Zen of the Quit


More About Sitting


So, when you’re sitting, you’re going to have thoughts arise, and when they do, you’re supposed to acknowledge them, catalog them, and let them go. But how do you let them go?

You let them go by bringing your awareness back to the present moment.

One way to do that is by “following the breath” – in other words, concentrate on your breathing. Don’t try to control it, or do anything special about it, just pay attention to it.

Another way to do it is to focus your attention on the sounds going on around you: maybe there’s a dog barking in the next block, or a truck going down the street. Maybe your upstairs neighbor is vacuuming. Whatever sounds are going on, just listen to them, without judgment (i.e., don’t attach labels like good or bad, just listen).

In fact, focusing on any of your senses – what are you hearing? what are you seeing? what are you smelling? what are you touching, and what’s touching you? what are you tasting? – is a good way to bring your awareness back to the present moment.

One important thing, though: whatever it is you’re sensing, just sense it. Don’t try to interpret it, or judge it, or think about it in any abstract way. Those are all distractions, because those are all just your opinions about what’s going on; they’re unnecessary additions to the pure experience.

More on this as we go on.

(If you're feeling a bit lost, it may be helpful to go back to the first post and follow along in order.)

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