There is no right amount of time to sit. In my own experience in developing samadhi, you need to listen inwardly. There are times when it is completely appropriate to get up from your cushion or seat. If the body is complaining, if you find there’s been an energy slump, or if you find that you’re beginning to struggle and turn the whole practice into some kind of battleground, it is better in those moments to get up and to do some walking or to move.
Sometimes it’s helpful to go past that first moment where your body is shouting at you or your mind is shouting at you to stop the practice, to go past that first moment, to regather, recollect, and then, perhaps, in just a few minutes, to respond to what your body and mind are telling you.
There’s no such thing as too much connectedness in our lives, but be aware that intention needs an ongoing renewal.
If the practice is going well—and there are goalposts for this, like you’re not struggling and there is a sense of contentment—don’t sit for set periods of time. Go for minimums but not maximums. If you’re well, if the mind and body are being cooperative, and engaged, don’t set a maximum. Listen inwardly to when it is the right time to come out of your meditation posture.
There’s no such thing as too much connectedness in our lives, but be aware that intention needs an ongoing renewal. It’s not enough for most people to set an intention at the beginning of their days to be kind, collected, and gathered. We need to be sensitive to all the moments when agitation or fragmentation is happening, hear the sounds of this in our minds and bodies, and bring new intentions in those moments. Say, “I can return to the touch of my feet on the ground. I can return to just this breath, to gather and to collect again.” It is so important to be doing this in our lives and not to just anticipate that a period of time on a cushion is going to have a magical effect in terms of developing samadhi and connectedness. We must sense what it is like to sustain this intention to our days, both on the cushion and off cushion.
The benefits will come, the benefits will be felt.
Excerpted from Christina Feldman’s Tricycle Meditation Month Video “What Is Samadhi?”. Watch the full video here.
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.