Setting up for Meditation with Enthusiasm
Vajradaka is one of the most experienced meditation teachers in Triratna and is continuously developing fresh approaches to maintaining and developing a vibrant meditation practice. He is known for easy to relate to ways of teaching which come across as clear, practical and relevant.
Something which makes a profound difference in helping you develop in your meditation is having clarity about the process of setting up important components before doing the actual meditation technique. Here is a simple little setup which has some of the important components that you need to develop your meditation and make it more effective. The example of the meditation practice given here is awareness of the body and breath but the principle is applicable to all meditation practices.
First set up your posture whether you are on a chair or on the floor, make sure that you are poised, stable and comfortable.
Setting your Intention
Be clear in your mind what your area of engagement and involvement is going to be, e.g: bring attention to the experience of the breath and the body. Also, that you will constantly adjust your effort so you gently lean into your experience. Also, to notice when your mind wanders and come back decisively to the breath and body.
Setting willingness and enthusiasm
In this step you consciously stimulate and engage with the components of willingness, interest and enthusiasm for being in this process. You connect with your feeling of wanting to do it and being into-it. In a more poetic expression it is the placing of the heart on the path to freedom.
Commentary on willingness and enthusiasm
When you are first starting to practice mindfulness meditation it is useful to approach it with the attitude ‘ Even though I don’t know what to expect I’ll just give it my best shot’. The phrase ‘Beginner’s mind’ is often used for this moment. It expresses an open minded application which gives you energy to continue without any fixed expectations. When later you’ve experienced some of the benefits of mindfulness an appreciation of its value grows and becomes part of your motivation and enthusiasm. Whether you are new to it or an experienced meditator a keenness for exploration and learning keeps you involved in a fresh way.
Entering into the meditation
After this setting up period be clear what meditation practice you are actually going to do. Maintaining the components of the setup start the meditation. e.g: Arrive into an awareness of your body and start paying attention to the breath. All through the meditation periodically check back to whether you are in touch with your willingness to be into it and connect with. If it is not obviously there just give yourself a gentle encouraging directive to keep gently leaning into the practice.