Susan Piver leads a breath-awareness meditation on being your authentic self, connecting with yourself through watching your breath and thoughts to open up and discover who you are.
(This meditation is part two of our interview with Susan on her new book The Buddhist Enneagram)
[00:00:00] Susan Piver: Let’s begin a meditation together where the emphasis is on just being yourself as you are, nothing to accomplish.
It doesn’t matter if you’re good at meditating or not. That’s irrelevant because the real practice is just to be yourself and this technique sets up that practice.
Establishing your posture
So establish your posture by sitting up straight, but not rigid, responsive, like a tree in the wind responds, but it’s firmly planted at the same time.
Your legs can be crossed loosely in front of you or your feet flat on the floor, whatever’s most comfortable. And let your palms rest on your legs, palms down just above the knee, and let your front body soften.
You have a strong back to hold you so you can afford to soften the belly, the chest, the throat, three gates: the gate of intuition, the gate of emotion, the gate of speech.
You can let them all soften.
And let the shoulders relax. Nothing to carry or hoist right now. So you can really let the shoulders relax.
And perhaps feel a bit of coolness between the shoulder blades, because you’re no longer carrying anything.
The mouth is closed, but the lips and teeth can be slightly parted. The breath is natural, in and out through the nose. There’s no breathing technique. You’re already great at breathing. So just keep doing that.
And in this practice, the eyes remain open. Although, if that’s not of interest to you, you can keep them closed, but otherwise the eyes are open and the gaze is soft and cast down to a comfortable spot in front.
The eyes are open because we’re practicing being awake and right here; awake and right here is where we can be compassionate and supportive and clear.
Let the brows soften.
Now let your attention come to rest on your breath, which does not mean observe the breath or notice the breath. It means feel the breath; feel the body breathing in and out.
There’s a gentle expansion on the inhale and a release on the exhale.
The end of the exhale is a little gap and the next inhale just happens, effortless. So you can begin again, just flowing in and out with the breath.
Allow thoughts to come and go
Let your mind be as it is.
There is no need in meditation to stop thinking or quit thinking or think happy things or ixnay, not necessary. Just let your mind be as it is.
The great majority of your thoughts come and go on their own. None of them stay. There is no evidence in history of a thought that was perpetual.
So they all come and go at some point.
So you can just let that happen, imagining that your thoughts are like voices in another room. You can hear the sound, but not really what they’re saying.
If you notice that you become so absorbed in thought that you’ve lost awareness of your breath, then you want to intercede.
Label that moment thinking, notice it. Don’t just brush it away. Thinking, Let go, don’t skip that.
Just let go.
Like you’re dropping a pebble into a stream and it’s carried off.
Come back to your breath.
We’ll be there and begin again, riding the breath, feeling the body, breathing, being yourself. So we’ll sit together in silence for a few minutes until you hear the bell.
*4 minutes of silence*
Please bring your practice to a close by just letting the technique go. Thank you.
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