Our third meeting was held as follow:
- Date: 10 October 2013 (Thursday)
- Time: 1900-2000
- Venue: Gloshaugen EL G026
-Delegation of Board Responsibilities
Six of us came together despite the dreariness of mid-semester. We pushed our limits once again to reach two 10-minute-sessions in our meditation practice. Bringing the mind to calmness and our thoughts to focus remain our biggest hurdle. We talked about the seven-point posture of meditation as follows:
1. The back should be made as straight as possible – like an arrow or like a pile of coins. This helps your energy to flow freely and contributes greatly to the clarity and alertness of your mind in meditation. The position of your legs can contribute greatly to how easy it is to maintain a straight back; often the higher is the cushion under your buttocks and the lower are your knees, the easier it is to keep a straight back. You should experiment to see what works for you. The shoulders are held up and back.
2. The legs should be crossed either in the full lotus or half lotus position. In the full lotus position, each foot is placed, sole upward, on the thigh of the opposite leg. This position is difficult to achieve, but one can train the body to do so over time. This position gives the best support to the body and mind. However, it is not essential. The half-lotus position is where one foot is on the floor under the opposite leg and the other foot is on top of the opposite thigh. A third alternative is simply sitting in a cross-legged position with both feet resting on the floor under the opposite thighs. Sitting on a firm cushion the raises the buttocks higher than the knees can help you greatly to keep your spine straight. It can also help you to sit for longer periods of time without having your feet and legs fall asleep or get uncomfortable pins-and-needles. It is also perfectly acceptable to meditate while sitting on a chair. The most important thing is to find a suitable position in which you are able to be comfortable.
3. The hands are loosely placed on the lap, right hand resting in the palm of your left, palms upward, thumbs lightly touching, forming the shape of a teardrop, or flame. Your hands should be resting about 2–3 inches below the navel. Shoulders and arms should be relaxed. Arms should be slightly akimbo, leaving a bit of space between your arms and your body to allow air to circulate. This helps to prevent sleepiness during meditation.
4. The chin should be tucked in slightly. The head should be just slightly inclined forward so that your gaze is directly naturally toward the floor in front of you. If your chin is held too high, you may have problems with mental wandering and distraction. If you drop your head too far forward, this can bring mental dullness or sleepiness.
5. The eyes should be looking relaxed into space, at nothing in particular, somewhere about 8 fingers width in front of the nose. In the beginning, it is often easier to concentrate with your eyes fully closed. This is totally fine. As you gain some experience with meditation, it is recommended that you learn to leave your eyes slightly open to admit a little light and that you direct your gaze downwards, not really focusing on anything in particular. Closing the eyes completely may create a tendency toward sluggishness, sleep, or daydreaming, all of which are obstacles to clear meditations.
6. The tongue should rest lightly on your upper palate, with the tip lightly touching the back of the upper teeth. This reduces the flow of saliva and the need to swallow. These automatic bodily actions can be hindrances to deepening your concentration as they can become distractions.
7. The lips should be slightly apart, the teeth not clenched. One breaths through the nose.