Although we may find ourselves sitting down through much of the day, how many of us ever make a conscious decision just to sit? Usually, when we’re sitting, we are also driving or eating or working or watching a movie or relaxing. Sitting is usually about something other than just sitting. And if we’ve ever contemplated the idea of sitting for the sake of sitting, perhaps we’ve concluded that it would be a simple waste of time—so even if we’ve been advised to do it, we often choose not to.
Just the thought of sitting and doing nothing may terrify us, especially when it’s linked to the word meditation. Take this moment to discard all your preconceived notions of what sitting still is all about. Drop the word meditation from your vocabulary. And then allow yourself to be open to sitting in a new way.
Just sitting—here, you will find the source for your serenity. Just sitting—here, you will develop a practice of being still that you can then bring into all your other activities. Just sitting—this is the only suggestion in this book that it’s best not to skip.
So take a seat with the clear intention to just sit. Begin with five or ten minutes, and use your body and your breath to do it. Let your mind come along for the ride, or in this case, “the sit.” Concentrate on your posture (erect), your breathing (deep and slow), and your fingers and toes (relaxed). Begin each session with closed eyes in order to draw your attention inward. Then once you’re focused, gently open your eyes and just breathe. There’s nothing to do, nowhere to go.
Watch as your mind tries to pull you away from any discomfort you might experience. Breathe deeply into your belly. Expect nothing. Simply and gently, just sit and breathe. Practice being still. The longer you still your body and the deeper into your belly you breathe, the quieter your mind will become.
This practice of sitting still and doing nothing will eventually create space between thoughts. This space will hold pure, intrinsic awareness. This will be the breeding ground for serenity—not just as you sit, but at all times. So sit still and discover this internal mechanism for creating peace and harmony within, no matter what is going on outside. Then you can carry it with you always and tap into it whenever you need it.