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Lions Roar : March 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2012 74 Buddha. A staircase to what? To enlight- enment? What is that? It doesn’t really matter. Just building the staircase may be good. No promise, no blame. Let us sim- plify the situation. Let us build this stair- case very simply and directly. When you practice meditation, don’t make a big deal about it. Just sit down, relax, and straighten your back, not to the extreme but in a deliberate fashion. Your posture is a bit like how you would hold yourself if you were going to ask your lover to marry you. Your approach would be semi-relaxed—friendly and somewhat seductive, but straightforward. That’s how your posture should be here. Then you place your hands on your knees, which is known as the mind-relaxing posture, or in whatever position you have been instructed in. Then you should just feel your breath, your natural breath. It might be rough ordeepifyouhadtoruntogettothe meditation room. Or your breathing might be quite shallow. It doesn’t really matter. Just feel your existing natural breathing. Sit quietly and listen to your breathing. To begin with, just listen to it for a few minutes. In that way, you can settle into the practice. Then you can begin to discipline your state of awareness, your state of inquisitiveness. When you have nothing to do but sit and breathe, you begin to wonder, “What can I do with myself?” Those thoughts are fine, but then try to focus everything on your breathing. Lis- ten to your breathing, feel your breath- ing, completely, properly, as much as you can. But don’t force yourself. Don’t hold yourself too tight, like an English- man with a stiff upper lip. Here, you are dealing with your breathing very natur- ally. It’s just natural breath. You sit there as though you’re about to address your lover. You just sit there and go along with your breathing. You follow the breathing, very simply. Particularly pay attention to the out- breath. Go along with it. Don’t particu- larly try to feel the temperature of the breath in your nostrils or anything like SHAMBHALA SUN FOUNDATION An independent, nonprofit corporation. Publishers of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly. HELP US BUILD the SHAMBHALA SUN FOUNDATION We are an independent nonprofit dedicated to fostering the growth of genuine buddhadharma, meditation, and mindfulness in the West. We publish the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly. And we’re more than just magazines— through our websites, sponsorships, conferences, and programs we serve Buddhist communities of all traditions. Help us build a strong Shambhala Sun Foundation so that we can, together, build a strong foundation for the dharma to flourish. To donate online, go to www.shambhalasun.com/donate or call toll-free at 877-422-8404 ext. 36 or mail your contribution to Shambhala Sun Foundation 1660 Hollis St., Ste. 701, Halifax NS, Canada B3J 1V7 BUILD BUILD SHAMBHALA SUN FOUNDATION FOUNDATION FOUNDATION