The Path to Awakening by Shamar Rinpoche is wonderful aid to novices to start on the great mindfulness journey to freedom. Some important snippets are captured here for aspiring meditators who want o earnestly start this skill:
- You must it up straight when you meditate. Your legs can be fully crossed in the full lotus position, or alternatively they can be half crossed with the right leg out and left leg in. Generally, a person with longer legs sits on a higher cushion, but how high your seat is really depends on your physical proportions. It is important that your spine be completely straight. Your stomach is slightly drawn inward and back, while your abdomen is very slightly resting forward for balance. This keeps the central part of the body very straight ad it is the ideal posture for meditation
- To enhance a straight central torso, your shoulders should also be balanced and straight.
- As for your hands, yo can place them together in the posture of meditation. This means the palms of the hands face up, right hand on top of the left in your lap. Raise your shoulders slightly up and backward, such that the lengths of the arms are gently pressed against the sides of your body. This position further reinforces an upright and straight spine. Alternatively, you can rest your hands palms down on your knees, talking care to keep the shoulders straight.
- Your neck should be slightly curved so that your chin is slightly tucked in towards your chest.
- Your eyes are half open, looking ahead and cast slightly downward – In my experience, you can fully close your eyes!
- Your mouth should nether be open nor pressed firmly closed. Your lips should be relaxed in a very natural position
- Breathing is mainly through the nose and not the mouth
These are essential pints of a correct physical posture for meditation. Now you need to know how to focus your mind – rather un-focus the mind on anything. As you practice, you may notice once your mind calms down, your breath automatically calms down. So the option is before your and depending on your makeup, yo can either calm your mind or calm your breath to calm your mind – which is rather circuitous but both achieves same purpose – i.e. to calm mind and have no thoughts and if any thoughts pop up – mindfully watch it but not pursue it anymore of wandering with the thoughts.
Some remedies through Shine Practices:
Remedy of Desire: Concentrate on repulsiveness of the body
The most effective way to remedy the power of desire is to concentrate on the impermanence of the body. First visualize your body as clearly as you can. Try to really understand and know that it is a collection of parts that all depend on each other—the skeleton is a collection of bones joined by ligaments, it contains and protects many organs, it is covered by a network of muscles, there is flesh, fat, the circulatory system, the nervous system, etc. and wrapped around it like a bag is your skin. Now picture a spot of decay the size of the tip of your thumb on your forehead, between your eyes. That spot right there is rotting. What color is it? What colors will it become? Think of the progression of putrid colors a rotting corpse goes through. Now those colors are progressing on your own forehead. Then the decay starts to spread all over your body. Your whole body is rotting, putrefying, and actually starts falling apart. Your rotten flesh falls in pieces to the floor all around you. Your organs also rot, decay, and fall to pieces on the floor. Now only your skeleton is left whole, together with one tiny piece of fresh flesh on the top of each foot, close to your big toes. Those two tiny spots, each the size of the tip of your thumb, are all that remain untouched by decay. Now even your skeleton starts to disintegrate, falling in scattered pieces on the floor. That heap of bones that made up your skeleton now starts to expand and grow. It grows vastly, until it is almost inconceivably big. Wherever you live, whatever continent, picture your skeleton expanding to the very shores of the oceans on every side. East to West, North to South. Your bones are huge, a giant skull, giant spine, etc. Then slowly, ever so slowly, it begins to re-condense and reconstitute, slowly returning to its former size, slowly reforming itself back into your seated position. Then when your skeleton is completely back to its familiar state. those tiny pieces of fresh flesh close to your toes begin to spread. From these, everything regrows: your organs, muscles, tiny pieces of fresh flesh close to your toes begin to spread. From these, everything regrows: your organs, muscles, flesh and blood. In the end your face grows back. It all returns except for one small mark between your eyes, ready to decay again. Take a small break at this point, then begin the meditation again. After you have done this many times you will reach a point where your reaction towards your own body and the bodies of others is one of nausea and revulsion. When you have reached that point it is time to stop. When you have finished your meditation session, do not continue to picture that spot of decay there. As explained above, you must not cling to this as real in post-meditation.