This week we will continue to work with the breath and begin to incorporate other sensations in the body into our meditation practice. For this second week, you are asked to meditate for twenty minutes twice a day and to practice walking meditation for twenty minutes once a day. Instructions follow for working with sensations in the body during seated meditation and for walking meditation.
Working with Pain
We can develop the liberating gift of relating skillfully to physical pain. It is important to learn how to open to pain, because how we relate to pain in meditation is symptomatic of how we relate to all the unpleasant things in our life.
The Buddha reminded us of a great and obvious truth when he taught that being born results inevitably in growth, decay, and death. If we have a body, we can be certain that at times we will also have pain and illness, and we know for sure that our body will die. Much of meditation practice is opening to this reality in a very immediate way—not merely thinking about it, but experiencing it directly and deeply.
When physical pain predominates in your practice, you can try different strategies of awareness. First, notice the general area of sensation—for example, the knee or back. Simply be aware of the whole area, letting your mind relax and settle into the physical sensations. Second, observe precisely the particular nature of the sensations. Do you feel burning, pressure, searing, tightness, piercing, twisting, or some other variant of bodily feeling? Noting the particular quality of what you feel will help your mind to become more concentrated.
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