Embodied Intimacy, Transformative Inquiry, Creative Emergence

Meditation, Just Sitting & Hanging Out, Article 1

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in Articles by Shayla, Lifeletters & Articles | 0 comments

Meditation, Just Sitting & Hanging Out, Article 1

One of the Radiant Mind students from Germany asked me a wonderful question today, on the phone. We were talking about the practice of ‘just sitting’ and allowing everything to be as it is, which is one of the foundations of most nondual work, or the training in awakening to unconditioned awareness.

Just sitting is not the same as meditation. Meditation usually has some kind of focus, like the breath, or a mantra, and a goal as well, some kind of state we are trying to reach. Just sitting begins with the end, it begins with the recognition that there is nowhere to go, nothing to achieve, and nobody to achieve it. Our natural state, the openness of awareness itself, is not an object, not something I can find, grasp, or get any closer to than I already am.

The woman I was working with told me that the Radiant Mind course has ‘ruined her meditation practice.’ She was laughing as she said this. Then she asked me something, which I experienced as a kind of spontaneous koan, a question that arose from within her that cannot be answered by the mind. This was her question: “If I am not even watching, not trying to witness, then what is the difference between just sitting and hanging around?”

We explored this question together, for a few minutes. At one point I said to her, “When you are resting in awareness, thoughts and feelings arise, and there is no attempt to label them, so they pass right through you, without leaving a trace.” She replied, “Oh yes, I know how that is—and I have a feeling of it right now—there is no separate identity there, just a spaciousness.” “Yes, “ I replied, “and when we do not pull back from our experience and try to witness it, then we recognize everything that arises as inseparable from awareness, all flowing in the same stream, without needing to say what any of it is.”

After she hung up, I realized that this is one very simple response to her question:
“When I am hanging out, it’s usually me that is hanging out. When I am just sitting, there is a very gentle invitation I am offering to myself, or a possibility I am opening to: the recognition of identitylessness, the direct experience that if I try to find this person I call myself, I won’t be able to do it.”

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