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Settling the mind.

Settling the mind.

Take your seat. Meditate for ten minutes using any method that you are familiar with. You might focus on your breath, visualize an internal drop of light, focus on a mantra, or rest in the uncontrived natural state.

What is your experience? What do you notice? What are some of the challenges or problems that come up?

One of the first things you will probably notice is movement.

You experience thoughts racing, sensations coursing through your body- pain, itching, tightness. You notice all of this movement, which normally goes unseen and unrecognized.

Movement is the first experience of meditation. Now you know how stirred up you are. You may have a conceptual idea of resting the mind and what that should look and feel like, but when you sit what you actually experience is movement.

Which is good.

What we are experiencing is our own mind- complete with thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, habits and memories. We are having a direct encounter with our crazy monkey mind.

At this point in your practice it is important to rely on study. What is meditation? What are methods for dealing with obstacles? Really investigate what is mind, what is the nature of mind? What is the basis for what we experience in meditation? Are the things we experience momentary and fleeting or do they have some real substance? Investigate cause and effect, look at where you are stuck or what you are holding onto. Dig deeper into your experience.

Don't beat yourself up. Don't make your practice into a big project. Learn to relax. Let go.

It is okay if it doesn't happen right away. It is important to develop the habit of settling and resting. Put your effort into showing up without expectation or judgment. Be present, be here. Even if the present is loud and unsettled, it is enough for now.