Dialogical Meditation Tomorrow: A Brief Overview To Read Before You Come

Dear participants,

(NB: Those who aren’t planning on attending any Dialogical Meditations may disregard and delete this short post.)

So that we can begin meditating right away tomorrow (for our time together tomorrow is so precious), I’d like to provide you with a brief overview. I do so below:

  1. For the benefit of all beings, I’ll be recording, and later on uploading, the meditations. I won’t be recording the final part, which will be a time to share and discuss. Before the meditations, you’ll turn off the video feature plus the microphone. Hence, neither your face nor your name nor your voice will be on the recording. (In case that’s a concern of yours.)

  2. Do your very best to arrive 3-5 minutes early so that we can begin at the exact time. This too is for the benefit of others--in this case for the benefit of all those who have elected to come to a Sunday meditation with the rest of us.

  3. Our time meditating together will be divided into three parts: (a) an opening part will intend to bring us to one-pointed concentration (~ 10 min.); (b) the main section, which will be a dialogical meditation (~40 min.); and (c) in all likelihood a heart-opening meditation in the vein of metta (~5-10 min.) to conclude. This should leave us with ~ 20 min. to share and discuss afterward.

  4. Once you settle into a seated position (on a chair or on a meditation cushion), do your best to follow marvelous Zen master Dogen’s instructions: “sit[ ] immovable like a bold mountain.” That is, once you get into position, remain still for the first 10 min.; do so also for the second 40 min; and do so, finally, for the final 5-10 min. I’ll give you an opportunity to move your legs after the first short sit (10. min.), after the second longer sit (40 min.), and after the third 5-10 min. sit. In the last case, you’ll have a chance to stand up, stretch, and walk around before we come to the final section: the sharing and discussing. Naturally, all that I’ve just written requires some discernment on your part. On the one hand, if pain arising is minor (or if restlessness or the desire to fidget arises), remain immovable. Ditto with any mildly discomfiting emotions that arise. On the other hand, if pain arising is significant, then by all means adjust. (Don’t be a martyr: that’s a samskara.) Remember that the point of remaining exquisitely still is to relax the physical body, to quiet the finite mind, and to allow for the inquiry to go deeper and deeper. Repose, after all, is the essence of meditation.

  5. Let’s not use the chat feature on Zoom. While it’s appropriate for certain business meetings, in the context of meditation it often comes from (a) gross excitation and it very often encourages (b) wandering, dispersive mind. Simply: bring an open heart, a bright demeanor, and a sense of welcoming for all those present. Open to everything and to everyone. Doing so will be more than enough to convey the spirit of conviviality to all who have taken the bold step to come and sit with us.

With palms pressed and until tomorrow,