Sitting in Piety and Chaos

Sitting meditation is the most natural thing in the world. It is essentially sitting. In Western culture, there are people who spend their time sitting on porches.  This is not meditation, but it is close.  Comfortable couples or friends may sit for hours watching the weather or people walking by, and exchanging only a few words.  This is not meditation, but it is close. When you sit on your porch in quiet contemplation, friends and neighbors passing by, will wave, or stop and chat. When you sit on the porch, nobody reacts to you like you are involved in a sacred ritual, you are just there. Although you can’t do anything about what other people think, when you meditate, you can sit, open to the world, more like you are sitting on a porch, than sitting in church.

If you think of meditation as a solemn and sacred activity, you will be more disturbed by interruptions. It is a good idea to meditate in a place, and at a time, where external distractions are limited so that you can focus on your internal distractions. Distractions are a part of meditation. Novice practitioners can get upset and angry when they are trying to meditate and the television is too loud in the next room.  An advanced practitioner can meditate calmly while his or her body is consumed in flames.

When you meditate, take your meditation seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. The world is chaotic, frantic with activity. This is where we meditate. This is why we meditate.


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