The Morning Sitting
Why practice the morning sitting?
One question addressed difficulties with The Practice Of Doing Nothing.
Sometimes this is put on the board as: Do Nothing – as much as you can! Doing nothing is very hard: it requires us to be present. So, how do we become present?
Before Doing Nothing, we have to do something. In the introductory form of this exercise, we use the attention to scan the body in a particular sequence. Today’s client has difficulty with this because, he reports, he has little attention. Accordingly, he has done almost nothing rather than Doing Nothing.
At this stage in the practice, this is the point of the exercise: to develop volitional attention. Without volitional attention, we have little presence. So, we practise directing the attention.
In time, we discover that an increasing sense of personal presence accompanies this. With the strengthening of presence, we find we are better able to Do Nothing. Then, an opportunity to Do Something might present itself, with the everyday-self doing very little.
Friday 11th. August, 2006.
A question has arisen: why practice the morning sitting? accompanied by: why not practice guitar for half an hour instead?
1. Before we ask ourselves to do something, we begin by asking ourselves to do nothing.
2. The exercise develops relaxation and an engaged sense of personal presence;
3. Distinguishes what-we-are from who-we-are; for example, our background noise and who is listening to it;
4. Strengthens volitional attention; ie practises the will (whatever we might understand by that).
But, these are comments made very much at the beginning of the practice; although, even as a beginning, this much is already a considerable achievement. In time, the practice leads to a more sophisticated awareness of qualities and distinctions within our personal energy field.
Wednesday 16th. August, 2006;
Monasterio Nuestra Senora De Los Angeles (Monjas Dominicas),
Sant Cugat, Spain.
Q: How can I be doing nothing when I’m directing my attention around the body?
A: This is partly a contradiction, set to unseat mechanical thinking and the working of monkey mind: Am I doing nothing? Am I doing something? But how can I be doing nothing when I’m doing something?
That is, it has the effect of “relaxing” the mind.
Saturday 2nd. October, 2010
A question was asked, of doing nothing and doing something:
How can I be doing nothing when I’m directing my attention around the body?
The answer given addressed the contradiction presented to our habitual way of thinking to aid “relaxing the mind”; that is, releasing the grip of Monkey Mind. An addition was presented this morning:
The relaxation exercises also focuses attention on necessary and unnecessary exertions and efforts.
Cf the GC Aphorisms:
Relaxation is necessary tension. Tension is unnecessary tension.
Honour necessity; honour sufficiency.
The relaxation exercise is the beginning of a process, where there is no end to the depth that we might find in our morning sitting. There are a series of morning exercises, of which relaxation is the first. Nevertheless, if this were the only exercise, we would never reach the depth available within it.
V, our Alexander Teacher, told us two days ago that doing nothing was a complex operation (paraphrase). We discover how much energy is needed in this complex operation, what is sufficient, and what is more than that – waste.
Monday 4th. October, 2010
What’s the point of the Morning Sitting? Well, perhaps after forty days we’ll have a better taste of whether this is for me, or not. We are not asked to trust the “obscure ideologies” that are sometimes discussed. But we can consult our feelings when working in the Circle, and in reflection after a course.
There is no compulsion in GC: we’ve given a week of our time to it and this may not be an approach that works for us, even where we see it to be a positive undertaking. Or, it may continue to work quietly and direct the way we live our daily lives; and twenty years later we return with a guitar.
Or, maybe next week.
Tuesday 5th. October, 2010
Casa De Encuentros San Juan Bosco, Av. Fuerza Aerea 1800
Funes, Pvcia. de Santa Fe
Is The Morning Sitting “Active Meditation”?
Q: In your experience is there “active meditation” and may one achieve, through active meditation the same state as with “sitting”? I’ve noticed that in Guitar Craft sitting is called “sitting,” with (as far as I can recall) no reference to this specific practice as “meditation.”
Meditation is being actively-receptive. The morning sitting is being actively-active and is not meditation as such.
The morning sitting, initially and fundamentally, trains the attention; and with the attention engages the finer energies of organic sensation, feeling and thinking. There are a series of exercises of increasing subtlety which, over time, begin to increase and substantiate our personal presence. This is not an end in itself, more a beginning-preparation for our proper work in life.
Tuesday, 12th. December 2006