So let us now go through a brief explanation of how to meditate. Even though this can be done in any position, during any activity and at anytime of
the day, we will be learning about meditation while in a static position (not moving):
The meditation method here is called Vipassana, as it was originally taught by the Buddha and later revised/clarified/expanded by Mahasi Sayadaw.
1. First let us bring our awareness to the position of our body. Are we sitting, standing, lying down, kneeling...? Whatever position we are in, we
should reel our awareness in towards it through the repeated mental noting of, “sitting, sitting, sitting...” or “standing, standing,
standing...” or “laying, laying, laying”. As we are mentally noting the position we are in, we should be mentally scanning over our entire body,
from our feet to our head to our arms, in no particular order. Let us do this until we have a clear awareness of the position that every part of our
body is in.
2. Next we are going to bring our awareness to any physical sensations of feeling in the body that are arising at the moment. Is there tingling
sensation in the feet? An itch on our face? A shooting pain in our back? Do we feel particularly cold or hot? Whatever bodily sensations we are
feeling we should mentally note them as, “itch, itch, itch...” or “pain, pain, pain...” or “cold, cold, cold...” and so on. Try not to
immediately act upon the sensation when it arises, instead just mentally note it for a while until it goes away. If it won't go away then act upon it
mindfully by noting what you are doing, “lifting arm, itching face, lowering arm, resting...” or “bending down, stretching back, rising up,
resting...” or “rising, standing, walking, bending, lowering arms, grabbing blanket, lifting arms, covering body, turning, walking, stopping,
bending, sitting, resting..” and so on. But our main goal here is to bring awareness to our bodily sensations of feeling. What bodily sensations of
feeling are we currently experiencing?
3. Next let us expand our awareness to hearing, smelling, tasting, and if our eyes are open, seeing. If we hear a sound, a bird chirping or a truck
driving past or a fan humming, we will note it as, “hearing, hearing, hearing...”. Similarly, if we smell, taste or see something, we will note it
as, “smelling, smelling...”, “tasting, tasting...”, “seeing, seeing, seeing...”. The object is to be aware of the raw sensation, as it is,
before the mind assigns a label and definition to it. This process should consist of no judging or categorizing, just awareness of the raw
4. If we do begin to judge a sensation (sound, smell, taste, sight, touch/feeling) as good or bad, we will note this as, “liking, liking,
liking...” or “disliking, disliking, disliking...” For instance, I may have got fairly deep into mediation by now and all of a sudden somebody
outside begins shouting, or my phone begins ringing, or my neighbors music starts shaking the walls, I may feel this is interrupting my meditation and
become frustrated by this and so I will begin noting this as, “disliking, disliking, disliking...hearing, hearing, hearing...”, effectively
turning it from a distraction into the object of my meditation.
5. Now we will deal with thinking, probably the most common distraction to our meditation. Thoughts of the past, “I wonder if I locked my car. Oh
man, I forgot to pay my phone bill today. Work was good/bad today. I miss that person...”, and thoughts of the future, “What should I eat tonight?
I want to go see that new movie. I should hang out with so and so this weekend. What am I going to do about this problem I am having?” Whether it is
of the past or the future, all of this is just simply thinking, and so we will note it as that, “thinking, thinking, thinking..” And if we become
frustrated with our wandering mind, we will turn this into our mediation object by noting, “disliking, disliking, disliking...”.
6. The final thing we will learn, which theoretically could have been first on the list, is the anchor point for our sitting meditation, the breath.
Any time we get done noting a sensation, feeling, thought or the position of our body, or anytime we feel our meditation has become too unstable,
boring or chaotic to continue, we will return our awareness to the rising and falling of the breath in the abdomen region. From the belly button to
the solar plexus is the region we will focus on, bringing our awareness to the rising and falling of this region as each breath comes in and goes out
of our body. We will note this as, “rising, rising, rising... falling, falling, falling...” or “rising... falling... rising... falling...”,
however we prefer.