Your Goal: Enter deep stillness by calming the habitual 'going out' of attention.
These basic steps create the framework for the cultivation of nirvikalpa samadhi (objectless unification) to develop deep stillness during meditation.
The stillness of nirvikalpa samadhi arises by allowing the functions of your mind to slow down by not adding anything to them. Like a fire that can only survive as long as it is being fed fuel, the fire of your mind can only burn fiercely when fuel is being added to it.
Through not adding to the activity of your mind, and gently softening any habitual 'going out' of your attention, it naturally settles down and become still.
This process of softening 'all doing' challenges the habitual tendency of the mind to create through engaging with the six sensory fields.
When habitual going out of attention is relaxed, this challenges the last of the minds remaining defenses in a process that is experienced as disentanglement and that results in stillness.
To develop nirvikalpa samadhi it is necessary to create a balanced posture that you can maintain for the period of time without moving that is not too comfortable.
This will give you the stability needed to allow your body to relax without fear of slumping forward.
It is helpful in the beginning to un-round your shoulders by bringing them forward, raising them up, bringing them back and then dropping them down again.
Also tucking your chin under slightly and extending the crown of your head towards the ceiling helps with balance.
Once you have taken a balanced posture for your meditation, the first thing you do is to allow your eyelids to close slowly until they lightly touch.
Relaxation, ease and calm needs to develop with your mind, not with your body.
It is helpful when developing stillness to gradually increase the discomfort of your posture and conditions and learn to develop stillness of mind in the face of these unpleasant stimuli.
In practicing for the stillness of nirvikalpa samadhi, we do not ignore any experience but rather acknowledge it and soften/relax the effort to participate in it.
If there is any sound present become aware of it; allow the sound to start to anchor your attention. Notice your attention drawn out towards the sound. Focus on its flow, its changing nature.
Then gently start to soften/relax your effort to hear, allow awareness through soften to gradually return to its source.
Gently bring awareness to the experience of warmth & coolness within your body as it sits.
In a very general way, experience the sensations of warmth & coolness, keeping them gently in mind.
Within the experience of your posture start to include points of touch: The touch of your hands resting within each other.
The touch of your body as it rests on the chair or floor and the touch of your feet. Keeping these points of touch gently in mind.
As your mind settles, open your awareness to take in your whole body: warmth, coolness and touch.
Your whole body just sitting here.
Start to become aware of the general experience of heaviness that arises as your body starts to relax. Giving up all effort it becomes heavier, so heavy.
Allow the chair or floor to take the full weight of your body. Allow your body to relax into this support.
The process of methodically allowing parts of your body to relax and feeling the pleasure and ease of each relaxation is the method used for developing your meditation object for entering deep nirvikalpa samadhi. based stillness.
Your meditation object for nirvikalpa Samadhi arises through methodical deep relaxation of your body.
Once you have learnt to deeply abandon all effort within your body, to deeply relax, this deep relaxation is then used as a doorway to stillness.
You take your posture as above and begin in this way:
As relaxation grows you allow it flow down from your forehead into your eyelids and eyes.
This deep relaxation of your whole body will become your meditation object for your mind to access Stillness.
Bring full awareness to the deep relaxation and ease within your body and allow them to start to fill your mind.
At this stage:
Gradually the thoughts will change from directed thinking with a subject, to random, floaty thoughts without meaning.
Start to become aware of the mental relaxation and ease arising within your mind.
Your task at this stage is to not add anything to the processes of your mind, no longer feeding the fire; just allowing the fire to burn itself out. Allowing the processes of your mind to cease and nirvikalpa samadhi based stillness to arise.
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