The Practice of Sitting Meditation


There is nothing to achieve in Zen meditation. To have a goal or target is to imagine something, and to strive for it. Trying to achieve is what we call bUsy-ness of miNd. Trying to achieve is not Zen meditation.

So do we sit zazen without care, without interest? To take up the posture in this way, also cultivates an active mind. Daydreams, fantasies, and memories fill the posture.

Sit zazen simply—unadorned by goals and ideas. How is this possible? It is possible when effort transforms into wholehearted participation in this life. Zazen is full participation in posture without ideas of me or posture.

With thorough straightforward interest, we do not find a self with which to identify. Nor do we find an activity to call mine. We do not set ourselves out in array with goals and agendas, but fully participate in a life so vast, so thorough, that goals, reasons, and explanations can find no space or purchase. The fabricated counterfeit known as my mind has faded  a  w  a   y … no trace.

How then, do we live life in the world of beliefs … including the one of self and other? Very carefully. As compassion.

Life is constantly expressing—unhindered and without regard for our beliefs. This can be known directly in meditation, but meditating to know will not bring knowing.

© 2011 Bev Forsman and Letters from Emptiness. If you share this material, please include direction to the original content. Thank you.

Effortless Effort

let go of time and distance

What is the effort in meditation? To notice.

It takes a while though, to realize this practice of noticing. This is due to our habit of trying to understand life by way of objects—self-defined objects based entirely on thought. As soon as we notice a “thing” we can’t seem to let it alone. We name it, give it a value, accept or reject it. This is mental grasping. Actions that are based on this grasping bring pain, and more grasping.

In the dictionary, notice is a transitive verb, meaning it requires an object to become active. In Zen, we use notice in a manner that doesn’t require an object. Zen is the practice of objectless awareness.

To simply notice, is already not to grasp.

In the world of the relative, we can say the habit of grasping will fade, but this is not our concern. Zen practice is simply to pay attention now.

© 2011 Bev Forsman and Letters from Emptiness. If you share this material, please include direction to the original content. Thank you.