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Be Still on a Daily Basis

by Jason Chan(more info)

listed in meditation, originally published in issue 124 - June 2006

Developing the Habit of Stillness

Most people spend most of their time rushing about being very busy. Even when they are not physically moving, they make sure that they keep their minds occupied. Many people wake up to a radio alarm and then listen to the radio non-stop whilst they get up, wash and dress and have their breakfast. Others have their breakfast whilst watching the news on TV. They then rush off to work, where they do not stop bustling about mentally and/or physically until it is time to go home and put the radio or TV on again.


Sitting still for just five minutes a day, every day for a month, can begin to transform your life. As you sit still, bring something beautiful into your mind as a meditative object. You can think of someone you love, or once loved, or picture your favourite place, a place that makes your heart sing with joy. As well as focusing your mind on something beautiful, also learn to bring your attention to your breath. As you gently do this, your breath will naturally soften and lengthen, and you will feel more alive as you connect to your life-force. When you sit still like this for a while, your heart will rejoice, even though a part of your mind may be telling you that you are simply wasting your time.

One day of sitting still for five minutes will not help. Sitting still and calming your mind has to become a habit. At first, you may think that sitting still is making your mind go crazy, and that the more you try to calm your mind, the more your thoughts rush in on you, but if you persevere through this frustrating phase, you will eventually notice a difference. Your thoughts will not distract you quite so much and will be able to sit still for a little longer before the urge to move overwhelms you. This is good. So do not say to yourself "I just cannot sit still and do nothing". Even the most hyperactive person can sit still for five minutes a day and, after a while, you should find that you can sit still for longer and even begin to look forward to it.

Developing the Habit of Quietening your Mind

No one can force you to take up the life-transforming practice of sitting still on a daily basis. You can buy hundreds of books and meditation CDs, but none of these can make you practise. You have to develop your own motivation to do this and, like any good habit, you have to stick at it for awhile before it becomes engrained. You are the only person who can discipline yourself to develop the habit of sitting still every day. You just have to exert your will over the part of your mind that resists this practice very strongly. Remember how, as a small child, you used to resist cleaning your teeth twice a day? Now you do this without even thinking about it.

Before I do anything, I quieten my mind first. Before I embark on any journey, I sit still and quieten my mind. When I see delicious food in front of me, I still my mind before I begin to eat it. When I meet someone new, I still my mind before I talk to them. When I wake up in the morning, the very first thing I do is to spend a minute or two calming my mind. I have been practising this for so many years, that it now comes quite naturally to me, but I know that at first it is not at all easy to do. Everyone has some resistance to just sitting still, because we all have so much fear just below the surface of our over-active minds. But if you do not develop this fundamental spiritual practice, you will continue to live a fearful life. You will simply go on drowning yourself in an endless stream of useless activities, so that you do not have to face your inner fears and demons.

All spiritual disciplines train practitioners to gear their minds into stillness. The strength and power of a really still and peaceful mind is amazing. When I meet a truly peaceful person, I rejoice because they are so rare. As you still your mind, your body begins to heal and replenish itself. Your metabolic and hormonal systems will become more balanced and harmonized. Your heart rate will slow down and your automatic nervous system will be strengthened. Everything in your system settles down, your whole being becomes calm and then repairs itself naturally. A sense of aliveness will rise up in you and your consciousness will expand. Eventually, if you keep quietening your mind on a daily basis, you will find your true purpose in life. This is guaranteed.

Once you have purified your mind you will see more clearly, develop greater wisdom, and find true love and joy within the stillness. Can all this come about just from sitting still? Ultimately yes, without a doubt, and it costs nothing except a very small amount of your time and some mental discipline. When you can reap the full fruits of daily meditation practice, you will be one of the happiest people on the planet. You will need and want less and less from this physical world, and sometimes you may even have an awesome glimpse of what lies beyond our physical existence.

How to Sit Still

If you do not adopt the right posture for meditation, you will have no energy and your meditations will be very flat. There is no point in being still like a stagnant pond. You are aiming to be still like a calm sea that looks as smooth as glass, but is powered by mighty energy just beneath its surface. To empower yourself through meditation, your spine needs to be straight and strong. If you are a beginner, using a mediation stool will help you to strengthen your spine. You can also do holistic exercise, such as Yoga or Chi Kung, to strengthen your three base centres and your spine. When your base centres and your lower back and abdomen are strong, your upper body can be very relaxed. Your goal is for your base centres to be strong like a mountain and your upper body to be flexible like a tree bending in the wind.

It can take months or even years to adopt the correct meditation posture, but every effort counts. Occasionally you should check your meditation posture in a mirror, because most of us are not aware of how we curve our spine, even when we think that we are sitting upright.

Do not keep meditating if your body becomes very painful. Use cushions to support your body, or sit up against a wall until your back becomes stronger. Alternatively, you may find it comfortable to sit on the edge of a chair. If you are sitting in a classic meditation posture and you develop pins and needles in your legs (a very common problem for beginners) you can gently stretch your legs out in front of you, but do this slowly so that you do not disturb your mind too much. Sometimes you may find that your body sways automatically and you may feel as though something deep inside you is shaking your physical body. This is the Chi moving you and re-aligning your physical system. Just let your body move without paying too much attention to it.

The Ultimate Goal of Meditation is to Know Thyself

Sitting still on a daily basis brings almost immediate benefits into your life, but you should also be aware of the true purpose of meditation. The ultimate goal of mediation is to know yourself: to discover the True Self that lies hidden underneath your artificial personality-self. We live in a very strange, uncomfortable world, because we cannot really know each other until we awake. We look around and see a world full of threatening strangers and then we are poised to attack in the name of defending ourselves from external threats. But when you finally awake and know the true nature of your mind, you will know the others too. You will know that we are all fundamentally the same.

When you finally dwell only in love and peace, you will lay down all your weapons. You will no longer gossip about others or stab someone behind their back. If you are not in love, you just cannot help yourself attacking others. But when, through meditation, you return to your natural state of dwelling in love and peace, you will want only to extend this love and peace out to everyone you meet. You will become a beautiful ripple of peace in the world, and each time you meet someone, you will naturally surround them with love and light. So, as more and more individuals take just a little time and effort to still their minds on a daily basis, the whole world will benefit. As we each become more peaceful, loving and natural, our beloved planet earth will breathe a sigh of relief, and the wars and violence that currently rage all around us will eventually begin to subside.


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About Jason Chan

Jason Chan has been teaching meditation in the UK for over 20 years and has developed his own unique meditation system known as Infinite Meditation. He is a Tai Chi and Chi Kung Master and runs training courses, workshops and retreats throughout Europe and in Thailand. He utilizes a combination of Tai Chi, Chi Kung, Yoga, Meditation and Ling Chi Healing to assist individuals to awaken to their True Selves. He is author of Seven Principles for Radiant Living, and has produced several CDs and DVDs on Infinite Meditation, Infinite Tai Chi and Infinite Chi Kung. Jason Chan is the co-founder of the Light Foundation for World Peace and Harmony. He may be contacted via;

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