Question: Is the basic instruction to bring your attention to the belly, and then do a body scan?
Linda: You don’t have to do the body scan every time. If you want to go through feeling various sensations in your body, do that. Bringing the attention back to the breath is something that I suggest you do throughout your sitting. By that I don’t mean focus on the breath. To focus on something means to exclude something, and this practice is about being completely open and not avoiding anything.
Be aware of the sounds around you, and then come back to the breath. Watch your reaction to the sounds around you. Watch how you comment on things – even something like the wind . . . ‘Ah, the wind sounds nice.’ See that, break it, and come back to the breath.
I’m not saying to stop listening to the wind, but to watch the judgment, the comments about the sound of the wind. See how difficult it can be to use your pure sensations to simply hear the wind, or anything else. Use any sensations you feel to bring your attention back to your body.
The body is a sensory organism. It’s made up of the senses, but the senses have been corrupted by the mind
Question: There seems to be a contradiction between stillness and the movement involved in attention.
Linda: You can only see motion if you’re still. When you’re really still, you can see every little movement. But, real stillness is actually a very highly energetic state to be in.
Question: Where do thoughts play into that?
Linda: Do you mean thinking or thoughts? Thinking is a movement away from here, from now. A thought is the imagined object that you are moving towards. It’s only your interest in the thought that creates that movement. It doesn’t really matter what the subject of the thought is. It’s that movement you need to see, rather than focusing on the thought that you want to go towards, which is not real, which doesn’t really exist.
Once you start to get a taste of how it feels to be really here, really present in your body, thinking starts to lose its attraction. It becomes more and more obvious that the thoughts are not real. The body is not real either, but it’s the closest thing that we have to reality in this existence, and much more tangible than the mind.
Question: Does what you’re saying apply to the motion of attention? For example, attention to the wind and to sensations?
Linda: Does that attention need to be in motion? If you’re purely listening to the wind, why does there need to be movement in that? There’s only movement when you start thinking about the wind.
To simply hear the wind, you don’t need to think about it.
Can you sit now, and just hear the wind?
Let the wind come into you, rather than you going towards it.