Good morning! Welcome to the DKos Sangha weekly open thread.
This is an open thread for members of the DKos Sangha and others who are interested in discussions concerning how we integrate our progressive political activism into our spiritual practice. If you have observations about the political discourse of the week, or about practice, or about anything else related to walking a spiritual path through the political world, if you wish to share, or if you seek support, or if you simply want to say hello, please do; this space is for you.
If you would like to write a diary for the DKos Sangha, please let me know.
If you care nothing for spiritual practice and only wish to denigrate and disparage, please do so elsewhere, and respect that this is a community diary for the DKos Sangha.
Meditation isn't an end in itself, but it can be a useful practice to reduce stress and to bring moments of peace. It can also be very helpful, but not necessary, for inquiring into who you really are, and awakening from the dream of separateness. Further, meditation can be helpful in opening the heart, and in opening into the body.
Finding stillness can begin with the breath. If you haven't done much meditation, when you start focusing on the breath, breathing fully into the body, you may notice that the body wants to open; it may ask you to straighten your spine a bit so that the breath moves more easily and fully in and out of the body. Thus, you may find it quite helpful to find a comfortable sitting position in which you are able to keep your back fairly straight. Sitting cross legged on a meditation cushion is ideal since it brings your back into alignment in such a way that one can sit comfortably for a long period of time; however, you can sit comfortably with your back straight on a couch or chair as well.
So, as you begin sitting, breathing easily, effortlessly, your body moves into a comfortable position. Just breathing. You may want to close your eyes, or you may want to keep them open, fixed on a single point. But bring your attention to the breath.
If your mind starts wandering and thoughts are arising, just gently bring your attention back to the breath. Notice that thoughts are arising, and gently return to the breath. If you feel discouraged that thoughts keep arising, just notice the feeling of discouragement and then gently return to the breath. Let go of any struggle; just relax. Thoughts naturally arise like clouds in the sky; when you notice that you're caught up in the thoughts, bring your attention, gently, easily, back to the breath. Just breathing.
Breathing easily and naturally; not forced, not controlling. As your attention is focused on the breath, notice its movement; notice how it feels. This noticing is done non-judgmentally, without thought; you're just noticing, feeling.
Letting go of all effort, just sitting, just breathing, begin slowing down, relaxing deeper into this feeling of breathing. Tension and stress are leaving the body. As your body relaxes, it doesn't need to move as much air; so begin, easily, naturally, slowing down the rate at which you are breathing in and out. Begin reducing the amount of air in the breath; slowly, easily, naturally. With the breath in your awareness, you'll "see" the movement of the breath within your body. Again, no judgment, no thoughts about the breath, no thoughts about whether you're doing it right. When thoughts arise, just return to the breath.
As you relax deeper into this awareness of this breath that is gently, easily, moving in the body, you may notice that you can rest for a moment after each out-breath. There is no need to force or control this resting between breaths; let it come easily and naturally. Just breathing as needed. The further you relax, the less air is needed.
Just breathing; just being in this space created by the gentle movement of the breath. If thoughts arise, bring your attention back to this movement, this space; just being present in this space of awareness, this peaceful stillness.
If you are just starting a meditation practice, you may find yourself getting caught up in the thoughts that will arise in mind; that's ok. Even if you find it difficult to bring your attention to the breath, you are still benefiting from the practice; just sitting and breathing reduces stress and tension. It is good for the health of your body and heart. And with practice, you will begin finding it easier to return to the breath.
You may find it helpful to let go of the idea that you are "doing" meditation; letting go of the idea that there is someone doing something. There's just sitting and breathing. There is simply an awareness of the movement of breath through the body. An awareness of, a being with, stillness.
As your practice deepens, you'll find this stillness is reached more readily. It becomes more available to you; there when you need it. For the stillness is always here; it has always been right here with you. Meditation is just a practice to help you find that which you naturally already are, the peace that is at the core of your being.
You are welcome to join us each week in our Monday night group meditation here at DKos Sangha. This online group meditation is hosted by Ooooh, and the diary is posted at 7:00 Eastern. So that we are able to be together for as many here at Daily Kos as wish to participate, the meditation period runs from 7:30 to 10:00 Eastern. This group sitting is open to beginners and advanced, and is not restricted to any particular traditions or practices. It is not expected that you sit for the entire period; sit for as long as you like, when you like. The idea is that we are here together; supporting each other, holding space for each other.
Enjoy your day!