MINDFULNESS
AND
SITTING MEDITATION

Sitting Posture

“Sit or lied down in a way that allows your body to rest. Sitting, your head and spine form a straight line. Relax all your muscles. Find a way of sitting that allows you to sit for at least 20 minutes without becoming too stiff or tired. As soon as you sit down, pay attention to your breath. Then notice your posture, a little bit everywhere. Relax the muscles in your face. If you are angry or worried, those muscles will be tense. Smile lightly, and you will relax hundreds of muscles in your face. Then notice your shoulders, and let go of the tension there. Don’t try too hard. Just breathe mindfully, and scan your whole body.”

Mindfulness of Breathing

“Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.” “The object of mindfulness is your in-breath and your out-breath, and nothing else. Observe the reality of your in-breath all throughout its duration. Stay at one with your out-breath all the way through”

“You don’t need to make an effort to stop your thinking. Just by concentrating on your breathing one hundred percent, your thinking will quiet itself. You don’t need to force yourself to be mindful. Just enjoy your breathing.”

“A period of sitting meditation is time worth living. Don’t interfere with your breathing. Breathing takes place by itself. Just light the lamp of mindfulness and shine it on your breathing. Don’t modify, bend, or make your breathing the way you think it is supposed to be. If your in-breath is short, let it be short. If your out-breath is long, let it be long. Become aware of your in-breath and out-breath as they are….After a few minutes you will notice an improvement in the quality of your breathing, and a feeling of well-being will be born in you.”

Mindfulness and Concentration

“Mindfulness makes our eyes, our heart, our non-toothache, the moon, and the trees deep and beautiful. And when we touch our suffering with mindfulness, we begin to transform it. Mindfulness is like a mother holding her baby in her arms and caring for her baby’s pain. When our pain is held by mindfulness it loses some of its strength….

Mindfulness recognizes what is there, and concentration allows you to be deeply present with whatever it is. Concentration is the ground of happiness. If you live twenty-four hours a day in mindfulness and concentration, one day is a lot.”

Quotations from Thich Nhat Hanh, in The Mindfulness Bell, Issue 23, pages 1,4. See also Breathe! You are Alive, by Thich Nhat Hanh.

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