Meditation tips from Robert Aitken

These are couple of tips I found very useful while browsing Robert Aitken’s blog . There are many brilliant posts and I think his blog is a great place to visit for anyone on a Spiritual Journey.
I like  the two  below as great meditation tips, where in first Aitken suggests before proceeding with your meditation,, to clear your mind by counting your breaths.  I find it also helpful, to actually watch your breaths while counting them. See, feel the air entering thought your nostrils, going into your longs, filling up your longs slowly, as they expand; and then on exhale watch air exiting your longs all the way to your nostrils. Do so until your mind is calm and clear.
The second quote below addresses you focus, your attention during meditation.  As you meditate, you will sometimes find that your focus, attention is slipping away, thought may come in, or you may get distracted by a noise – that is okay, as long as when you notice it, calmly return your attention inward, back into your meditation. And do this every time you are distracted.  I found it very hard at first, but with practice it gets easier.

Messy Mind
It’s hard to do effective work when your desk is a mess. I once worked for a woman who had to pat the papers on her desk. in order to find her glasses to begin her work. Likewise, you can’t do zazen with a messy mind. You can’t even start. Clean it up, bit by bit, by counting your breaths: “One. . ., two. . ., three.” Thus your mind is cleaned—and off you go with Dōgen and Zhaozhou.

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Image via Wikipedia

And another one.
Attention is the way. When you pay attention in your zazen, you notice how easily you slip into attention to something else. Return to the original attention of your zazen. Then when you notice that something else has slipped into view, return again to your original attention. This is the process of zazen. Nothing else is important. So the Ancients could say, “Sitting is Zen, lying down is Zen.””
Robert Aitken

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