to calmly abide there, and in time, we experience a state of calm abiding.

Try this simple shamatha practice for 10 minutes a day.

For further support:

Tara Brach's simple, free meditation guide:
Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield
Mindfulness in Plain English by Ven. Henepola Gunaratana
Start Where You are by Pema Chodron


Post a Comment