Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Why I Sit

--by Paul Fleischman (Dec 15, 2003)

This morning, the first thing I did was to sit for an hour. I have done that regularly for twenty years, and have spent many evenings, days and weeks doing the same.

I would like to know myself. It is remarkable that while ordinarily we spend most of our lives studying, contemplating, observing and manipulating the world around us, the structured gaze of the thoughtful mind is so rarely turned inwards. This avoidance must measure some anxiety, reluctance or fear.

Most of our lives are spent in externally oriented functions that distract from self-observation. This relentless, obsessive drive persists independently of survival needs such as food and warmth, and even of pleasure. Second to second, we couple ourselves to sights , tastes, words, motions or electronic stimuli, until we fall dead. It is striking how many ordinary activities, from smoking a pipe to watching sunsets, veer towards, but ultimately avoid, sustained attention to the reality of our own life. [...]

Sitting helps me overcome my deepest fears. I become freer to live from my heart and to face the consequences, but also to reap the rewards of this authenticity. Much of what I called pain was really loneliness and fear. It passes, dissolves, with that observation. The vibrations of my body are humming the song that can be heard only when dawn and dusk are simultaneous, instantaneous, continuous. I feel that a burst of stern effort is a small price to pay to hear this inner music- fertile music from the heart of life itself.

I sit to anchor and organise my life around my heart and mind, and to radiate out to others what I find. Though I shake in strong winds, I return to this basic way of living. The easy, soothing comfort and deep relaxation that accompany intense awareness in stillness, peel my life like an onion to deeper layers of truth, which in turn are scoured and soothed until the next layer opens. I sit to discipline my life by what is clear, simple, self-fulfilling and universal in my heart. There is no end to this job. I have failed to really live many days of my life, but I dive again and again into the plain guidance of self-containment and loving receipt. I sit to find and express simple human love and common decency.

--Paul Fleischman

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6 Previous Reflections:

On Aug 16, 2007 Naz wrote:
I agree with those sentiments, when you sit each day you begin to realise just how many days you are wasting not appreciating this life. It takes a lot of effort and perciverance, meditation is by no means easy but it's worth practicing.

On Aug 14, 2007 Metta Doreen wrote:
Interesting!!!I've heard of its benefits but never really tried it. Am definatly going to try "sitting"

On Aug 13, 2007 Nitu Hukil wrote:
It's very true, meditation really helps. My husband is very much into it. I can see the difference in his approach to life and different issues.I am motivated by him to do the same and I started it.It really helps. Prayers and meditation together help a lot.

On Aug 13, 2007 Carlos wrote:
All I read rings of truth. I know this because I try & (sit) when I'm going through a sterssfull situation & I know it helps me get clarity. So if I did it when not stressed, I'm sure the benifits would be two fold. Thank you for this article.

On Aug 13, 2007 Rajeswari wrote:
A worthful experience to share.

On Aug 13, 2007 Bro.Karuna wrote:
A good piece