Drop in any morning on Zoom, 7:30AM Mountain / 9:30AM Eastern. We begin formally at 8AM MT /10AM ET with three bells and end with 2 bells at 8:20AM MT / 10:20AM ET. Drop in for the whole 50 minutes or just part of it.
Linger for Dharma group discussion
This is an easy and informal way to experience the power of meditating with others. We'd love to see you.
It's fine to arrive late or leave early. It's also fine to have your camera off. All participants are automatically muted.
There are no instructions or teachings given before or during class. See below for an overview of basic instructions, or contact Hoag for a free, private meeting or refresher.
ONLINE ETIQUETTE & NOTES
—Click on the Zoom link above or in the weekly newsletter Zen Sun Weekly.
—If you choose to have your video on, you can set up your device so we see a side-view or slightly angled view of you as you sit. Or you can face the camera.
—Select Gallery View.
—If necessary, you may join late or leave early. Everyone's audio is automatically muted so don’t worry about disturbing anyone.
—Set aside all other activity and assume a comfortable, still, and alert sitting posture.
INSTRUCTIONS & OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
Like other challenging and subtle disciplines, it's helpful to engage the practice every day. Even 5 minutes a day is better than 60 minutes once per week. Start with whatever feels comfortable and build slowly.
See if you can linger and be curious about any discomfort before adjusting your posture. Can you experience it nakedly without reacting habitually?
Can you welcome whatever arises in the mind without clinging, judging, or rejecting?
Can you be curious about the experience of breathing?
Proper posture is critical. If you sit in a physically half-engaged way, your mind will be half-engaged.
Good posture is also important for minimizing discomfort and allowing for deeper inquiry.
Whatever posture you assume (please look closely at six examples below), the back should be naturally upright. The lower back should be gently curved in. Experiment with this, whether on a cushion or in a chair, until it feels effortless to sit up straight.
Do not lean back against your chair unless you have an injury or health issue that makes this necessary. The belly should be completely relaxed and free to expand as you breathe. The chin should be slightly tucked in. Note the position of the hands: allow the left hand to gently rest in the right hand, palms up, thumbs lightly touching to make a gentle oval.
If you're sitting on a chair, both feet should be on the ground about shoulder width apart. If you're sitting in a crossed-leg posture on a cushion, one or both knees should be on the ground or on their way to the ground, supported by a smaller cushion or cushions if needed. The goal is stability.
Eyes should be half-open, gazing down at about 45 degrees, gently focused. Keeping the eyes slightly open helps to keep you here, now. Sway slightly back and forth to find and settle in to your posture's true center.
Important: if possible, do NOT sit in a "knees up" or "criss-cross applesauce" cross-legged position. See image below. This posture tends to stress the lower back and also the shins/ankles. Most importantly, it lacks the stability of other positions.
After establishing a stable sitting posture, take one or two deep breaths. Breathe through the nose if possible. This naturally slows the rate of breathing and invites the mind to settle.
Your mouth should be closed lightly, with tongue relaxed.
Breathe so it feels like you’re breathing in and out of your belly. This can take some practice before it feels natural. Instead of your chest rising and falling, your abdomen should gently expand and contract.
Focus on the full-body sensations of breathing in and out for a few breaths.
When settled a bit, begin counting exhalations. Say a drawn-out "one" silently for the entire length of the first exhalation. Inhale naturally, being aware of the sensations of breathing in. And then say a drawn-out "two" for the entire length of your next exhalation. Continue until "ten" and then start over.
The point is not to get to ten, but rather to be intimate with "one," and then with "two," and then with "three," and so on.
See if you can pour yourself completely into the experience of exhaling "one" so that there is just the experience of "exhaling one," only "exhaling two," only "exhaling three," and so on.
When this exhale-counting gets sidetracked by thoughts, emotions, or physical sensations, no problem. This is, in fact, inevitable and natural. Just simply begin counting exhalations again with "one."
If you find yourself counting past ten, notice this too and return again to "one."
Important: noticing when your attention drifts from the breath-counting and then returning to breath-counting is the practice itself.
It may feel at first like there are many moving parts and many things to remember. But eventually, with patience and sincerity, you'll begin to experience the deep kinship of body, mind, breath, and earth.
Keeping the body still invites the mind to be still. See if you can experiment with moving as little as possible for the duration of the meditation.
If you experience intense discomfort or pain and need to adjust your posture, just notice the impulse to move. Be aware of the adjustment as you do it, and then return to being as still as possible.
1.) Settle in to a stable sitting posture.
2.) Take one or two deep breaths.
3.) Count exhalations from one to ten and the start over.
4.) When the mind wanders, bring your attention back to the breath by beginning again with exhaling "one."
5.) Remember that wandering, noticing the wandering, and returning to the breath is the practice.
6.) Be as still as possible.