Just Sitting

Kirk McElhearn

Once or twice a day, I sit facing a wall1 in my home. I just sit. I sit for 20 minutes, a half-hour, sometimes more. But I just sit. I sit and think not thinking; I do that by non-thinking.
This is the Zen practice of shikantaza, or "just sitting." You sit, cross-legged if you can, and let your mind alone. When you stop thinking, you reach a point of non-thinking. It's one of the typical paradoxes of Zen that makes your brain try and twist around those words "not," "non-" and "thinking" to figure out what they mean. Unlike other forms of meditation, shikantaza doesn't involve concentrating on an object, such as your breath or a mantra. It is "objectless meditation," where you focus on everything you experience—thoughts, sounds, feelings—without attaching to any of them. When you get there, you know what it is. "Once you have adjusted your posture, take a deep breath, inhale and exhale, ro [...]
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